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StemCell: Platform-agnostic 3D models and textures

By 3dtotal staff

Web: http://www.turbosquid.com/stemcell-3d-models (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 12th January 2018

TurboSquid's StemCell could be the standardization revolution of the decade...


What is StemCell?

In TurboSquid's words "The StemCell initiative greatly simplifies the process of building, buying, and using 3D models.” In short, StemCell is a platform designed to give 3d artists the freedom to build buy and share their work without the concern of encountering compatibility issues between different programs, applications and engines.

"Our vision is that buying a 3D model will be as reliable as buying a stock photo - it should just work.”

– StemCell website

Instead of wasting valuable time manually converting your models between arbitrary formats you can simply let StemCell do the heavy lifting. "3D artists can now focus on building models in the apps where they're most comfortable, and let TurboSquid deliver automated conversions to the industry's most popular formats.”


The big idea

TurboSquid's undertaking came about due to the skyrocketing demand for 3D content from all areas of industry, "major companies around the world are hurrying to give their customers new ways to interact with their products and brands in 3D through VR, AR, or online experiences.”

The big problem with the explosion in the market is the availability of high quality content and the obstacles of moving it around between applications. "The differences across 3D modeling apps, file formats, and rendering engines make it difficult to develop large-scale libraries of portable content.” To create a more frictionless environment for creators and consumers TurboSquid quickly came to the conclusion that any potential solution had to work cross-platform.

Free and easy

"We're app and format agnostic,” explains Matt Wisdom, TurboSquid's Co-Founder and CEO. "We have customers who use all types of 3D formats, and they ultimately just want the model they purchase to work without issues in the app that they like using.”


In order to develop StemCell according to the needs of artists, TurboSquid has created a StemCell "Council” featuring experts and industry veterans from companies such as Adobe, Amazon, Autodesk, Epic Games, Foundry, Microsoft, Unity and more. The primary purpose of the StemCell Industry Council was to assist TurboSquid in creating a blueprint that constituted a broad range of requirements for 3D applications and users.

One of the major decisions that TurboSquid made for StemCell was to focus on texture based materials. The main issue with moving models around is the inherent lack of material portability which frequently requires tedious rebuilding time. StemCell solves this problem by "adopting a purely texture map based workflow. No proprietary procedural textures allowed." The emphasis on PBR workflow is key to the portability of the StemCell standard, and TurboSquid believes it will ultimately make life easier for the user.

How can you use it?

You can already submit models to StemCell in 3ds Max and Maya (with V-Ray and Mental Ray) and Cinema 4D (With Physical Render,) and convert models into 3ds Max, Maya Cinema 4D, Unity and Unreal. To get you started TurboSquid has put together a comprehensive site detailing all the current standards and requirements that users need to adhere to, as well as training information and a detailed FAQ for all your queries and quandaries.


Throughout 2018 TurboSquid intends to provide support for additional formats, including Arnold, Blender and more. The company is hard at work sourcing more content and putting it into the hands of as many companies and artists as physically possible.

The potential for StemCell is fairly clear to all; a vast and expanding library of affordable content available for use in practically any application, for practically any purpose - What more could you want?

Related Links

Head over to the StemCell site to discover more about the standard
Learn about the StemCell submission process
Check out the extensive library of models already available for use

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