For video game artists, converting 2D sketches into 3D assets takes thousands of hours across a standard-sized video game. Kaedim, founded by Konstantina Psoma in 2020, provides game developers with modeling software that can rapidly convert 2D images into 3D models. The startup is located in London, United Kingdom, and previously raised funding from Y Combinator and other investors.
Kaedim currently has ten employees. The company is focused on growth and developing strategies to handle servicing the large influx of demand they are currently seeing.
Frederick Daso: What goes into the exorbitant cost of making one single 3D asset for a mobile game and metaverse developers?
Konstantina Psoma: Video games are becoming more and more expensive. What are some of the reasons that are the case? Let’s have a look into how 3D asset creation contributes to the high costs of games.
First is the evolution of game engines and console generations. The quality of graphics that are now possible because of the evolution of game engines and the hardware is extreme. In the past, game developers could hide behind the limitations of the engines and hardware and did not need to create high-fidelity graphics. They would be wasted anyway. However, this has now changed. Everyone is on a mission to make the best graphics, so costs skyrocket.
You might ask, if games are making sequel after sequel, why don’t they reuse old assets? They can’t.
Why not? The answer is in reason number one. As software and hardware updates, the version of a 3D model used in previous games that were made years ago is now irrelevant. The artist might as well start from scratch rather than work on this previous version to upgrade it.
In addition, digital 3D asset creation takes a long time. This is one of the reasons why games nowadays take anywhere from 2 to 12 years to be completed because of how manual and time-consuming 3D asset creation is. At the same time, there is a limited supply of talented 3D artists, as the software is a steep learning curve. Usually, people need to spend years practicing to be able to contribute to high-end productions.
The metaverse, on the other hand, is just a re-branding of video games.
Depending on the experience that you want to create, i.e., how realistic, how high fidelity, etc., you have to allocate the appropriate budget for the graphics, which is identical to video games.
Daso: Out of the hundreds of thousands of video game artists, what makes small to medium game studios an attractive beachhead market?
Psoma: As a startup, we are looking for our early adopters. This means that we are looking for people eager to try new technologies and experiment, give feedback and grow with us.
With our technology, we can enable a single 3D artist to tackle 10x the amount of work. As a result, this is why we are currently working with small to medium-sized game dev studios. This is where we believe we can add the most value as small teams suffer the most from the high costs and time needed for 3D asset creation.
At the same time, we are working with some larger companies but on a different value add proposition. 3D User Generated Content. Imagine having a game or metaverse with millions of users all being able to contribute 3D content. That would make digital worlds super rich and their owners, as well.
Daso: How does your business model differ from other similar startups or established companies serving small to medium game and metaverse developers?
Psoma: Currently, there are no direct alternatives to Kaedim. Our business model is a simple SaaS where you get a monthly subscription for a certain amount of 3D model generations.
The alternatives currently available include traditional manual modeling (in-house or outsourcing), buying ready assets off online marketplaces, photogrammetry, and procedural generation tools like Houdini.
At Kaedim, we are on our way to solving a really big problem for the gaming industry and for so many other spaces too. Others will come into the space inevitably, but we have the first movers advantage. Our software automatically models the geometry from scratch. There is zero knowledge of 3D modelling software required to use it, thus anyone can. Kaedim takes as an input a photo, 2D art, or sketch so you can create something unique based on your own inspiration without ever needing to have a physical object in your possession to create something. Each output is unique.
Daso: What’s the main factor in reducing the cost of producing a 3D asset that you’ve optimized in your solution for video game artists? With this cost bottleneck removed, where can game developers spend their time that results in higher value work being produced for their clients or end users?
Psoma: We don’t look at our solution as a cost-saving one but instead as a value-adding one.
The gaming industry is notorious for its crunch and the missing of deadlines. How many times has your favorite game been delayed?
With Kaedim’s tool, game developers can create games in 10x less time, which means that during the same time that you are currently waiting for one game, ten games will be released.
3D asset creation is one of the most time-consuming parts of the pipeline for game development.
Moreover, with technology like this, the sky is the limit. We recently released our API. Now anyone can integrate the automatic 2D to 3D conversion into their apps, games, and metaverses.
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