Good Quality Export to WebGL


#1

I may be alone but although 3d Warehouse is a great way to share models, it would be good to have an easy export option (Extension) in SketchUp to create an independent WebGL rendition of a model, which could then be hosted independently (on one’s own website).

When I first started using Sketchup there was an excellent sister program called Spread3DFree (version 1.4) which read in a SketchUp file which could then be exported as a functional web Flash page. This was (and still is) a fantastic way of sharing a model on a personal website without having to upload it to 3d Warehouse. The support for this software was abandoned several years ago but I still use the program for creating Flash renditions of my Sketchup models as I think that the quality is excellent and there are comprehensive navigation features in the resulting webpage. Here is an example from my website:
http://www.pettigrews.org.uk/test/flash.htm.
For maximum effect view the model full-screen

Flash is now deprecated and is being phased out by Adobe and by all the mainstream browsers. The obvious replacement in SketchUp should be a facility to easily export a SketchUp model as a WebGL page. There is an optional free Extension in SketchUp (T2H EXPORT WEBGL) to create a WebGL page, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of quality and functionality (the navigation controls are almost non-existent).

Here is an example of the same model as shown above after export as a WebGL page using T2H EXPORT WEBGL
http://www.pettigrews.org.uk/test/webgl.htm.

I am not a programmer so would not have any idea about improving this extension but as a keen user I think it would be extremely useful to have the ability to do a quality and functional WebGL export from SketchUp of the same quality as in the Flash exports from Spread3DFree.

Does anyone have a similar viewpoint?

Tim Pettigrew


#2

Oh wow thats cool did not know that existed. I have no input but curious to see what others say with this!

Cheers

Liam


#3

Ok, I’d like to know more about this.


#4

the Flash one was always very buggy with sluggish controls that take a long time to master…

the engine it used was dropped by google shortly after Spread3D’s release…

google made some great demos using SU models and the engine before it’s demise…

Taka Hara’s one is hard to set up, as demonstrated by the example, but is more SU like navigation…

the latest 3DWH beats them both on ease of use and quality…

john


#5

Hi Tim,

You probably already know that you can embed any model shared on 3D Warehouse on your website by using the embed code available from your model’s Details page. This is in fact a WebGL model viewer, exactly as you describe. We don’t have a way for you to self host that model viewer, however, which may matter to you more than the specifics of the technical implementation.

john
.


#6

@jbacus, what’s the score on embedding ‘private’ models from either the WH or Trimble Connect…

john


#7

Hi John,

Currently, we do not have a way to share embedded model viewers privately from 3D Warehouse. You can share models privately from Connect, but unfortunately that isn’t an embeddable model viewer at this time.

john
.


#8

WebGL is not a file format. and a single “WebGL export” cannot be defined.

Basically you want a WebGL-based viewer that is able to read a file format that can be exported from SketchUp (e.g. by a dedicated extension). There exist a couple of such viewers already that realize varying visual representations of the model (like game engines with physical materials, but require some level of extra customization by the user to fit their purpose), or that inherit SketchUp’s style (like 3D Warehouse embeddable models). There is no one-fits-all, but 3D Warehouse is probably the biggest common denominator.

You also seem to want to be able to host the model and JavaScript viewer application on your own website. What are the benefits that you expect from that?


#9

PowerPoint can now import .OBJ or .FBX files exported from SU…

everyone has PowerPoint [except Box :slight_smile:

maybe an option


#10

Not the file format, the application version is relevant (which not everyone has adopted yet).
OpenDocument format and LibreOffice as well (since 2014).

The plus of a web-based solution is it doesn’t imply a requirement that both parties use the same document format or application, it works with any device. I think there is a use case for sharing models just in order to show them to others (like a pastebin for text or a image hoster), not intended for reuse. 3D Warehouse is focussed on components that are useful to others. SketchUp needs something where one can click “upload” and 5 seconds later you can a share-link. Actually SketchUp 2019 (if it ever exists) could deliver a “share links” feature (as part of the upload success page) even after release.


I’m wondering if embedding the 3D Warehouse viewer on the OP’s website would solve his request, or whether having a self-hosted viewer has any benefits for him. Like for example being able to tweak the representation through JavaScript (buttons on the website cause actions in the viewer, or toggle layers, element visibility; therefore the viewer would need an API like the former Google Earth Plugin API).


#11

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my original post.

A few answers to some of your queries which will answer the question why I was looking for a self-hosted solution…

I first explored the idea of putting my models on the 3d Warehouse about 4 years ago and it was not a happy experience. There were intermittent but persistent problems with browsers unable to display the models. There was also a series of inane screen messages displayed as the models loaded.

So I eventually gave up and turned to the Spread3d Flash application which gave me a seamless and consistent way of displaying my models on the web without any hassle.

Today (belatedly I must admit) I have tried again with 3D Warehouse and have uploaded the model shown in my earlier post. I have had no problems, the display is every bit as good as the Spread 3D Flash implementation, and more importantly I have had no problems with seamlessly displaying the uploaded model on my website as shown HERE. This can be compared to the Spread3D implementation in my earlier post HERE.

One suggestion for improvement relates to the delay as the model loads. This can obviously take a long time (especially here in the UK where internet access can be sluggish at the best of times). Currently as the model loads a pulsating Sketchup logo is displayed which communicates nothing to the user as regards progress (if any). In comparison the Spread3D Flash player displays a progress bar which immediately shows that the model is indeed loading and also gives an indication of how much time completion of the process will take. Could a similar progress bar be implemented in the 3D Warehouse viewer?

I will definitely be using 3D Warehouse from now on and abandoning Spread3D. Thanks again for the interest shown in my post.

Tim


#12

You could try out Sketchfab (eg with my extension). They allow embedding and you can customize the model and view significantly. But that is still not self-hosting

I have been able to also self-host a Sketchup model with one of the web gl JavaScript libraries. But that requires programming.