SketchFABulous

I just met with the 3 founders of Sketchfab, who are in town from Paris for most of the month. This is a great new 3D publishing service that lets you upload models and share live WebGL previews using embed codes. Alban, Cedric and Pierre-Antoine are very nice, very smart and on a mission to democratize 3D publishing. They are currently raising seed funding and working with Mozilla’s WebFWD accelerator program.

Like Ourbricks, a service launched last year that features live WebGL preview of models, Sketchfab’s goal is to facilitate sharing of 3D content by enabling live, web-integrated previews using WebGL. But Sketchfab has taken the functionality further by offering upload support for various file formats, and better still, exporters that will get content out of the pro tools like Max and Maya in a sane way so that artists don’t have to get lost in the alphabet soup of which standards/formats to export.

As with any such service– and this includes the bloated curiosity shoppe known as the Sketchup 3D Warehouse— I question the utility of hosting simple models that have no animation, interactivity or scripts (what can developers do with those?), and with no style guides and publishing standards governing how the content is organized. Without those in place, you never know what kind of content you’re going to get, what units its modeled in (inches? centimeters? angstroms?) and so on. Maybe Sketchfab’s social features like ranking will help separate the good from the crap; we’ll see.

Come meet the Fab 3 while they’re still in town, at our next WebGL Meetup in San Francisco, early December.

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