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Sketchfab launches its own online 3D model store

Thursday, January 18th, 2018 | Posted by Jim Thacker

 
Popular online 3D model publishing service Sketchfab has launched its own built-in store.

The service, which is still in beta, enables Sketchfab users to sell models that they have previously uploaded to the site – potentially making Sketchfab one of the biggest online content marketplaces of the future.

An existing library of over two million 3D models
Since its foundation in 2012, Sketchfab has grown to become one of the world’s largest online repositories of 3D content, hosting over two million files created by 1.3 million registered users.

Although most people use the site, which displays 3D models interactively in a standard web browser, as an online portfolio service, it is possible to make files available to download under a Creative Commons licence.

Today’s announcement enables users to monetise that process, with the option to make models uploaded to Sketchfab available for sale.

Building on existing strengths, though still very much a work in progress
Although the store is still in a pretty rudimentary state – it currently lacks either a star rating system or a shopping cart, and only accepts payments via PayPal – it’s easy to see the potential.

For a start, users benefit from the existing strengths of Sketchfab: the ability to display a model interactively in 3D in a standard web browser, and to play any animations associated with it.

The site also generates a good range of stats automatically – the geometry count of a model, the number of associated textures, whether the asset is UV mapped or has PBR materials, and so on.

It also now automatically converts each file uploaded to it into glTF format, which should mean that assets render consistently in Unity – for which there is a free importer – and Unreal Engine.

Sellers make 70% royalties on each sale, minus PayPal fees
Sketchfab charges 30% commission on sales, on top of which, sellers will have to pay PayPal fees.

That’s reasonably competitive: it’s the same base rate as CGTrader, and better than that of Turbo Squid, although unlike those sites, established sellers don’t get preferential rates.

Sketchfab is also manually vetting new sellers for the quality of their content and accuracy of their product descriptions, although it tells us that it plans to relax this restriction when the beta period is over.

One of the world’s largest online content marketplaces of the future?
The move looks set to make Sketchfab one of the biggest online marketplaces for 3D content.

Although selling a model you previously uploaded takes a bit of effort – if you did so before 15 November 2017, you need to reprocess the file – Sketchfab has a massive repository of content to trade on.

Even if its users monetise just 40% of their existing files, that would be sufficient to make Sketchfab the world’s largest library of commercial content: big news, if you create stock 3D models for a living.

 
Read Sketchfab’s blog post announcing its new model store

Read the company’s online FAQs about selling your 3D models through Sketchfab

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