2017 in Review

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Wow, we can’t believe 2017 is already over! Before going on our Christmas break we’d like to share an overview of the past year here at Sketchfab – things we did, but more importantly: what YOU achieved this year. For each month, we picked a story and a model that stuck with us.

As always, THANK YOU for making this such a fabulous year.

Enjoy your holidays, relax and enjoy your friends and family! We’ll see you again in 2018 – as always, we have a few surprises waiting for you 🙂

PS: Looking for something to do during the holiday? Why not turn your New Year’s resolutions into 3D?

Featured model: Intrepid Explorer by simons.

So what happened in 2017?

We kicked off January with our strongest weekly challenge so far: 3D scanning the ‘Horn of Plenty’. It was run by community member Tom Flynn, who shortly after joined our team ?

On a more serious note, Vice illustrated their article ‘What Would Happen in the Minutes and Hours After North Korea Nuked the United States?’ with a Sketchfab model of a Korean missile which was in our top 10 most viewed models for over three months.

Often requested by 3D scanning artists, we improved our support for point clouds in February. We also worked with Porsche for many months on their new Porsche Panamera campaign.

In March we celebrated our fifth birthday. And as we were looking through our data we realised a mind-boggling 100 million people had visited Sketchfab until then! The University of Leicester in the UK posted a 3D scan of the grave of King Richard III and it made its way around publications all over the world, quickly collecting over 85,000 views.

A lot of people fell for our April fools announcement: Sketchfab Offline has Arrived! We had a lot of fun with this one, and even built a flipbook app that you could use to print out your own ‘offline’ models. Give it a try!

The most popular model in Twitter this month was ‘Mountain Range’ by VR Artist Liz Edwards:

Sketchfab joined the ‘Big3D’ partnership in May. Once complete, it will allow us to share massive 3D models online, allowing for the digital preservation of endangered cultural heritage sites around the world.

Cultural Heritage also made its way in to sci-fi this month as Michelangelo’s David was scanned for the Alien Covenant VFX team and shared on Sketchfab:

In June we introduced an important update to the visual quality of our viewer by introducing a technique known as ‘Temporal Anti-Aliasing’. The most popular model on Twitter this month was about jarsef’s Wonder Woman caricature:


July marked the start of a long list of new features. That month, we added support for sound and released an app for both iOS and Android! To top it all off, we reached 1 million members – a good month indeed!

To celebrate our sound launch, we co-produced the wonderful short Lily & Snout with Artella. Watch it in VR if you can!

In August we started supporting the new glTF file format, which is quickly becoming the standard file transfer format for 3D, AR and VR assets. This instantly made us the largest glTF repository in the world!

Curlscurly’s ‘Chameleon House’ was the most popular model on Twitter that month (tip: you can regularly see her at work on our Twitch channel – search for her videos in the archive!):

Two other long-awaited features got added in September: browsing models in Augmented Reality (AR) on Apple devices using ARKit and Sub-Surface Scattering (SSS), a new shader that simulates translucency. See SSS in action on this amazingly realistic 3D scan. Looks like we just crossed the uncanny valley!

Students told us they often use Sketchfab to study 3D models and improve their skills. With the release of the Model Inspector in October we made this a lot easier – you can now ‘inspect’ every detail of a model. Give it a try on the model below!

The same month we also launched a design contest with the good people at Mozilla – focused on producing assets for creating WebVR worlds. With close to 300 participants, this was the largest contest on Sketchfab to date! Take a look at the winners to explore their Medieval Fantasy worlds.

In November we broke through 2 million models (ok, we’ll stop obsessing on numbers after this!). We also added AR support to our Android app as Google made ARCore available. In cultural news, French RMN Grand Palais museum used Sketchfab for a digital exposition on Gauguin.

Closing off the year, we were proud to be included in the launch of Sony’s God of War, displayed prominently in ‘The Lost Pages of Norse Myth’. The model that blew our minds was the 3D model of Supercluster Galaxies, that quickly spread through the scientific world:

Well, that wraps up our year!  We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did – feel free to share your highlight and favourite models in the comments. Happy Holidays and we’ll see you again in the new year 🙂

About the author

Bart Veldhuizen

Community Lead at Sketchfab. 3D Scanning enthusiast and Blenderhead.

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