I asked myself the same question years ago when I had only a dozen models published at TurboSquid, and gradually, I realized that the number of situations that can lead people to buy a 3D digital model were countless and certainly growing.
There are innumerable kinds of 3D content needed worldwide by film, television, architectural and medical visualizations, advertisement agencies, game development, and even YouTube show makers.
The 3D market offers convenient alternatives for companies who would have to create them from scratch, paying more to an employee. Instead, they can buy it completely finished, saving money and precious time.
Imagine that you are a small freelance team and your client wants you to create an advertisement of scary cartoon cat walking over an old rooftop and finds a delicious hamburger. He needs the work done in 7 days, and even though you are an experienced character animator, there is not enough time to create a full-rigged cat and a complex textured rooftop environment. Before telling the client you need 21 days and $2,500.00 in modeling costs; your first steps should be checking 3D Marketplaces. Fortunately, you will find this great rooftop, this cute cartoon kitten and our familiar “expensive” hamburger.
Finally, you can start creating animations in minutes after downloading purchased models and your costs have decreased drastically.
Where to buy 3D models?
Sketchfab is all about 3D, AR, and VR. You can view models interactively in the browser, offering a unique user experience. It has a community vibe where you can connect directly with authors.
TurboSquid boasts the web’s largest library of 3D models, offering a wide range of choices. Some models get inspected and certified by staff, ensuring quality. While you can’t contact authors directly, their support system is top-notch.
My products there: https://www.turbosquid.com/Search/Artists/Denys-Almaral
CGTrader allows you to buy 3D models or hire freelance artists for custom work. You can directly contact authors for inquiries or clarifications. They have a good selection of 3D-print-ready models, clearly tagged for easy searching.
My products there: https://www.cgtrader.com/3d-models?optimized=1&author=denysalmaral
Unity Asset Store
Unity Asset Store, part of the Unity ecosystem, provides a vast collection of assets from 3D models to scripts, geared towards game development. Reviews help in quality assurance, but author contact isn’t a primary feature. Its major benefit is seamless integration with Unity projects.
There are many more 3D model marketplaces, I have just mentioned a few. Just remember to search first before making everything by yourself. You can find good resources at a reasonable price, ready to insert in your project development.
PS: What to search for models from many marketplaces at the same time? I have a tool for that too!