Saturday, April 1st, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

D3CRYPT3D aims to protect your 3D models from piracy

Originally posted on 10 November 2016. See this story for a more recent update.

New startup Padeca has released D3CRYPT3D, a new asset encryption and tracking tool intended to cut down piracy of 3D models: for example, unauthorised reselling on online marketplaces.

The technology prevents models from being used within 3D software without an access key provided by their creator, and shows the creator when a model has been unencrypted, and by whom.

The software is currently in beta, and can be tested for free.

Encrypt 3D models to US government standards
D3CRYPT3D encrypts digital assets via AES 256-bit cryptography – also used by the US government for confidential data – using SHA-2 hashing to create a unique identifier for the asset.

The identifier remains with the asset in encrypted form after it is distributed, directing requests to unlock the file to its original creator, and making it possible to track down the source of any leaks.

So how does D3CRYPT3D work?
D3CRYPT3D uses a drag-and-drop workflow similar to file-compression software, shown in the video above.

Unlike with simple zipping-and-password-protection, no compression algorithm is applied, meaning that the asset can be opened in its native application in its encrypted state.

Rather than displaying the actual asset, the 3D software displays a placeholder model, prompting the recipient to contact its creator and request the access key.

The recipient can then unprotect the model by loading it in the D3CRYPT3D software and entering the key, after which it can be used normally in the 3D application.

However, the original encrypted identifier remains associated with the model, ensuring that the recipient cannot simply share the unprotected version – or at least, not do so without consequences.

The original creator can use the software to view a list of times that a model has been encrypted or unencrypted, along with the identity of the person responsible.

Currently only works with OBJs, but evolving fast
D3CRYPT3D is currently in beta, and Padeca has been active on community forums this week calling for artists to provide feedback on the early release.

The initial beta only works with OBJ files, but Padeca says that for the next iteration, it plans to “integrate with several 3D software programs as a plugin and control permissions … from inside the programs.”

While the initial beta can identify the source of a leak, but not prevent it, in the next iteration, “without the plugin, you will not be able to unencrypt the file. After the file is unencrypted, what you can and can’t do with the file will be controlled based on the permissions granted by the owner.”

The firm also plans to introduce multilayered encryption, meaning that information will be required from “multiple separate cloud-based servers in order to properly unencrypt the file”.

Updated 18 February 2017: Since this story was originally published, we’ve been in touch with Padeca, who provided more information about their product roadmap for D3CRYPT3D.

The firm tells us that it initially plans to support Maya and ZBrush, with “many of the more popular packages to follow in quick succession”.

As well as OBJs, it plans to support the STL file format used in 3D printing, although it has done tests on “all file types” and plans on “releasing support for other file formats”.

D3CRYPT3D has also been selected as one of the five finalists in the Privacy & Security category of the SXSW 2017 Interactive Innovation Awards.

Pricing and availability
D3CRYPT3D is currently in beta, and is available as a free Windows-only download from the product website. Padeca hasn’t announced any pricing details, although it tells us that it plans to use a ‘freemium’ model.

Read more about D3CRYPT3D on the product website
(Includes download link for the beta)