If You Sell It, They Will Come

MonkeyLek · August 11, 2003 11:38 am

Part 1: Taking The Plunge Are you ready to sell your 3D and graphic art creations? If you are, you will need to prepare yourself for business on the internet by learning everything you can about this new sales venue. Your products must be of the highest quality and have great value to your clients, and you must provide the best possible customer support. For any aspiring professional, the MarketPlace at Renderosity is an easy place to begin. There, you can be assured of excellent assistance, wonderful promotion, and enormous exposure to a world of potential customers. The hardest part may be figuring out your market, or what you wish to sell. Try to fill a niche--an unfulfilled need in the market. If you need ideas for products, there is a great resource on the web called the MarketPlace at Renderosity Wishing Well. It can be found on Renderosity's Front Page. People who need special items cast their ideas in here. It is also essential to comply with copyright laws and regulations. Be certain to register your own work. For derivative work in any form, you will need permission from the original artist. If you are creating an enhancement for another artist's work, obtain permission before creating the item. If you are creating a model based on the geometry of another (such as DAZ's Victoria or Michael), be sure understand what restrictions apply and how the file must be prepared for distribution so that you won't be breaking copyright laws. When deciding to sell an item, ask yourself if you would buy it. Ask other users of similar products if they would buy it. Then make your decision. Becoming a vendor at Renderosity is a wonderful way to begin marketing your work. When you visit Renderosity, you will notice a Selling Products link in the side navigation bar of the main page. It leads to a description of the MarketPlace and has links to important information for new vendors. Near the top of every MarketPlace page there is a Store Contact Forum link. Besides being able to ask questions there, you will also find an e-mail to store@renderosity.com. The staff members at the MarketPlace are your key to the store. They are extremely helpful and they'll be happy to set you up as a Renderosity merchant. Each item must be carefully tested first. Before you send the item to the store, you need to create a preliminary version of your product for beta-testing. Now it is time to zip it--zip it good! It is good practice to use zips even if your product can only be used on a PC. Most items made for Poser can be converted by Mac users by using MartinC's Poser Maconverter. Whenever possible, try to have your product tested on both a PC and Mac before submitting to the MarketPlace. If you use an .exe file to distribute, Mac users will not be able to open it. Graphic1126.jpgThe structure of your zip file is very important. Renderosity's MarketPlace requires full paths in distributed zip files. This means that a user can unzip the file to one folder, and all the files will find their designated homes automatically. There is an excellent tutorial for this in the Store Contributors forum, which you can join once you have become a Renderosity merchant. The procedure is similar for most 3D applications. Poser library files are very common, but among the most complex, so they make a good example. If you are working with a different application, just substitute the base folder of that program for the Poser Runtime folder illustrated here. Create a mirror of the folders contained under the main Poser folder. The Runtime folder is where Poser stores library files. Create a separate Runtime folder on your hard drive and copy just the files needed for your creation there. Use the exact same folder paths relative to the Runtime folder when creating your mirror folders. If you want your creation to be used as a figure, you will need a Library folder with a Character folder, and a specific category folder for your character file. You need to add two extra files to your zip--a readme.txt and the Renderosity store license agreement. The license agreement can be found on the store upload page. A readme file should be plain text so that anyone can view the file on any computer. It should explain what the product is and contain a complete list of all included files, where the files all need to go, any special usage instructions, any necessary files or programs that are not included in the zip, and how to contact you by e-mail. With a copy of all your required files in their places, make a zip of the mirrored Runtime folder and all its sub folders. Graphic1127.jpg YOUR FINISHED ZIP FILE SHOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS. You will want to keep this mirror-folder setup until you have finished testing your product. That way, when a change is made, you can just replace the changed file and easily create a new zip for your beta testers. Remember, these same techniques apply to Bryce or any other 3D software; just the paths and file extensions are different. You need to beta test your item! Of course the first test will be carried out by you, but you need to let people who have never seen the item use it and tell you about any problems they may encounter. It's best to have both expert and novice users test your product. The expert users will be able to recognize and diagnose technical problems with the product; the novice users will be able to tell you if the product is easily installed and used. Note: if you fished the idea from the Wishing Well, you may want to offer the person who had the idea a chance to beta test the item. Listen to your beta testers! They are doing their level best to help you produce a reliable, easy-to-use product. Sometimes you will get feedback that hurts. Take it, fix it and make the product the best it can be. (Your beta testers should receive a free copy of the finished product as thanks for helping you.) While your item is in beta test, start creating sample renders and animations to showcase your product. You may even want to tease the community by posting test renders and bragging about your new creation in the Product Showcase Forum and Gallery. You will also need to start working on the promotional images that will be used in the store. ...to be continued in Issue 3... NEXT ISSUE: PACKAGING AND MARKETING
Graphic1141.jpg About nerd (Charles Taylor): Sometimes people don't like to call me Nerd, but being a nerd has been very good to me. I've been writing software programs since I was 15 years old when I wrote a knock off of Pac-Man. I also became interested in computer graphics around that time. The tech industry is the one industry that I can think of besides show business where a 37 year old guy can have 22 years experience doing something he loves. In 1999 I started Nerd3D, one of the first private sites to sell Poser items. Recently, my site turned over its half-millionth visitor. Sometimes called a Renaissance man, I've just started designing farm equipment and am completing my first project. I was born to engineer things. My first construction project was a chair that I finished at the age of four. My father's nickname was Tinker and he thought giving me real tools instead of toy ones would result in my making real things - he was right. My wife and I are in our eighth year as mom and pop computer consultants. We do off site network administration, VAR, and software development. I'm a big fan of the late cartoon legend Chuck Jones. If I couldn't do what I'm doing now, I'd want his career. Since Poser is being used more and more on television and in the courtroom, I'm hoping to see it make it to the big screen and would love to be involved with that kind of development.
The Magazine Interact Forum's Back Room is the place to go for editorials, magazine excerpts, discussions, and plenty of surprises. Also, if you haven't done so yet, you can buy single issues or the whole magazine collection in our Marketplace. To find your way there, go to the Magazine Interact Forum, and click on the link to the Back Room at the top.

Article Comments

paulbrittgarcia ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 13 August 2003

Not even a mention of BRYCE! POSER,POSER,POSER! AAAAAAH! paulbrittgarcia pbgarcia@alltel.net

Dall400 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 14 August 2003

Awesome article since I hope to market art, characters, or both, in the "near-as-possible" future! Lots of good information! Daddy Likes!! In response to palubrittgarcia, it was mentioned that the same process can be used with bryce, but the folder names are different! You simply have to find the correct paths, and apply them just as you would with Poser files! Cheers

awayne2 ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 16 August 2003

I have been a member for a couple of years and I salute all the people that take the time to test and retest. I wish it were as simple as it sounds.

marcia ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 19 August 2003

Where is the Wishing Well?

Rose ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 19 August 2003

Its always feels good to know that there is someone who is actually making a living doing computer work. And there is nothing wrong with being a nerd! Rose http://members.aol.com/Roseb44170/home.html "How did I ever get talked into this?"

nerd ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 20 August 2003

The wishing well is on the forums page waaaay down at the bottom. or here... http://www.renderosity.com/messages.ez?ForumID=12444