Acquiring 3D Content

A new artist over at the DAZ Forums asked about strategies for acquiring content. Since I took the time to write up a lengthy reply about my approach, I thought I’d re-post it here too.

I’m not “new” at this by any stretch; so my approach is different now than when I was first building my library. With over 2600 packages (so, many more individual items than that) in the library, I can afford to be choosy. However, since you asked, this is how I approach purchasing content…

How Useful Is It?

  1. I only buy stuff I’m pretty sure I’m going to use. I don’t do a lot of renders with male figures, or in present day settings. So fantasy/sci-fi and female clothing / characters / etc. are the way to go for me. Your mileage may vary on that one.
  2. Think about the utility of the item. In clothing, I look to see if I could easily mix-and-match to get an outfit that I want or am I forced to use their entire set? For props and scenery, I look for things where I could re-use bits and pieces so that you don’t look at something I rendered and think “Oh, he used THAT building…” The more versatile something is, the more it is worth to me.

Price Tag Watching

  1. Ignore the % off!! It is an arbitrary number. Is something that is marked down at $14 from $20 retail price really more valuable than if it was $14 to begin with? If it isn’t worth paying full price for, it probably isn’t worth paying a sale price for either. There are a few exceptions. When something gets down to the $2 range, I might buy it “just in case I need it” But mostly if I wouldn’t pay the full retail price for it, I’m not going to buy it just because it was arbitrarily marked down 30%.
  2. Keep in mind, there will ALWAYS be another sale. Don’t know if you’re familiar, but around here we have a department store called “Kohls”. If you ever pay full price for something at Kohls, you’re ripping yourself off. Practice patience and it will be on sale. If you really can’t afford it right now, take a breath and remind yourself that it will go on sale again some time.
  3. Prepare for the big seasonal sales. March is traditionally a big month for sales @ DAZ. So are the last few months of the year. That’s when I will pick up the things that I kind of want, but not badly enough to buy at full price. Other sites have similar cyclical sales. If you learn them, you can pace your spending so that you can splurge when things are cheaper.

Saving the Bank

  1. Platinum Club – Especially for a new artist, there frankly is no better value than joining. If you can afford the whole year, I’d just go ahead and do that so you don’t need to think about it again for a while. 🙂 The PC goes on sale too sometimes; so if you’re not planning any big purchases for a while, hold off and see what comes up in the near future.
  2. The wishlist is your friend. Rather than going to the sale categories to see what is there, I use my Wishlist to see if anything that I have previously indicated I actually WANT is on sale. That helps with making sure I’m spending on the right stuff.
  3. If you have a tight budget for these things and you find yourself compulsively overspending, consider what I’ve done … I use a prepaid credit card for purchases. So i load it up at the beginning of each month. When the money is gone for that month, it is gone. Or at least I have to make a conscious decision to reload some money on to it rather than just thinking “Oh, that’s cool, and it’s only $8!”
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