I'm sorry to hear that you (and Aaron) are disappointed with the 'bad quality the hundreds of models have'.
I gather that you feel that the available information and existing videos haven't made it easy enough to gauge the quality of the models prior to purchasing Lumion, and it is obvious that we will have to put in more effort to demonstrate what sort of quality potential buyers can expect from the Content Library.
Regarding the overall quality of the content library and the suppliers we have chosen, we have indeed spent a lot of effort on negotiating prices and generally just squeezing everything we could out of every Euro we invested in models. As you and others already pointed out, we have mainly relied on what was available on TurboSquid and in other 3D model shops that agreed to let us distribute modified versions of their models with Lumion.
About the houses
, it is true that the models we bought from TurboSquid have low polygon counts and use low resolution textures. We knew from the start that only a few of our customers would be using those houses in their projects, since you only rarely need to include generic houses in real-world scenes. And if the houses were
being used, it would be for a backdrop, so the polygon count and the texture resolutions would be "acceptable" at a distance.
Regarding the road signs
, your assumptions are based on lack of knowledge (not your fault, I guess we just need a PDF catalogue describing each model). As Ferry mentioned, the clue is in the name. FR means France, GB means Great Britain, i.e. the ISO 3166
naming convention. All signs are custom made models since the ones that are available on TurboSquid are incorrect (Wrong measurements, not using official names etc).
Anyone from France will indeed confirm that (most) poles are 4 sided in this part of the world
, and the names of all signs are based on their real-world counterparts
, so we see no reason to sack modellers for creating signs that are in fact based on real-world data. The same principle applies to the British road signs, sure, the fixtures and fittings on the back are simplified/optimised for real-time 3D but the rest is made according to real-world dimensions and we use the official names from the British Highway Code
. We do encourage feedback on incorrect models though, so please let us know if any of the models appear to be wrong, so we can make sure they get fixed.Characters
(and many animated objects) were custom-made on an incredibly tight budget (I don't think you'd believe it if I told you what the budget was for each character), the body parts, heads etc were created from 3D.SK reference photos, the motion capture animations were recorded for a sum so low that it is, frankly, unheard of in the motion capture business (My brother who had a motion capture company confirmed that the price we paid was about 1/3 of what is usually charged). The polygon-count (max 4k per character) was based on the assumption that users will add a lot of different people to their scenes (once the library is big enough), and since there's no such thing as a free lunch in CGI, we can't simply double the polygon-count without affecting performance negatively. The vertex animation of each character is in fact stored in a special texture which also adds to the total memory consumption. This is how we're able to animate hundreds of objects at the same time, so if you double the vertex count, you're also increasing the memory consumption for each character.
The same thing goes for the texture quality
. We have deliberately scaled down a fair amount of the source textures to avoid out of memory situations. Once the majority of our users are using fast graphics cards with a lot of memory and Windows 64-bit (+ a 64-bit version of Lumion) we will be in a better position to use higher resolution textures and higher polygon counts.
And as Ferry already mentioned, good quality assets require more sales (or a higher price) so we can justify an increase in the amount that we can re-invest in the Content Library. So no, we are not in a position to match the quality of objects in the level editors of AAA games you're used to and we most likely won't be for a while. Also, I don't think you know what it costs to use the CryEngine for (commercial) architectural visualisations. Just contact them to see what I mean. If we charged that amount (and had a similar budget), I can assure you it wouldn't take long before we could match this quality.
When we started working on Lumion, we actually contacted close to 30 outsourcing companies to enquire about the prices for next-gen AAA quality characters, cars etc with Z-brush hi-poly versions used for normalmap generation etc and rest assured that this is not cheap. You can buy a real car (well, a Kia
) for the price of its 3D counterpart (including the usual next-gen map types).
Instead we chose to make a content library which was "good enough" for the majority of our users, whilst realising that many models were not suitable for centre-stage close-ups. In other words, the most important thing in Lumion is the model that the user imports. The entourage is not AAA quality, and we have never claimed it was. But the people you make architectural visualisations for may not have the same discerning eye for details that you have (being a veteran in the 3D industry).
So to sum up our objectives, we essentially wanted to make an affordable 3D visualisation tool for "the masses"
, i.e. people who don't have a huge budget to blow on software and/or training, and we were keenly aware of the fact that we wouldn't be able to compete with the quality of Vray for example. What we wanted to create was a tool for those situations where you are facing an almost impossible deadline, and you simply don't have the time to render a full video of a Vray scene with a large number of EverMotion cars/trees etc.
That being said, I'd be grateful if you could forward links/email addresses to the freelancers
you mentioned, i.e. people who are both cheap, available for full time work and who produce the quality you are looking for. Unfortunately, the best and most qualified people are already employed/working for other companies in my experience, so please let us know who you'd recommend.