Parametric modeling

Discussion started by Bamboo3D


Last month I spent a lot learning parametric modeling and trying to understand how it works. I work in 3ds Max, so I stopped on RailClone. I modeled some assets for it. To my mind, parametric modeling is the future! But I haven't seen too many models related to that theme. What could you say, there is no real purpose for stuff like that?


Posted 2 months ago

I spent a few years learning parametric modelling in Houdini, then in 3dsmax/Railclone and dabbled with Rhino/Grasshopper. While I think procedural modelling is great its highly technical and a very niche market. Most customers want plug and play, most companies don't have the resources to R&D technical issues for days/weeks because you want it to be 'perfect', they are happy to have it look good enough and get it out the door. This goes the same for most artists/customers who work within tight deadlines, they need things to work fast, look great and move on to the next part of the project.

This is why scatter software is successful like Forestpro, its easy to learn and powerful with few parameters. Its also easy to teach someone else in a timely manner. Procedural modelling tools like Grasshopper/Railclone/Houdini take quite a while to grasp, you need to have some interest in mathematics etc. Don't get me wrong lots of people enjoy a challenge but my advice for selling this kind of thing is to sell the components ready to go with instructional videos to help them replicate it if necessary or just use an array tool to fall back on. Also have some prefabs ready for them for different situations, like cloning along a spline, a closed shape, a few different variations. If its easy for customers to use then sure I think you could be successful. Keep in mind the people you are targeting might be a very small percentage of the market, so sales could be on the lower end - or maybe you are right its the future and you nail it on the head. I thought this in 2012, still waiting for that day lol.

3DCargo wrote
Just some additional thoughts on Railclone specifically - I think most people purchased it (myself included) hoping there would be far more preset assets... or with the hope that over the next few years there would be more. The updates to Railclone never provided more preset assets, just new methods. This goes back to my point: customers (again me in this case) wanted fast ways of doing complex windows, stairs, houses/buildings, roads/curbs/signs (from different countries/regions) etc. This never happened and I stopped paying my subscription. I still have my perpetual license that I use in the odd case but to be honest never on a production job, deadlines are too tight and clients don't really notice. For example when doing aerial renders who cares about the details as long as a whole it looks consistent - you can achieve this with far simpler tools. Rinse and repeat for landscape/commercial renders, just get those details you do see right for the camera and dont worry about the rest. I would certainly use Railclone more if it was more artist friendly, unfortunately it's tailored to the Technical Director. Take a look at how many TD's work on any project, usually there is 1 for every 10-15 artists. This is a very niche field and thus so is the market. Also consider when selling to TD's they might have many more years of experience under their belt than you do and probably already have coded or using parametric libraries they have built themselves which are probably quite robust. So, it's a hard sell at the least, and a tough game to compete with at the best. Just my 2 cents. Also one last point to answer your last question, I think you don't see much of it because as a business its quite a large investment of time for such a small payoff. If you can scale it sure, go for it. But if you spend lots of time building unique assets that don't sell then was it worth the investment? Its business at the end of the day and there needs to be a profit margin, if you hit the wrong target it could be costly. If you are modelling things that clients are already requesting then you are probably off to a good start since those things could be in demand, its a risk you need to consider.
Bamboo3D wrote
I think you get me and I agree with your opinion. I'm just really obsessed with parameterizing everything and sometimes don't understand why people don't get it the same as me. You can prepare ready assets almost for everything and just use them in any case. I understand that we are for long here, so why don't do things like that?) But maybe you're right that investors/clients/bosses don't get it and want an instant result.
3DCargo wrote
You have the right attitude, if you are obsessed with it then you should do. If you can make a profit from the things you enjoy doing even better. Over the long run you only get better and more efficient so I don't see why not. Just be prepared for a slow take off, like I said its been 10 years since I started parametric modelling and the market is probably where it was 10 years ago - doesn't mean things wont change, that's just my personal experience. It might not turn out how you want financially at first, however that doesn't mean other areas of your work/life wont improve for the better, its just how you prioritize things I suppose. Maybe you are the next Geometry nodes guy and it works out great :)

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