Toronto-based Verold is looking to to give computer graphics (CG) artists a cloud and browser-based collaboration tool to upload their creative 3D assets for real-time feedback, akin to what Sunglass.io has done for industrial engineers, Upverter for electrical engineers, and GitHub for developers. The company soft launched its product Verold Studio in mid-2012, with an official launch in January. It’s out to save the industry the hassle of being limited to sharing files and screenshots for feedback over email or paying to develop their own in-house solution.
“We have some pretty deep geometry processing background and tools. What makes the stuff we do possible is all this amazing R&D we’ve done over the last couple of years on model processing,” said CTO Ross McKegney in an interview with BetaKit.
The company lets users take their creations on programs like ZBrush, Maya, and Autodesk’s 3ds Max and upload them on the web for others to see. One of the use cases McKegney highlighted is when a game studio outsources its character design, especially when the partnering company is international and time zones become a factor, sharing designs, screenshots, and giving feedback over email or FTP sites is less than optimal. With Verold, clients or other users can provide feedback in the browser, with collaborators able to mark up and annotate where necessary. Another use case would be in design schools when students are looking to submit their projects or collaborate with their peers.
The platform has a freemium model, letting anyone upload their 3D animations on its platform for free and letting anyone browse the public gallery, or they can choose the pro account for $6.99 per month or $59.99 per year to keep their designs private. It also has an enterprise offering which allows companies to create white-label solutions on a case-by-case basis.
With the maker movement coming into full swing and the demand for 3D printers and modelling still continuing to grow, other services like SketchFab have also emerged in the space, although Verold’s focus is exclusively CG art and not necessarily models. In its quest to target game and animation studios, in addition to design schools, McKegney said that larger studios and schools usually have their own in-house custom-built solution, but that it’s the smaller guys who need their technology over using email, Dropbox, and the like.
Verold is already in talks with some potential enterprise clients, and is also in the works of developing key features that it hopes will make creating and sharing 3D art easier, some of which include being able to support model animation, mobile support, and opening up its API to allow a developer network to flourish around its existing community to build apps. With collaboration and communications tools advancing for nearly every industry, Verold’s success in doing the same for the CG industry depends on how large the pain point is when it comes to existing solutions, and whether it can get its target audience on board.