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.
Rooftop ($79.00) + Rigged Cat($149.00) + Hamburger ($39.00) = $267.00
Finally, you can start creating animations in minutes after downloading purchased models and your costs have decreased drastically.
For more real-life examples, check out these blog posts about the uses of TurboSquid models on Bones TV series and CNN news channel.
EDIT: Adding examples of using my 3D models:
– Baby Care Games created this My Baby Virtual-Pet app with more than 1 million downloads using my Toon Baby character.
Save about 75% of modeling costs. Achieve quality results under tight deadlines. With Royalty Free Licenses, you have the right to use the model in your projects for a lifetime. By studying your purchased models, you can learn techniques from great artists around the world.
Finally, it begs the question:
Where to buy 3D models?
TurboSquid: The largest library of 3D models on the web for every need. It may be the oldest one too. Some models are inspected and certified by TurboSquid staff. Here, you can’t contact the authors directly, but the support is excellent.
CGTrader: Not limited to buying 3D models, you can also make requests to have the job done by freelancer artists. You can contact the authors directly and if you are looking for a 3D-printing-ready model they are well tagged and easy to find.
3DOcean: Sill a young service, but being part of the dynamic Envato marketplaces, it is good to take a look. Prices are very low and the quality may be low as well. You can interact publicly and privately with authors and can select from two types of licenses.
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.