General Modeling Standards

3D Modeler and Core Fundamentals

01. Getting Started

3D Modeling is a key Wayfair initiative to generate more proprietary imagery in a faster and more cost-effective manner. After a lot of experimentation, we have significantly scaled our efforts and today have a very large team of technologists, 3D stylists, and artists creating thousands of high quality 3D models and images a month at a fraction of the cost of traditional 2D photography. Customers are unable to tell the difference between 3D and 2D imagery and these 3D assets can be leveraged across the site in ways that a traditional photograph can’t – whether that be in our A/R and V/R applications, “shop the room” features, and many other ways that enable our shoppers to engage with products.

The goal of this guide is to provide a quick overview of our modeling standards, and the software that our highly-specialized 3D teams have determined to be the best in the industry for furniture and decor modeling. We want to share what we have learned so that you can leverage our processes and approaches to effectively create high quality models.

02. Primary Software Packages Used at Wayfair

a. 3DS Max
The output for our model files are 3DS Max format. We use 3DS Max for its robust suite of tools for modeling, material creation, and rendering. One of the big advantages of 3DS Max is it is easy build custom plugins or to purchase plugins for by 3rd party. We require all models to be submitted in 3DS Max format.

For more information about 3DS Max visit Autodesk’s 3DS Max Product Page.

b. V-Ray
If 3DS Max is where we build geometry then it is in the 3DS Max plugin V-Ray where the geometry takes on real life properties through sophisticated material and lighting models. Using V-Ray we build unique materials that capture the fine detail of objects and create the 2D final images for display on our website . You will need V-Ray for your materials since we only use V-Ray for our image creation.

For more information about V-Ray you can visit Chaos Group’s Product Page.

Photoshop is the software we use to manipulate imagery. In our case we use it to tweak orthogonal views for our product images, edit textures so they tile, create displacement maps, create alpha masks, and improve the textures in many other ways.

For more information about Photoshop visit Adobe’s Product Page.

03. Standards Checklist

a. Model Quality
When building a high quality model, it should be built similar to how a real piece of furniture has been assembled. The furniture is built with lots of individual parts that are put together with glue and hardware. All the parts that have been assembled separately in a manufacturer’s warehouse should look like they have been modeled and textured individually and then assembled inside 3DS Max.

b. High Quality Materials
The materials assigned to the geometry need to match the product reference. It takes a lot of work to replicate all the complex properties of certain materials and there will frequently be lots of feedback between QA and the artist to get it right. A rendered model with high quality materials should look indistinguishable from a photograph of the reference material.

c. Build Models with History
Build your model so that it can be easily edited. Most models will go through several revisions before it passes QA. Building a model with the lowest resolution geometry that smoothes to an accurate high quality model will help you iterate. You will want to preserve history so you can go back and edit the model with less dense geometry.

04. Most Common Issues for QA Rejection

a. Product Proportions
If the proportions for your model do not match the specifications of the product your model will not pass QA.

b. Product Shape Doesn’t Match
Make sure your model has the same proportions when broken down on a piece by piece level. Carefully check the proportional distances between parts. Also check the silhouette of your model and make sure it matches the product reference. Overlaying reference imagery is a good way to make sure the model and product reference are a perfect match.

c. Product Color Doesn’t Match Product Reference
Calibrate your monitor and check the color of your model to the product reference. Use the color picker and make sure the model color is the same range as the product reference. The color should closely match the product when rendered out in our pre-built studio scene.

d. Materials Do Not Match Reference
When creating 3D models for Wayfair, the key is making detailed materials that have the correct properties to make it look real. Check the reflectivity, glossiness, and transparency of the materials of your model. QA will reject a model if the materials do not match the reference image.

e. Blurry or Low Resolution Textures Files
Since your models will be used for high resolution imagery, make sure your textures are high resolution. Most of our textures are at least 2048 x 2048 pixels in dimension.

f. Stretched UV’s
Keep an eye out for UV stretching or distortion.

g. Unique Materials
Each type of surface should have one and only one type of material. Don’t apply a different texture to the front, top, and sides of a box for example. Each type of surface should have its own unique material.

h. UV Layout
Do not use a texture atlas for a repeating pattern. Use tiled textures and overlap UV’s.

