Improved PBR support for Blender Cycles

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Nikon D7100 SLR Camera + Nikkor 50mm 1.8D Lens
by Paul (Sketchfab)
on Sketchfab

With our latest release, we have added basic support for Cycles materials nodes. As you can imagine, it would be extremely complex to reflect all Cycles properties here on Sketchfab – especially for node networks!

Instead of compiling and executing the entire Cycles Node Graph we have opted for a simpler approach. We use the information in Cycles material nodes to infer basic PBR textures and parameters for you. While simplifies the import process, it will still require some work on your end. Our heuristics are roughly based on names used for Nodes, Texture and Parameters names (albedo, specular, metallic, roughness, glossiness). Texture file names with postfixes like _diffuse, _abledo, _metallic, _roughness, _glossiness also help us recognize where to put things

For more complex Cycles setups (like networks that mix and modify textures etc), we recommend you bake the results before exporting to Sketchfab. Watch ‘Introduction to Baking in Cycles’ by Blender Guru for more information about this process. Also, the excellent BakeTool from the Blender Market can save you quite a bit of time.

Pay attention to the following:

  • We do not support emissive colors to do area lighting. You may want to remove such parts of your model before exporting as they can break the bounding box and camera centering. Again, if you need area lighting you should bake it into an environment maps. Here’s a great Blender model by moxstudios that uses such environment maps – zoomin and rotate to see how the light plays over the model.
  • Does your model have black parts? Usually this means that there’s an issue with your normals – they are probably inverted.

We have prepared a folder with a number of Cycles models that we got from Blend Swap and ran them through our new importer. Have a look to compare the results with the original on Blend Swap (links are provided in the model description).

If you have any questions about how this works, please leave a comment on this blogpost – we’ll keep a close eye on it!

– Bart


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