Image: Divesh Naidoo / 3D Scanstore
Meta Quest 3 desperately needs an app that lets you admire highly detailed Sketchfab 3D models in mixed reality.
Sketchfab is the largest 3D model library in the world, with over 5 million high-quality 3D models (as of December 2022), and one in five available for free download. From fantasy creations to highly detailed 3D scans to objects of cultural, educational or scientific value, Sketchfab is a fascinating platform that has something for everyone and invites you to explore for hours on end.
Until now, the visual impact of these 3D models was largely limited to screens. With the advent of mixed reality headsets, you could see them in stereoscopic 3D inside your living room. I’m thinking of devices like Meta Quest 3 and the upcoming Apple Vision Pro.
This is what the future could look like
The idea came to me when I recently saw the following example of a high-resolution AR model in a living room. It’s from startup Simulon, which is working on a VFX app for iOS devices that allows users to place digital objects in real-world settings and render them with accurate lighting and shadows.
To showcase @Simulon‘s capability with high-fidelity assets and to highlight the difference between what you see in real-time AR versus the precision of offline cloud rendering, we’ve made a video using a detailed human scan by @Ten_24.
Our workflow was designed to closely… pic.twitter.com/3ATHFzfNc9
– Divesh Naidoo (@diveshnaidoo) October 11, 2023
The Twitter example visualizes the difference between the augmented reality preview of the app and subsequent offline cloud rendering for the final scene. Meta Quest 3 might not be able to achieve this high level of detail, but even at the AR preview level, viewing such 3D models would be fascinating enough. And the technology is getting better all the time.
Figmin XR lets you view Sketchfab models
For a taste of what’s to come, check out Figmin XR, a Meta Quest app that lets you log into Sketchfab and bring 3D models into your living room.
Unfortunately, the Sketchfab integration is pretty basic: logging in is awkward, the search function is limited, and many 3D models don’t load at all or load incorrectly because the polygon count is too high for Meta Quest 2. I haven’t had a chance to try Figmin XR with Meta Quest 3 yet, as the headset is still on its way to me. But if you want to give it a try, check it out in the Meta Quest Store.
A mixed reality app optimized exclusively for Sketchfab would work wonders and keep users interested for hours. After all, Sketchfab is truly a hodgepodge of human creativity. And what better way to show off detailed 3D models than in a headset?
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