Greetings, texture fiends, and Happy New Year from beautiful Port Royal, SC!
First, I want to thank all of you for making 2021 the best year yet for Material Forge! We had some ups and downs, but without your support, we couldn't be here. So thank you for sticking with us through what has been a tough year for everybody.
The Good, the Bad...
After a rocky start to 2021 due to some major DNS & redirect issues with our domain name (it took almost two months to resolve - insane!), we launched a WooCommerce shop in April. Last month, I moved all of that to the Payhip platform, and have been really pleased with the site performance. In addition, our presence increased tremendously on third-party marketplaces like Artstation and Renderosity, etc; it took a few years, but we finally managed to break through the wall and make consistent sales on each platform.
I think the surge in virtual world development has been really good for vendors in the CG markets. Our fabric textures in particular have been a best-seller, and adding extended commercial license options helped developers add high-quality patterns to their 3d clothing, virtual environments, and more.
Other milestones this year included launching a Cubebrush store, optimizing my workflow with the Repper app, and developing several new product lines such as our Scifi Fabrics, Scifi Panels, and Connemara Stone series. Repper in particular has been a game-changer; the app itself is brilliant, and it's allowed for extremely fast production and speed-to-market like nothing else I've used. The built-in 3d previews alone have saved me hours of manually importing and rendering materials for promo images, and they really make our materials shine.
On the not-so-good side of things, I lost a longtime friend, fellow CG artist, and musician, Clint Hawkins, back in the summer to a sudden illness (non-COVID as far as I know). He got me a testing job at Renderosity 20 years ago (wow, time flies), and was instrumental in helping me bring my first products to that community back in the early days. He was also a voice actor in my Star Force 7 film. Clint was a very important part of the CG community, and he helped so many folks launch their products and projects. RIP, my friend. You are, and will always be, missed.
...and the Other Stuff
Recently I’ve started playing with various textures on real-world fabrics and apparel. There’s still a lot of experimentation, and I’m not yet sure if this is something I’ll pursue. We have products available, like fabric by-the-yard, so we’ll see how it goes. For now, consider this a beta.
Finally, I am once again a vendor at DAZ (www.DAZ3d.com), and am currently wrapping up a brand-new material series there for an exclusive, early 2022 release. I'm excited to be joining some old friends from the early days of the DAZ community, and looking forward to serving DAZ' customers once more! When we have the store completely setup and launched, I'll post the details.
I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year with your friends and family, and I'll see you all on the other side!
-Donnie Maynard Christianson
Founder & Developer