05. Automatic QA Failures

a. Missing Assets Detected
One or more texture files are missing from the model submission.

i. To fix this: Save all texture files in the Resources or Assets folder of your model submission. Clear all unused materials from your file. Collapse any Unwrap UVW modifiers that are below subdivision modifiers (HSDS, MeshSmooth, OpenSubdiv, Quadify Mesh, Subdivide, Tessellate, and TurboSmooth). Strip all bitmap paths. Save the cleaned Max file.

ii. If you have unused materials in the Compact Material Editor, go to the Utilities menu and choose “Reset Material Editor Slots”.

iii. To clear unused materials from the Slate Material Editor, in the current View tab, go to the “Edit” menu, and choose “Clear View”. Repeat for each View tab.

iv. Strip all paths by going to the File menu > References > Asset Tracking. Then once you’re in the Asset Tracking window, go to the Paths menu > Remove Missing Assets.

v. Save the Max file.

b. Objects with Unwrap UVW Modifiers Detected
One or more Unwrap UVW modifiers are in the modifier stack can cause an automatic failure. This is because of several reasons:

– These modifiers can add unused bitmaps to the scene
– Unwrap UVW modifiers are unstable; if you add vertices below them Unwrap UVW will reset the UVs.
– Unwrap UVW should always be collapsed unless used above a subdivision modifier (and even then this should only be done to relax the UVs).

i. To fix this, collapse the Unwrap UVW modifiers. Right-click the Unwrap UVW in the modifier stack and select “Collapse To”.

c. Objects with Hair and Fur (WSM) Modifier Detected
The Hair and Fur Modifier is being used instead of VRayFur. The Hair and Fur Modifier is older and can cause crashes with newer versions of 3DS Max.

i. To fix this: Instead of the Hair and Fur modifier, use VRayFur.

d. Materials with Reflection and/or Refraction Interpolation Detected
Reflection/Refraction Interpolation is turned on. This is a setting in individual materials in older versions of V-Ray that should be turned off. It allows you to separately interpolate glossy reflections and refraction values. Using this can sometimes result in splotchy materials and/or renders. These settings are no longer usable in newer versions of V-Ray and should never be used by default. To fix this, just reset the material’s settings.

e.System Unit Setup was not equal to 1.0 Inches
The system unit setup is not set to 1.0 inches. This may result in scale issues. To fix this, set the system unit scale to 1.0 inches. To access this menu, go to the Customize menu at the top of the screen, then Units Setup > Units Setup dialog > Click System Unit Setup.

f. Objects with Negative Scale Value Detected
The model contains negative scale, caused by using the Mirror tool in 3DS Max.

i. Objects with negative scale may have flipped normals and scale inaccuracies. Negative scale can be seen by looking at the Scale transform of a selected object.

ii. When using the Mirror tool, make sure to set it to “Geometry” mode, not “Transform” mode:

iii. Or use the Mirror modifier:

iv. Or select an Element in Editable Poly, then use the Mirror tools in Graphite Modeling Tools.

06. Quick Tips for Working in 3ds Max

a. Check Scale
Make sure you work in inches.

b. Optimize Your Mesh Mesh
Construct your mesh with minimal density but make sure it smooths without blemishes.

c. Have Good Edge Flow
Your model should be comprised mostly of Quads that are friendly for smoothing. Triangles or N-gons are not your friend. If you have to have triangles check your mesh with Turbosmooth on to make sure it doesn’t leave glitches in your topology.

d. Give Enough Geometry Details
Provide enough geometry for rounded areas. We do not want faceted geometry that doesn’t look good when rendered.

e. Seal Your Geometry
Just like in real life models, your models should have mass and not be hollow. Make sure your models would look like they should in real life and are watertight.

f. Avoid Atlas Textures
Unlike game models, we only use atlased textures in a few circumstances, like when the pattern is non-repeating. For example the numbers on a clock face can use an atlas texture map.

g. Avoid High Object Counts
Very high object counts can cause 3DS Max to lag and crash, making it more difficult to work with and edit models. Make sure that you are limiting yourself to less than 75 objects in a scene.

h. Use VRayFur instead of V-Ray Hair and Fur
We use the latest version of VRayFur and do not support the older V-Ray Hair and Fur.

i. Clean up your File
Objects in scene other than the product should be deleted. We import product models into our own studio scene, so any lights or geometry left in the file will interfere with our process.
Geometry Mirroring (3ds Max Specific)
Do not use the Mirror Tool in Transform mode because it creates negative transforms, and it is more difficult to edit UVs and the shape of the model.

j. Non Uniform Scale
Do not scale the model using “select and non uniform scale” because this makes it more difficult to edit UV’s and the shape of the model. Only use Non-Uniform scale when in Sub-Object mode, or when using a modifier control (like FFD control points).

07. Folder Structure

When organizing your folders for each project, we request that you adhere to the following folder structure. If you are a Supplier then you should label the folder/.MAX file with your part number. If you are a Wayfair artist then you should label the folder/.MAX file with our SKU numbers.