Several companies and independent artists have begun offering custom 3D solutions for those webmasters looking for more than traditional stock photography and stock art to make up their content. The road to this point has been long and winding. While some of the larger websites hire their own staff of artists and photographers, it has long been the standard to rely on stock photography sites for any illustrations needed. Smaller sites, of course, have long been known to rely on public domain work to fill out a site on a meager budget. And it is budget, after all, that a site needs if they are going to purchase rendered art from a distributor.
Since the world was introduced to the Net in a big way in the mid 90s, the subject of worth has been a tumultuous one. Websites during the bubble were valued at far more than any reasonable person would pay. When that bubble burst, young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were sent away licking their wounds and many critics smirked, believing that this was the beginning of the end for anyone making a serious profit from an online venture. Of course, time has proven those critics wrong. New websites and concepts spring up online every day. Some are done with altruistic intentions; some are done purely in the name of getting rich. Both need content.
For a long time, content came in the form of hiring writers and supplementing the text with illustrations from stock clip art and stock photography. In recent years, these repositories of art have had a new competitor to deal with: the custom 3D artists who use advanced technical skills to create beautiful 3D renderings. Some of the best of these pictures can easily replicate real world photographs in a way that can leave the viewer confused as to which they are looking at. Others take liberties with the freedom of the digital plane and create vistas that could never be a part of the natural landscape. As you might expect, this kind of talent and software costs money. And webmasters have always been loathe to part with a dollar.
The world is still waiting to see if 3D movies and television will be the wave of the future, and it is the same with custom 3D on the web. History shows us that technological advances find their way to the mainstream in due time. Will this also be the case with this new wave of stock art? Time will only tell.