CGTrader CEO Discusses 3D Model Marketplace Milestone
This month, 3D model marketplace CGTrader hit a major milestone, announcing 1.5 million users: the CEO shares a look at the company’s impressive growth.
The now 1.5 million members of the community have contributed more than 680,000 3D models to CGTrader, resulting in approximately 12 million downloads over the company’s seven-year history. About one-quarter of the available 3D models are 3D printable, making the site a formidable force in our community.
I appreciated the opportunity to catch up with Dalia Lašaitė, Co-Founder and CEO of the Lithuania-based company, for a closer look at what amounts to a 15x growth over the last four years.
CGTrader has seen great growth recently; what factors contributed to the 15-fold user increase in four years?
"We achieved that by focusing on the designers – offering them the best commercial conditions, going the extra mile to help them and making sure that CGTrader is the best place to sell their 3D art. For example, we offer the highest royalties to our sellers and give them access to our marketplace data.
Thanks to this approach, we attracted a strong community and became one of the largest 3D asset marketplaces in the world. Designers are joining us through recommendations from friends and colleagues, and we have over 1.5 million users with almost 700,000 3D models available for sale or free download. CGTrader offers 3D assets to customers from over 180 countries working in a wide range of industries, including 3D printing, AR/VR, game development, architecture and manufacturing, to computer vision, medicine and others. "
How does it feel to reach the 1.5 million user milestone?
"Having such a huge community is inspiring. We greatly appreciate the trust our users put in us and we feel the responsibility that comes with it. We are continuing to rapidly improve and update our platform and working to reach 2 million users and beyond.
What trends are you observing in the global CGTrader community? For example, comparisons between where designers are based and where top downloads originate?
"There are several countries that stand out in terms of creating 3D models: USA, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, with India and China catching up fast. As for our customers – countries like USA, Germany, UK and France were the ones most buyers came from, and last year we served buyers from 184 countries.
A major trend in the marketplace itself is the rising demand for all 3D assets, especially low-poly models, which are used in real-time applications: games and VR/AR. 3D assets are also becoming more commonly used in machine learning (AI) training and ecommerce."
What is the 3D design community like in CGTrader's home country of Lithuania?
"We see ourselves in the broader Central European area, which has a high concentration of 3D designers per capita at CGTrader, so the culture is strong, and we might have helped to promote it in the region.
As for Lithuania itself, there are many strong game development companies, including some that have moved here from Russia in recent years. Of course, in terms of size and scale, our game industry is nowhere close to those of the US or UK. 3D printing design is gaining popularity and stepping out of maker circles, too. Overall, the country’s design community is getting stronger every year, and we are very happy that we attract talented 3D professionals to our 3D team, which is keeping our marketplace exceptional."
About what percent of the models available through the community are 3D printable?
"There are close to 180,000 3D printing models on CGTrader. They make up close to 25% of our total 3D model database which is at almost 700,000 3D models. 3D printing is a very promising segment, which has been growing continuously over the years, even when it was supposedly 'dead'. We really appreciate 3D print designers being a significant part of our community and are planning some initiatives dedicated to 3D printing models and designers in the future."
How do you see trends in 3D printing impacting CGTrader's growth?
"Any trends in the industry impact us directly, and the growing sales of 3D printers globally, as well as new technologies, continue to increase the demand for 3D printing models on CGTrader."
What other top application areas for 3D models do you see? Which are the fastest growing?
"Demand for 3D models with low polygon counts (low-poly models) that are used in real-time applications, like games, VR and AR, is growing very fast, and has increased by 300% in the last two years. Computer vision training in virtual 3D environments and the use of 3D models in e-commerce are also becoming more common."
What sets CGTrader apart from other 3D design marketplaces?
"We are the most designer-focused marketplace. We offer the best royalty rates and always do our best to empower 3D professionals and help them make money from their craft: we share marketplace tips and give designers access to our marketplace Analytics data to give them a data-based approach to their 3D work. We are also giving customers and designers the opportunity to communicate directly and collaborate on freelance 3D projects within our dedicated platform. Our marketplace is designed to save everyone’s time and effort spent on trivial tasks."
How do you see the demand for 3D content continuing to grow over the next five years?
"As technology advances, the media becomes richer - the web changed from text to images and then to videos. We believe that the next wave of content is 3D, and we want to prepare the marketplace for a massive expansion in the 3D space.
As for 3D printing – we see it being used in high quality production at accessible price points, which is why we expect the adoption of 3D printing to accelerate in the coming years, leading to a rapid growth in demand for 3D design. There are so many industries and uses cases for 3D right now, that the next five years will be extremely interesting."