Interactive 3D Graphics

AR Aircraft

Finally a real solution for interactive 3D.

I’ve been playing around with interactive 3D graphics for years. From a series of short animations that when clicked on, make the user think they’re interacting with a 3D model. To a basic 3D aircraft simulation made in Macromedia Director with my friend Andy.

Then came Collada which sort of worked but was limited. I could never get it to work well straight out of 3ds Max so required a programmer to do his magic. The models worked fine and looked pretty good but were a bit jaggy and always lacked true interactivity.

Then one day a developer I know said he’d come across a 3D platform that may be of interest. I could upload my 3D models and people could interact with them in a web browser. Really? I bet it’s rubbish I thought. How wrong I was!

Hello Sketchfab.

Sketchfab work in progress
Work in progress using 3ds Max and Sketchfab

So for the past 10 months I’ve been experimenting with Sketchfab – to see what it can and can’t do. The question was, “how can we (Padpilot) use it in our aviation training without it being merely eye candy.” The answer was, a lot.

3D models that users can interact with, rotate and explore. Annotate parts of a model with titles and information. Animations that can be viewed from any angle and zoomed in on and recently the’ve added the ability to add sound.

All 3D models can also be viewed in Virtual Realty (VR) with a set of VR goggles. Even basic ones work well. I produced an Airbus A380 cockpit for Padpilot that looks amazing in VR. And as if all that wasn’t enough to enhance our students learning experience, Sketchfab models can now be viewed in Augmented Reality (AR).

With the release of Apples ARKit, developers can and have created some amazing AR content. But with the the launch of Sketchfab AR for iOS, it means 3D creators like me can publish AR content without needing to know how to code.

Exciting times ahead and hours of fun. Give it a try!


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