Sketchfab, the largest 3D model platform in the world, has grown in leaps and bounds since it was established nearly six years ago as a place for people to easily discover, publish, and share 3D content. The site, which recently reached over two million models, is home to over 1.3 million members, and its content has been viewed by more than 150 million people.
The Sketchfab platform leveraged Creative Commons licenses in 2014 to launch a download feature, and now the site has over 200,000 downloads each month, adding up to a total of more than 2.5 million downloads. It was originally a web only platform, before growing to cover the whole ecosystem of 3D platforms, including mobile, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
As the site grew, its owners came to some important realizations, including the need to help members monetize their models in order for the platform itself to be successful.
“We’ve seen a growing need and market for 3D assets, especially as VR and AR have become more mainstream,” Sketchfab CEO and Co-Founder Alban Denoyel wrote in a blog post.
“The natural evolution – and one of our most requested features – is paid download: a way for our creators to monetize their work, a way for us to push the distribution of content outside of Sketchfab, and an awesome way for people to find great content.”
Sketchfab recognized that in order to distribute 3D content everywhere, the site would also need a way to distribute that content outside of the platform itself, and just launched the new Sketchfab store, currently in beta form.
As the store is brand new, Sketchfab is very careful about reviewing and choosing specific sellers, though plans are underway to slowly open the store to more sellers, while still working to ensure high-quality content; to learn more about selling your 3D models on the Sketchfab store, visit the Help Center.
The new store has several unique features, including a massive, diverse library of models in nearly 20 distinct categories, such as Places & Travel, Architecture, and Characters & Creatures. Not all of the over two million Sketchfab models are available for sale at the moment, but the site can still help you find whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s a 3D scan, animated rig, or low poly asset.
Sketchfab processes every file in the store itself, so all of the technical information about a file – material types, polygon count, number of texture, etc. – is generated automatically. If you have already shared your own models on the site, it’s faster and less of a hassle to set up your own store. Speaking of less hassle, the platform’s store offers a state-of-the-art 3D viewer and model inspector, so buyers can explore the anatomy of each 3D model to be sure of what exactly they’re getting when they purchase it.
The Sketchfab store also offers an interoperable format, as it recently added one-size-fits-all glTF support. This means that available files will consistently render in engines, such as Unreal or Unity, just as they look on Sketchfab itself. To make the process easier, Sketchfab also made a Unity importer, which is currently available for download in an alpha version; an Unreal version should be coming soon.
As the store is still only in beta form, it’s missing several important features, such as a cart, a download API, and a ratings system. In an effort to make the experience even better in the near future, Sketchfab has already started working to add these features. To learn more about the Sketchfab store, you can visit the site’s Help Center, or join the conversation on the forum.
Will you visit the new Sketchfab store? Let us know – discuss this story, and other 3D printing topics, at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Source/Images: Sketchfab]
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