Sheen Materials, Alpha Mask Channel & UV Transforms!

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We’re excited to announce several new features for our 3D Viewer: sheen materials, a dedicated alpha mask channel, and UV texture transformations. These options are available on all plans, including the free Basic plan.

Sheen materials

Model by Domenico D’Alisa, used with permission

The Sheen channel simulates the way light interacts with lots of small threads, which absorb and scatter colors. This new feature allows for the simulation of fabric materials like velvet, which is notable for its distinct play of light.

You can control the sheen color, intensity, and roughness. The last two can be set to a texture map for further detail control.

We’d love to see how you use this feature, so tag your models with #sheen when you use it!

Dedicated alpha mask channel

Masking is no longer part of the Opacity channel—it now has its own channel. This means that you can now combine masking with other opacity modes. For example, you can emulate Transmission effects such as reflections on semi-transparent surfaces while also masking parts of the material:

Model based on “Broken Window 06” by Game Ready Art – licensed under CC-BY.

As seen in the example above, using the “Blending” transparency mode is not the most effective and realistic way to render transparent glass surfaces—it results in an unrealistic “veiled” look. A common way to use refraction and masking together on Sketchfab is to set the metalness of the glass to 1. This is not physically accurate and may not render as expected in different lighting environments.

The proper way to render glass is to use “Refraction” transparency. For this broken window example, however, some parts of the surface are totally transparent, a look that cannot be achieved without blending or masking. The new separate alpha masking channel allows for masking in combination with refraction, providing for better control over the transparency where the window glass is intact.

Note also that refraction in combination with roughness creates an appearance of fuzzy refraction on the window, which is not achievable with blending.

Texture transformations

Featured model: Shirt by eigenscene

Each texture in the 3D Editor now has settings for UV scale, rotation, and offset, allowing you to easily set up repetitive patterns on your models. This option was already available through the viewer API, but now everyone can easily tweak UVs in the 3D Editor.

UV transforms can also be imported and exported directly via glTF and GLB file formats.

Note: these texture transforms can’t be animated through the 3D Editor. If you need this effect, it can be achieved via our Viewer API.

About the author


Bart Veldhuizen

Head of Community at Sketchfab. 3D Scanning enthusiast and Blenderhead. Running BlenderNation in my spare time.


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