You know, lately, it’s like the internet got all kinds of excited and threw up 3D all across your web browser. It’s actually quite a few companies who are tickling the tummy of the web, causing all sorts of sites and ideas about how we can view and interact with 3D within the browser. Most of that happens behind the scenes though, with developers hard at work wrestling bits of javascript and open language variations to provide a unique viewing experience. A lot of it stops at viewing–interacting via touch or annotating with a mouse and keyboard. So, what if you could create and deliver your own collaborative, web-based workspace? Well, Fabric Engine is making that easier to do.

Fabric Engine Creation platform

You’re probably wondering how this can relate to you, as an engineer or designer, in the daily fray of creating models and drawings. Well, while Fabric Engine is largely focused on 3D animation and VFX, the platform is a general graphics platform that can be used by anyone. They also see use for the platform in design, engineering, archviz as well as Construction/GIS. CAD companies that are on the beta joined for the newly introduced SSR (server side rendering) feature. Here’s a video showing you what that is.

In that demo, they are running an instance of Creation on a server, and then allowing multiple connections to that instance, generating a jpeg for each frame which is then sent to the client. Currently, the image resolution and maximum frame rate is capped, but could be higher, particularly for LAN scenarios. We asked Paul Doyle, CEO of Fabric Engine, what this means for design and engineering companies.

The SSR work is really targeted at generic 3D use cases. It has broad functionality and can be extended to support other data types and even rendering types. Our view is that a lot of companies want the capability of web-based review and collaboration, but they don’t want to buy that as a service for a few reasons. Primarily it is the workflow, and the ability to construct bespoke workflows and pipelines quickly, in a distributed manner and with collaborative results that is what many companies want – and that means selling them the platform outright, rather than trying to sell them SaaS.

So, Creation Platform is giving you the ability to define your own workflows by creating your own collaborative, web-based workspaces, on your own servers.


To be clear, this is a development platform, not a service. Creation Platform is currently in closed beta with a paid beta starting this October 2012. Creation Platform costs $3,000 per instance – an individual user (when using Creation as a desktop application framework) or multiple connections for SSR. You can also rent the platform for $1000/year (with a monthly model coming in 2013.) Non-commercial licenses can be bought for $100/seat/year. Additionally, one free license of Creation is available to individuals, and two free licenses to companies/institutions.

I can’t help but see this pricing model as a good example of future models for design and engineering software. Education pricing has been more of the focus for the CAD software companies, with some expanding lower pricing to the unemployed, but a ‘non-commercial’ license opens it up to a wider range of people who want to learn the platform. Simple and effective move there that models a lot of web-based software.

What I wonder is this. With web-based visuals and collaboration all the rage, is a platform you have complete control to develop your own applications an attractive product or would you rather use one of the other run-and-gun 3D viewing/collaboration solutions?


Josh is founder and editor at, 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.