Reflection is a crucial part of growth and improvement. Because without it, you can carry on making the same mistakes, or missing the triumphs that helped you the most.
So I'm doing a public recap of Poliigon's first full year in business: 2017! There were some things that went well, and others that did not. So let's take a look...
The user base grew by nearly 500%!
This was a pleasant surprise!
At the start of the year we had just 800 users, and our ambitious goal for 2017 was to reach 2,500 users. But with 2017 now over, we have nearly 1,000 more users than anticipated: 3,415!
These numbers matter, because it means we can afford to hire more artists and photographers to increase the amount of assets in 2018! Woo!
The new site took waaaaaay longer to finish than expected. Whoops.
We realized at the start of the year, that these 4 features were heavily requested by users:
- On-demand credits
- Credit Rollover
- Paypal support
- Bulk downloading
And while these might sound easy to build, we discovered that the site wasn't built properly from the start to support them. So we needed to do a complete rewrite of the backend to support it.
We originally estimated this would take only a few months to complete. But we vastily underestimated it's complexity. Our web developers ran into more and more problems as they went, and as of the time of writing this, it's still not live - thanks to one last problem: Braintree not yet setup correctly.
Another contributor for the delay was that the scope gradually increased as it went. Because as it was being built we thought of extra functionality we needed, which prolonged the release date and sometimes required a re-do of existing work.
We don't expect to undertake web development of this size again, but if we do require any more big site developments updates, we want to release it in smaller increments on a more frequent basis.
The high quality of community artwork!
Every month we feature the best community artworks. And one thing we've noticed steadily increasing is the quality of community artworks!
Here are some of our favourite renders from the Poliigon community in 2017:
Seeing these artworks is a serious motivational boost for our team. So thank you to everyone who posted their artwork on Artstation! We hope we can see more of your wonderful renders in 2018 :)
Our documentation needs improving
We spent most of the year trying to improve the library, that we didn't stop to consider how many users don't know how to use them!
This was a lesson we learned late: while some artists already know how to use GLOSS or DISP maps in their software, many don't! While we have documentation pages for each software, after a close inspection we realised it should be a lot easier to follow.
Since the mission of Poliigon is to help you make better artwork, in 2018 we're working to improve the how-to videos and documentation, so that anyone from any software, can create great results in minutes.
The monthly releases were a big hit!
Instead of releasing random assets silently in the background, in 2017 we decided to try "monthly releases" which are a group of assets related to a single theme.
And they were a big hit! We successfully pushed out 12 releases for each month of 2017:
And for most releases we included a youtube video, and some of them went viral!
The Street Release video got 188,000 views:
But the most popular of all was the metal release video, which got 695,000 views!
No scene breakdowns... yet
We initially thought that artists would come to Poliigon when they already had a scene in mind. Like 'I'm making a city scene, so I'll come to Poliigon for roads'.
And while that's common, we've also discovered that oftentimes you need a boost of inspiration to show what is possible.
So something you'll see more in 2018 are Scene Breakdown videos. We don't have any to show you yet, but we hope to show the first in January. Stay tuned!
What's in store for 2018...
Now that you know the highs and lows of last year, I want to show you something we've been working on in the background for many months: models.
Here's a sneak peek at the first release: interior models.
A soft ETA for the model platform is Q2 of 2018.
There's a few more surprises we hope to deliver this year, but for now that's all. Thanks for a great 2017 Poliigon users!
What can we improve on in 2018? Let us know in the comments!