andix (3dmodelz) - February '03 Merchant of the Month

ClintH · February 24, 2003 11:20 am

Ok, before we get started, I feel it's important to stress, that while I will be presenting us, andix is actually 3 people, myself (Andrew Rolfe), my brother Matthew, and Paul DeWinter. However, I seem to have become the public face of 3dmodelz, so i'll be answering on our behalf. How did you get started in 3D Graphics? Well, we all came at it from differant directions. Matthew got started as the logical extension of his previous work for Hasbro, doing games R&D. Fully qualified as a plumber before changing to computer orientated work, Matthew's approach to 3d reflects the mechanical engineering experience he gained in plumbing. Of the three of us, Matthew is the most precise with what he does. Paul on the other hand, came to 3d as a way of furthering his artistic ambitions. Showing a natural aptitude for 3d, within 2 years, he was teaching 3d Design at Plymouth College Of Further Education. However, feeling restricted by that, he left to pursue his own Graphic Design business, before embarking on the 3dmodelz adventure with Matthew and myself. As for me, well, um, .......I make a good cup of tea. LOL. I came late to 3d, but I'm busy trying to make up for lost time. Also qualified as a plumber, but with a mindset more given to artistic than mechanical, 3d feels like coming home. I'm also very fortunate to have Matthew and Paul to ask advice of. My learning curve since working on 3dmodelz with them has been vertical. How long have you been working with 3D Graphics? Paul, obviously, has the longest stretch of experience, which dates back to the days of 3dStudio DOS. Approximately 10 years. Matthew, having toyed with it prior to working with it, has going on for as much experience, with almost 7 years experience. Me, only about 3 years, and only 2 of those really seriously since the 3dmodelz idea was born. Do you have any formal training? Paul took, and passed, exams for teaching 3d Design, so yes. Matthew and I, no. What software do you use to develop your products? Mainly Poser these days. It soon became apparent that Poser was what people liked us doing, so, as can be seen by our back catalogue, we concentrated on that. We also realised, that because of it's quirks and eccentricities, the best results were achieved by doing the bulk of the work in Poser itself. In a way, this led to such products as WorldZ, the ForegroundZ Tool, and V-LightZ. These were all developed specifically for getting more from Poser, without bogging it down to the point where it becomes un-usable. And any-one who uses Poser knows how easy it is to make the poor thing have a gibbering fit and resort to our old friend; The Caught C Exception Error..... How much time is required for product development? That depends on the product really. WorldZ, for example, took six months to get to a point where we were happy with it. We then spent a further 4 months refining it, and version 2 was the result. And, since its an open secret anyway, we will continue developing it, until we're satisfied enough for a version 3. Generally we each have a number of projects on the go at once, and one after another they get done, alongside each other. The two biggest questions we actually ask in developing a product - Is it usable? and Is it good value? We try to ensure that all our products pass these two essential criteria. And anything that doesn't helps us to maintain our reputation for good free stuff. Do you have any advice on how to get started selling 3D Products? Hmmm. Well, a good place to start is actually free stuff. In our experience, free stuff is an opportunity to give people a look at your work, before parting with their cash. Good free stuff gives you a chance to show that your stuff works, and more importantly, that it works in the way you said it does. Subject matter is also worth a bit of forethought. Try and find something you can do well, and in an area that isn't already saturated. For example, we don't do skin maps.....because skin maps is possibly THE most over saturated area of the market. And there are some exceedingly talented people in the Renderosity marketplace doing skins, people that we don't feel we're good enough to try and compete with. Don't let your ego interfere with pricing. Just because a pack took 2 weeks to make, doesnt mean it has to cost lots. Certainly with downloadable products, you have no re-stocking costs, and no shipping why not pass that along as a saving to the customer? And always be nice to people. It doesn't cost anything and helps immeasurabley. ;-) Where does your inspiration come from when developing new products? Ha! This is going to sound really cliched and cheesy, but .....everywhere. For things with a grounding in the real world anyway. For the escapist stuff, just our own imaginations. But any time we're in the same room as each other, maybe a dozen ideas will sprout, and out of those, we'll get maybe half turn out solidifying into products. How has Renderosity's on-line community played a role in regards to your products, friendships and learning? Beyond measure, without a doubt. With regards to our products, it's definately made them better. We look at some of our early stuff now and cringe!! Friendships and learning have pretty much gone together. We would like to think that all the wonderful people who have taught us so much, we can count as friends as well as mentors. Do you have any final words? Since this seems to generally be a thank-you bit, we're going to uphold that fine tradition by expressing our thanks to the following; Each and every one of our customers. I would like to thank you all individually, but I'm sure Clint would frown at me! lol. Deborah Montigue, whom we have the utmost respect and admiration for, for sympathetic dealing with half-witted questions :), Clint Hawkins, for not letting us make too many mistakes, Brent Bowers for believing in us, Kurt Lundqvist, Linda White, Paul Castle, Noland Turner, Sallie Richardson, Lynne Carmickle, John Reynolds, Emily Garlick, Dianne Lynn, for giving us new challenges to aspire to, everyone who's helped us, for the support, everyone who's dissed us, for the motivation, Red Bull and coffee for the late nights.... And last, but never least, our long suffering families, for their tolerant resignation to our dream.

