In a not too distant future, you’ll absorb your coffee through the air, control your home thermostat with third eyelash from your left eye and sculpt crazy alien faces in your browser. Actually, that last one is already here. It has been for some time as a open source port of a school project by Stephane Ginier called SculptGL. The crew at SketchFab thought it the perfect compliment to their web-based interactive 3D model viewer, so they set forth to create SculptGL + SketchFab. SculptFab was birthed with an improved UI and direct publish to SketchFab.

Sculpting in your browser

If you switch screens back and forth between SculptGL and SculptFab, you’ll see it’s basically a re-skinning of SculptGL, but the UI improvements are indeed improvements with a fancy menu bar and color picker over the limited number of shaders in SculptGL. SculptGL does allow you to export to SketchFab already (with an API key), but SketchFab’s implementation makes it a two-click and set for getting your model into embeddable view mode stat. How do you apply textures? Well, that’s another story, but with .obj export you can pop that sculpt into Blender or ZBrush and go to work. Here’s a 43 minute tutorial that shows just what you can do with a few sculpting tools and some topology options in a web browser.

Convinced this is the future of 3D geometry development on the web? Highly detailed, parametric design may seem a far leap from sculpting a chunk of low-poly geometry, but with similar tools to ease the pushing, pulling and placement of NURBS geometry (or a mix of SubD and NURBS), that leap may not be too far. Oh and speaking of leaps, SketchFab also announce the news during Siggraph that they support the new Leap Motion controller. This makes SketchFab the first 3D modeling related software to announce support for the device, although I know for a fact that it’s not the only one who has support in development. Try it out with a sculpted alien head or the model of the Leap Motion controller from SketchFab.

Author

Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.