Saturday, March 15, 2014

Living in the Cloud - 3D Modeling

"3d software. Like Maya, 3ds max, blender"
I was challenged by +Stewart Martin.

I think this one's going to be a real challenge. I honestly don't already know of any GOOD 3D modeling web apps right now so this one is going to take some searching.

I did find and try out a web based 3D modeler which can be used to print on 3D printers.
I can say that ShapeSmith does well at what it does but it's not a full featured 3D modeler.
Because the sites screenshots are better than my modeling abilities, this is what the app looks like.
The app is very clean the majority of the screen is the actual model viewport. I made a basic rocket shape using a cylinder a cone and some rectangular prisms but my modeling skills are not that great so I opted to use the site's own screenshots. 

Ultimately the app is very basic and I don't see it being useful for much more than concepting and creating basic 3d models. It is an open source project however and like I said it does what it does well, I would expect this project or a fork of it to become more powerful in the coming years.

The second modeling app I found was The app had more features than ShapeSmith but was more resource intensive. 

While using the app on my Chromebook I experienced moments were it would stop responding or act slow. While using the app on my Alienware laptop I found it ran smoothly. So hardware is a concern for web based modeling apps as it is for desktop programs.

3D Tin is an impressive app.

The cube tool is seriously fun.

3DTins Features Fast break-down
  • Lots of Primitives- not only are there a lot of primitives to work with but lots of templates for slightly more complex common shapes.
  • Lighting control
  • camera animation
  • snap-to-grid toggle
  • color picker
  • cube tool - actually a lot of fun
  • symettry(Requires membership)
  • Grid on/off toggle
  • The ability to view community submitted models is also cool for inspiration
Over all 3DTin I could see using for a serious modeling project while it doesn't seem to support animating your models or creating rigs, this app seems to be a great launching point.

I could see in lets say a game designers job using the tool to create 3D models of creatures and objects which would then be imported into more advanced software later on to add textures and more fine tuned models. I don't think this software is as good as say 3DS max but in say 5 or 6 years. I can see this app will really start to develop and become a more full featured modeler.

Verdict: There aren't any full featured 3d modelling apps quite comparable to 3ds max or blender yet but many apps are on their way. I estimate in 5 years we will have some serious contenders in the browser based 3D modeling department.


While not a 3D model editor, Sketchfab is still a cool find. Sketch fab allows you to embed 3d models in websites as well as share 3d models with other people to be viewed in all their glory. They did a good job on this one. Sketch fab uses WebGL and HTML5 to render 3D objects, it even can handle lighting and shading. The future of the web might just be 3D after all.


  1. I've seen sketchfab, but I forgot about it. Good find.

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