I have to admit that we’re always keeping secrets. We’re always working on new things, and we try not to be the company that spends more time telling you what we’re going to do someday, rather than showing you what we can do today.
Most of our customers know that we offer a $500 tool to convert our VRML files to 3D PDFs that will play in the free Adobe Reader which is installed on 90% of the world’s computers. About 50% of our customers have embraced that technology which allows them to incorporate interactive 3D models in their PDF reports to their clients.
We’ve also had a lot of requests for a web-based 3D viewer for EVS models as well as wanting to see 3D models on smartphones or iPads. Ironically, 15-20 years ago, there was a reasonably good plug-in for Internet Explorer to allow direct viewing of VRML files, but the past-is-past. Late last summer we discoveredwww.sketchfab.com. At first we were ecstatic, but that quickly wore off when some of the first things we tried to upload didn’t display correctly. We tried working with their developers, and we have waited patiently for 6 months. However, at this time, we do not expect them to address their limitations.
Rather than be defeated by their limitations, we decided to investigate just what we could do within those limitations; and I think that many of you will be excited. Just as Adobe’s 3D PDF rendering doesn’t support everything we can do in EVS; Sketchfab’s limitations don’t make it worthless, just less wonderful.
Here’s a summary of the good and the not so:
- EVS models on smartphones, tablets & iPads!
- EVS models in all browsers on all operating systems: Windows; Mac; Linux; iOS and Android.
- No plugin or software installation required.
- The cost is low.
- Sketchfab offers free accounts so you can try it without any commitment
- Pro accounts (for private and larger models) are only $120 per year.
- There is nothing you need to buy from C Tech!
- Biggest limitation is no direct support for aerial photos or textures
- No animation or multi-frame support (don’t let their website fool you)
- Shares many 3D-PDF limitations also
- Transparency quality is poor, especially for closed shells and nested shells
I have revised the May online training registration form to include an additional class on Tuesday May 31 specifically targeting 3D Publishing to the web and 3D PDFs. Our long learning curve has convinced me that I need to share my experiences with all of you. You are welcome to get an account at Sketchfab.com and experiment on your own as we did for several months or take this 4 hour class and bypass months of frustration. I expect this class, and the other May classes to fill up quickly.