How to Sell 3D Models
Are you keen to create a digital product to sell online? Lots of online entrepreneurs create things like ebooks and online courses – but perhaps you want to try something a little different. One great option you might not have considered is creating 3D models.
What are 3D Models – and Why Sell Them?
3D models are a type of artwork or design, so it’ll definitely help if you have some strong illustration, graphic design, or art-related skills. You also need special software to create 3D models. Selling 3D models could potentially provide you with a steady income stream – though it’s important to know that it’s quite a competitive marketplace. If you just want an outlet for your creative skills or a good excuse to experiment with Blender while making a bit of money, then selling 3D models could be the perfect side hustle.
How to Create 3D Models to Sell
Before you create 3D models to sell, you’ll need suitable software. Blender is a great place to begin as it’s a popular option and it’s free and open source. You can download it to your computer and start experimenting. As you start to brainstorm ideas for your 3D models, consider what you intend them to be used for. 3D models can be used for a wide range of purposes, including:
- Video game assets
- 3D printing
- Architecture environments
- Science or medical models
Obviously, all of these will have different requirements and customer expectations. In most cases, you’ll want to create a set of assets to sell – not just a single 3D model – so you’ll want to plan your project accordingly. If you’re new to 3D modeling, here are a couple of articles to help you get going:
- How to Start 3D Modeling: A Beginner’s Guide: this short guide starts with the basics of 3D modeling and covers some basic tips on getting started.
- 100 Days of 3D Design: this article is Tiantian Xu’s story of learning 3D modeling as a 100-day project, talking about workflow, use of Blender, and more, with lots of detailed images. There are plenty of useful links throughout and it’s a really inspiring read.
How to Sell Your 3D Models
To keep the biggest possible percentage of your profit, you want to sell your 3D models directly to customers – rather than selling through a third-party marketplace. Selling direct also gives you the opportunity to build a brand. Look at it this way: if a customer buys from a marketplace, they’ll return to that marketplace to buy again … and they won’t necessarily pick one of your products. If they buy directly from your website, that’s where they’ll come to get their next 3D model.
There’s nothing stopping you from selling on 3D modeling marketplaces, too – but make sure you focus on direct sales from your own website whenever you can. If you’re worried about the technical side of sales, don’t be! Using Payhip is really easy and straightforward – it doesn’t cost anything upfront as Payhip simply takes a small percentage of each sale.
Here’s your step by step guide to selling your 3D models online:
Step 1. Export Your 3D Models in FBX or OBJ File Format
First, you’ll need to export your 3D models from Blender (or whatever software you’re using) in FBX or OBJ file format. These can be opened in a range of different programs. Once you’ve exported your files, you’ll need to zip them. This makes it easy (and faster) for you to upload them and for customers to download them.
Step 2. Create a New Product in Payhip and Upload Your Zip File
Tip: Haven’t got a Payhip account yet? It’s free and quick to register here. Login to your Payhip account, click on the Products tab, then click the “Add new product” button. You’ll then need to select “Digital Product” – after that, you’ll see the screen where you can add your product details. Click the “Upload product file” button then select the .zip file that contains your 3D models. You’ll need to fill out a title plus other details for your 3D models.
Step 3. Decide What to Charge for Your 3D Models
3D models can vary hugely in price. Smaller, simpler models might cost as little as $5, whereas complex medical or scientific models might cost hundreds of dollars. To figure out what to charge for your 3D models, you’ll want to look at similar items that are being sold by other people. Type your chosen price in the “Price” box for your product.
Step 4. Upload At Least One Image of Your 3D Models
You can upload between 1 and 9 images into Payhip for your product: these appear on the product’s sales page. Add as many images as you can: you want to really show off your 3D models! You’ll want to add images from different angles if possible – or you could choose to embed a video (e.g. from YouTube) showing your product instead if you prefer.
Step 5. Use Payhip’s “Embed Button” Feature to Sell Directly from Your Website
Payhip gives you an online storefront to showcase all your products – you don’t need to have your own website to make sales. However, many Payhip sellers do sell directly from their own site, and a great way to do this is to embed the Payhip “Buy” button. That way, customers won’t need to leave your site in order to checkout. To get the code for the buy button, simply find your 3D model product in the “Products” tab of your Payhip account. Then, click the “Share / Embed” button to the right of it.
You’ll see a popup window: you just need to click the “Embed Button” tab here. You’ll have the option to choose a different color for your button and type in the button text, and you can set the button to work as a Direct Purchase or Add to Cart button. When you’re ready, just click to get the embed code, and follow the instructions on how to add it to your website.
How to Develop Your Brand: Marketing and Promoting Your 3D Models
Making your 3D models available to buy isn’t the final step! You’ll also need to market your 3D models if you want to get lots of customers. You might want to:
- Create a 360° image showing the model from all angles. You could use this in a blog post or landing page on your website.
- Create a video that shows your model (you can embed this on your product’s page on Payhip, as well as use it on YouTube, on social media, and so on).
- Offer a special discount coupon or run a sale. It’s easy to create coupons in Payhip under Marketing → Coupons.
- Offer an affiliate program that encourages other 3D artists and fans to promote your products. Whenever an affiliate makes a sale, they get a percentage of the money: you determine that percentage ahead of time. To sign up affiliates, just give them the registration link that you’ll find in Marketing → Affiliates in your Payhip account.
It’s free to get started with 3D modeling using Blender, so why not give it a try today? There are lots of tutorials that can help you get started. It’s also free to set up a Payhip account … and you could soon have your 3D models ready to sell.
Can I make money selling 3D models?
The short answer is, yes, you can. Selling 3D models could potentially provide you with a steady income stream – though it’s important to know that it’s quite a competitive industry. If you just want an outlet for your creative skills or a good excuse to experiment with Blender while making a bit of money, then selling 3D models could be the perfect side hustle.
What 3D models sell best?
Generally speaking, 3D models that sell well are automobile, scientific and sci-fi models, as well as generic models such as animals and household items. There are an endless number of niches that you can cater to as a 3D model creator. The most important aspect to determine which 3D models will help you create a steady income stream is to focus on a narrow niche of buyers that you would ideally like to sell to, depending on your own skill sets and design preferences.