May 17, 2016 | By Tess

Sketchfab, the popular platform for sharing and viewing 3D models, has recently expanded its virtual reality capabilities meaning that you can now view your 3D models using any VR headsets. That is, earlier today, the 3D model website announced the launch of a series of apps for Virtual Reality which are compatible with the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, the Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, as well as Sketchfab’s WebVR support.

The announcement of the VR expansion seems like a natural progression for Sketchfab, which is designed for viewing 3D models. And, what better way to view 3D models that with VR, rather than on a laptop or desktop screen. Whether you want to view your 3D printable model before sending it to the printer, or want to explore King Richard III’s grave in VR detail, Sketchfab can now accommodate this in a more immersive and technological way.

As Sketchfab explains, “This is an important milestone for us. Our users have been sharing amazing 3D creations on Sketchfab for the past 4 years, and VR offers the most natural and greatest way to experience those.” Of course, as the 3D model sharing platform also points out, the integration of VR into their system is also significant for the Virtual Reality ecosystem, as their site hosts over 750,000 user generated 3D models which have the potential for VR content.

“VR needs a volumetric format, and that’s what Sketchfab content is about: a scene you can walk into and navigate with 6 degrees of freedom. We are the largest community of 3D creators and with more than 750k 3D files published to date, our VR support make us the largest library of user generated VR content,” explains the company.

Of course, and this goes without saying, the VR experience on Sketchfab won’t be game-centered and so won’t be interactive in the same way other VR experiences are, but will be based on the experience of simply exploring the world around you, discovering the 3D model in detail and, fittingly in a 3D virtual environment. The integration of VR viewing into their 3D model platform will also eliminate the need for external game engines, making character and game design easier for VR platforms easier than before.

Sketchfab announced earlier this year that their WebVR platform could support Google Cardboard, but now with the expansion and evolution of their integrated VR system all VR headsets can load the 3D models. The apps, also launched by Sketchfab, might be more reliable and easier to use than the WebVR option, but for the moment only a select number of 3D models can be viewed through them. As Sketchfab explains, “The apps are a curated showcase of models, and already a great illustration of what Sketchfab + VR means. Our goal is to scale them to let you browse the entire Sketchfab gallery in VR within the apps.”

To try out Sketchfab’s WebVR option, simply click the “View in VR” icon featured in the 3D models bottom right corner and be transported into a 3D virtual world. To learn more about and download the apps click here.



Posted in 3D Design



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