How Upland Accelerated Their 3D Asset Production by 70%

Kaedim
8 min readDec 15, 2023

Upland x Kaedim Case Study

“In less than two weeks, we successfully took two original IP campaigns from inception to production, covering Map Assets, Structure Ornaments, Go Karts & Wearables.”

About Upland

Upland is a pioneering web3 immersive platform for entrepreneurs, creators and gamers. Starting out as a blockchain-based virtual property trading game, the platform enables players to buy, sell, and trade virtual properties mirroring real-world locations, fostering a dynamic and immersive gaming experience.

With over 3 million registered players and more than 4 million virtual assets sold, Upland utilizes blockchain integration to ensure transparency, security, and genuine ownership of in-game assets, offering a unique intersection of virtual and real-world economies.

They have achieved recent milestones such as raising $7 million ahead of their Ethereum Token Launch Sparklet, partnerships across diverse industries (FIFA, NFL Players Association, UNICEF Brasil, Own the Doge DAO, Susan G. Komen, Aerial, and the EOS Network Foundation), and the successful launch of a brand new experience for players called Totems.

Upland’s unique integration of blockchain and virtual assets, alongside no-code minting for UGC creators and APIs for game and 3d experience developers, introduces an innovative approach to immersive virtual economies.

About Kaedim

Kaedim is an AI startup using Machine Learning algorithms to turn images into digital 3D models. Using our AI and in-house art team, we have the most accurate, game-ready 2D to 3D asset generation pipeline. Currently, we are offering a 5–10x speed up to 3D asset creation pipelines of 200+ game developers.

At Kaedim, we are committed to streamlining game development pipelines, offering a seamless bridge between idea and 3D model. We are dedicated to empowering developers with tools that accelerate their creative process, simplify complex pipelines, and enhance collaboration.

Dedicated to ongoing enhancements, we recently added features like our Automatic Texturing, UV Unwrapping, and LoDs (Levels of Detail) functionality that further enhances our 3D content creation capabilities. These advancements emphasize our commitment to innovation and efficiency across all aspects of 3D content creation, providing users with powerful tools to streamline their workflows and elevate the quality of their projects.

How it started

Our teams met in early 2023 with the vision to revolutionize content creation pipelines so that creatives can do more with less. With Upland’s continuous success, optimizing their workflows became essential.

As we continue to work hand in hand, our focus remains on optimizing Upland’s workflows, pushing the boundaries of efficiency, and redefining the 3D production pipeline for a new era of creative possibilities. Together, Upland and Kaedim are creating a path towards transformative advancements in both gaming and content creation.

This case study explores the successful collaboration between Upland and Kaedim, which has resulted in a remarkable 7x acceleration in 3D content production.

I. Integration

Upland’s Mission

Upland is dedicated to cultivating a thriving user-generated content (UGC) community. Through a robust entrepreneur economy, it empowers players, creators, developers, and brands to craft and share their unique goods and experiences, fostering utility and enjoyment for the entire player base.

Challenges

Facilitating User-Generated Content (UGC) and continuous game and feature updates demanded the establishment of a pipeline capable of consistently generating new assets at a fast pace.

  • Scaling Production: With the expansion of the user base, the task of handling the workload related to 3D asset creation poses a growing challenge. As more users engage with the platform, the demand for 3D assets escalates, necessitating effective strategies for scaling production to meet the heightened requirements.
  • Scaling Ideation: In this stage, they needed a way to be able to ideate and conceptualize more freely and efficiently.

Solutions

  • Integrating scalable solutions like Kaedim can significantly accelerate the Scaling Ideation & Production pipeline. Ensuring seamless integration into the existing workflow is equally important to maximize the efficiency of the overall process.

“It has helped us scale our in-game 3D asset production while we expanded the UGC platform.”

  • Using AI from sketch to mesh, Upland has not only been able to accelerate their production, but also the stages before production.

Kaedim’s Integration into the Upland Pipeline

With the integration of Kaedim’s app and features, Upland was able to accelerate both the production of 3D assets and the ideation process for new concepts.

70 Non AI Totem Models x 3.5 days = 245 days

70 AI Totem Models x 1 day = 70 days

The Upland Production Pipeline Before and After using Kaedim

Upland Team acceleration

“Utilizing an AI-powered 3D pipeline, we achieved an impressive 72% reduction in production time of the 5,000 unique TOTEM life-forms.”

The process of manually creating a gray mesh can be challenging due to its variable complexity, making pricing for production difficult. To address this issue, a solution was found in Kaedim’s image-to-mesh technology, which eliminates the need for the manual gray model step.

Even adding cleanup into account, production speed has accelerated for Upland as they’ve integrated Kaedim into their pipeline.

“For simple objects, this can save a few hours of time. For complex objects, especially wearables or characters, this can save days of sculpting.”

How do the users benefit from a faster pipeline?