Article Comments

lundqvist ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 01 February 2003

I'm real glad you guys are getting some recognition here. You deserve it and you guys absolutely rock!

Disciple3d ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 01 February 2003

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Congrats on great products and a great resource site for Poser users. Brent

Debbie M. ( posted at 12:00AM Sun, 02 February 2003

So NOW I see who makes up 3dmodelz. Thanks for the wonderful interview! I love learning the backgrounds of one of my favorite teams here :) My deepest congratulations to all 3 of you. A team very deserving of this honor.

kayjay97 ( posted at 12:00AM Sun, 02 February 2003

WHOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! You go Andi, Paul and Matthew!! I love your stuff and own "almost" all it. YOu guys rock and your stuff is awesome!!!

TrekkieGrrrl ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 03 February 2003

Hey! Nice to get to know you all a little better :o) Worldz and the Foreground Tool is certainly two of the best things I've ever got for Poser. And your outstanding upgrade pricing makes them even better ;o) Keep up the good work! ~TrekkieGrrrl

pauthier ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 03 February 2003

I am happy they got the recognition from the Renderosity community. They ARE very nice guys, gave me some advice a few weeks ago, and there are some more ideas to take in the interview!!!

GaryT ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 03 February 2003

Andix !! I Can Not think of any other team that deserves this as much as you guys !!! Way to go my Friends !!! GaryT

jeweldragon ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 03 February 2003

congrats !! huggles you deserve this :)

jewell ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 03 February 2003

Congratulations, guys! I love your stuff and hope your dream continues for a nice LOOOOOONNNNNNGGGG time. grin

WorldbuilderMedia ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 04 February 2003

Congratulations gang! Keep up the great work on the models! --Donnie

Moebius87 ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 05 February 2003

Well done! Congratulations on some well deserved recognition. Whether you realize it or not, your team serves as a very real role model. :o) - M

R3CoN ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 06 February 2003

Nice one guys!! Well done you deserve it....and besides we Plymothians have to stick together ;) R3CoN

linwhite ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 06 February 2003

I love all of your products. I got hooked last year with your Christmas give-away and have been a big fan ever since. You have answered every question, considered every suggestion, and generally been all around nice guys. Keep up the awesome work. I really look for your stuff, and always anticipate what creative thing you'll do next.

BigRedKane ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 10 February 2003

Congrats, Andix, well deserved :-) ....I liked the "Poser having a fit" bit...hehe.

miyu ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 10 February 2003

So very well deserved! These guys are the true meaning of the word Serviceminded!

caleb68 ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 12 February 2003

congrats andix :D great job :)

Flak ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 12 February 2003

Ahh, so this is who the Andix that came into chat 12 hours ago is ;) Congratz dude(s). Well done.

Dmage ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 14 February 2003

You guys rock! From Forgroundz to Necropolis, could not ask for better

virtuallyhistorical ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 17 February 2003

Well deserved award! Keep the good stuff rolin'! One question... what is about English plumbers turning to 3D? PhilC and now, you tell us, YOU!

SAMS3D ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 26 February 2003

What a great interview. Always nice to hear all the information you gave. Your products are very well built and I have never had any problems with them. Although I don't have many, the ones I have are wonderful. You all are a credit to us merchants and certainly we can learn from you all.