Fix it Friday: B&O Train Station

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Did you know Sketchfab offers many tools to improve the look of your model after uploading? I’ll illustrate it here today on a 3D scan by elevatedelement that caught my eye. The scene was captured using a drone and the result is quite interesting. I was convinced though that with a few simple steps, I could drastically enhance its presentation here. I asked for his permission to use his model as an example and today I’ll take you through the process.

Let’s start with the original model that elevatedelement uploaded:

Go ahead and give it a try.

Fixing the orientation

The first thing you’ll notice is that the model is a bit hard to navigate. You’ll run in to some limits that prevent you from fully exploring it. This happens because in the world of 3D, there are different standards to define what’s ‘up’. In most cases, you can fix this using the ‘Model Orientation’ widget on the 3D settings screen:

The orientation widget

Once you start playing with these values, a grid (the ‘ground’) with three colored axes appears. The blue axis is ‘up’ – so change your view to match it. Then, select an axit and change the rotation until the model best matches the floor and up axis. Don’t worry too much about getting it exactly right.

Here’s what my model looks like after fixing the orientation:

[Model after reorienting]

Click the blue ‘Save Settings’ button before you continue.

Tip: especially with 3D scanning, scenes are sometimes off by odd angles. In these cases you may not be able to fix the orientation with our widget alone as it only allows for increments of 90 degrees. If this happens, load your model into a 3D app for more precise orientation, then re-upload to Sketchfab.

A better lighting mode

By default, Sketchfab will light your scene with three lights. If you’re scanning a model this is not necessary as the light is essentialy ‘baked’ into your model. Adding our lighting will make it look worse – darker and sometimes oddly shiny.

Select the ‘Shadeless’ shading mode from the Scene tab to disable all lighting. Here’s what the same scene looks like now. Much brighter, isn’t it?

Model in Shadeless mode

Sharpening it up

Now you may think your scan already looks pretty good, but wait until you’ve seen the next step: using a ‘camera effect’ to add a bit of sharpness to your textures. Open the camera effects pane and enable the Sharpness effect. Now play with the value until you’re satisfied – don’t go overboard as it’ll create some nasty artefacts!

The sharpness settings

My recommendation here is to lower the sharpness value until you think the model looks identical to the original. Then toggle the filter off and on to see the difference – you may be surprised!

Here’s our train station after ‘cleaning our lens’:

Sharpness applied

Save your settings.

Frame your model

First impressions are the most important of course, so now we’re going to make sure that the thumbnail image in the gallery and the initial view look great. You can do this from the 3D Properties screen, but I prefer to return to the model page – click ‘exit’ to return.

Now move, scale and rotate your model until you’re satisfied with the view. When done, click ‘Take screenshot’.

Take screenshot

Wrapping up: adding categories and tags

To wrap things up, let’s make sure other people can easily find our model. So select ‘Settings’ and then ‘Properties’ and add the relevant information. I put this model in the 3D Scanning/Outdoors category and then added some relevant tags.

Adding categories and tags

And there you have it! In just a few minutes I improved the looks of this model, made it easier to navigate, made the initial view better and finally made sure others will find it. Not bad eh?

If you have any questions just leave a comment below, or visit our Support forum – we’re always around to help.

I’d love to hear more about your experiences with these tips!


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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