  • Constant Updates: Users benefit from a dynamic and ever-evolving experience with the availability of frequent updates for new assets and features. This keeps the virtual environment fresh and engaging.
  • Enhanced Customization: Users have greater flexibility in customizing their experiences. With a steady influx of new assets, users can personalize their in-game spaces and avatars, fostering a more immersive and unique gaming experience.
  • Responsive Development: A faster pipeline enables more responsive development cycles. User feedback and suggestions can be implemented swiftly, leading to a more collaborative and user-centric approach to game evolution.
  • Expanded Content: Users gain access to a broader array of content, ensuring a diverse and enriched gaming environment. This diversity contributes to sustained interest and provides users with an ever-expanding universe to explore.

Use cases

3D Wearables

3D Map Assets

Go Karts

Totems

Why did Upland Choose Kaedim?

Add-ons

Kaedim was able to collaborate with Upland in creating specific features for their team’s needs, enabling Upland to experiment and explore 3D generative AI’s capabilities.

“Working with the team on specific add on features has been great. 3D generative AI is very new right now and experimentation has been key for us.”

Customer support

For Upland, the assistance and support provided by Kaedim has been a key factor in setting us apart from other 3D generative AI services.

II. Impact

Team Acceleration and Pipeline Automation

AI Sketches to AI Meshes pipeline step-by-step

1. AI Sketching

  • Creating initial concepts with AI and refining
  • Establishing art direction

2. AI Modeling with Kaedim

  • Creating meshes with AI
  • Texturing

3. Blender detailing

  • Importing 3D assets into Blender for final touches

4. Final result

The role of Kaedim in the pipeline, and how it’s benefiting Upland’s artists

  • The streamlined asset production process opens up new avenues for Upland platform creators to collaborate and explore innovative ideas. With the reduction in production-related tasks, Upland’s creative team can dedicate more time to brainstorming sessions, cooperative projects, and the development of new concepts.
  • This increased flexibility enhances the overall creative environment, fostering a culture of collaboration and allowing artists to delve deeper into their creative processes.

The impact of Kaedim on the team’s acceleration and workflow automation

AI mesh generation eliminates the need for modeling or sculpting from a sketch, saving hours typically spent on creating a starting mesh for texturing. This significantly streamlines our artists’ workflow.

  • These AI workflows can accelerate a project from inception to production in a matter of days, rather than weeks.

Fine-tuning Kaedim for Upland’s unique artistic style and pipeline

Custom styles

  • The implementation of our custom styles feature allowed Upland to input their designs into Kaedim’s algorithm, contributing to the training of the algorithm to recognize and adapt to their distinctive style.

Texturing

  • With the help of Upland’s feedback, Kaedim was able to improve its Auto-Texturing feature in accordance with their style guidelines, ensuring cohesive implementation of the assets within their game.
  • Iteration on the color palette and algorithm were done to adjust the color saturation and value according to the guidelines provided by Upland.
  • Constant feedback and training of the model resulted in a more efficient workflow that sped up 3D asset production even further.

Geometry Optimization

  • To maintain the smooth operation of Upland’s systems following the integration of Kaedim’s models, we incorporated a function designed to eliminate ground planes and hidden planes from the 3D assets.
  • This was to ensure that we were producing the highest quality models while still providing smooth gameplay for the users, dropping the polycount of 3D models to ⅔ of the previous polycount.

Improved Background Removal

  • A small but useful feature is automatic background removal, which further accelerated the 2D to 3D process.

Customer support

  • To ensure the seamless integration of Kaedim into the Upland pipeline, along with Upland’s consistent and thorough feedback, we offered 24/7 customer support, prioritized Upland’s needs, and found ways to develop our app further to meet those needs.

User Experience

“In less than two weeks, we successfully took two original IP campaigns from inception to production, covering Map Assets, Structure Ornaments, Go Karts & Wearables.”

Along with AI sketching, Kaedim was used for all models. With this speedup in production, Upland was able to bring new experiences and items for their players.

Key takeaways

7x Acceleration — Integration of Kaedim’s AI-powered 3D asset generation led to a remarkable 7x acceleration in production.

72% Reduction in Production Time — Time to create 5,000 TOTEM life-forms reduced by 72%, showcasing the efficiency gains.

User Benefits — Faster pipeline resulted in constant updates, enhanced customization, and expanded content for a dynamic gaming experience.

Efficiency and Time Savings — Automation from AI sketches to AI meshes saved hours in manual modeling, accelerating project timelines.

Customization and Adaptability — Kaedim’s commitment to collaboration and customization met Upland’s unique artistic styles and technical specifications.

Customer Support and Collaboration — Ongoing collaboration, 24/7 customer support, and the development of custom features played a pivotal role in the success of the integration.

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Kaedim

Game-ready, on-demand 3D models. Kaedim's machine learning and in-house art team combine to deliver production-quality assets in minutes.