Some of you were interested in getting a few tips on how to become a PA (published artist) or vendor, to use a more general term, at DAZ 3D. This is of course the premier marketplace if selling to DAZ Studio (DS) users, and despite the snobbery against this accessible 3D software, it just gets better and better. DAZ 3D (the company/website) is not your only option, but if you are a Studio-only creator, or creating for both DAZ Studio and Poser, it will give you the biggest marketplace. Poser creators probably don’t need me to tell you to look at Renderosity, and there’s also Hivewire3D and Runtime DNA, all of which cater to users of both applications but with a strong leaning towards Poser.
Anyhow, here I’ll focus on DAZ 3D, since I became a DAZ PA earlier this year. Bear in mind I’m a new seller, so while I have newbie pitfalls and challenges fresh in my mind, you’ll also find the perspective of the more experienced creators valuable. Sickleyield comes immediately to mind here (you’ll find her helpful guides on DeviantArt). Also note that there are exceptions to every rule, so any advice I share is simply advice and not a set-in-stone rule from higher up.
I’ve decided to limit myself to a tip per post rather than cram it all in to one article. So today I’ll focus on the first step, which is originality.
The only way I know of to become a PA is to submit a product that the product selection team likes enough to want to sell via their store. It all hinges on that product.
We’ll assume you have your genre and content category clearly defined. You think this product will appeal to buyers of sci-fi footwear, historical weaponry, vintage vehicles, or whatever. But what sets this beautiful model you’ve been working on apart from all the other existing and in-progress works by other artists? Originality, that’s what.
When you submit it to the decision-makers at DAZ 3D, they will take note of the quality and general awesomeness of your creation, but they also know when the market is saturated for a particular product. If they already launched 3 itsy-bitsy yellow polka-dot bikinis this year, and your one is not that different, don’t be surprised if they don’t feel there’s room for another. If you create something that fills a gap in the store, but it turns out there’s something way too similar over at Renderosity, again it’s probably going to count against you. The DAZ decision-makers have a strong head for business and know what sells to their particular market.
Which brings me back to that bikini. You see it’s understandable that for a first submission a content creator will go with something ‘safe’. I’m using a bikini as an example, because as we know figure-revealing female clothing never lacks for buyers. Add to that the fact that compared with a floor-sweeping gown with realistic draping morphs or 15-piece cloaked, booted and weapon-equipped warrior outfit, a bikini is relatively simple to create and fit to the female model of your choice. You can even find tutorials to get you most of the way there (you’d have the good sense to change the design, of course… maybe even remarket it as ‘lingerie’). Speaking of bikini tutorials, there’s an excellent one by Fugazi that I’ve recommended before for those wanting to learn to make clothing.
OK, a bikini: quick to make, a good seller, what’s not to love?
Here’s the thing. It’s going to have to be a real stand-out bikini to get any attention. I don’t know this as a fact, but I bet people are submitting bikinis and lingerie just about every day. Here’s another thing. People on the whole buy for the latest figure. Here you’ll be competing with established creators who can get their products created, refined, and approved for sale before you even know who the next figure release will be. They too need to focus on getting a good return-on-investment for their work, so those hot products will be high on their list. It goes without saying that they will very likely do an impressive job of it with great design and texture work, and other extras that make it even more appealing to the customer.
This is why originality matters, whether it’s bringing a startling new twist to a commonplace product or heading for less-trodden ground. If you take the second option, and do an amazing job on a product type that’s less represented in the marketplace, you stand a good chance of getting some attention. If you just head straight for pin-up poses instead, because they are achievable and sell well, don’t be surprised if you find they’ve already been covered in every way possible.
A final word of caution though. You are aiming for different but marketable. My own first (and rejected) product was different, and fun, and I put weeks of work into it. But if the market for it doesn’t exist, DAZ can’t conjure one up out of nothing. So their answer will very likely be no. Yes, it’s all a balancing act. Be original, be different, be better than the competition… but have an idea of what sells. That way you have a fighting chance of racing on into testing instead of falling at the first hurdle.