GDC 2018: Sketchfab Launches Download API, Bringing Fast 3D Model Searching To Developers

by Jamie Feltham • March 20th, 2018

3D asset company Sketchfab is looking to stay a step ahead of Google Poly with its latest release.

Today, Sketchfab is announcing the launch of its Download API, which allows users to search through the company’s vast library of user-generated 3D assets without leaving the app they’re currently working inside.

Right now, if you were to head to Sketchfab’s website, you could use the search bar at the top of the page to look for any number of 3D assets, from objects to scenes and character models. Many of these assets have been created in software that will be very familiar to creative VR users, like Google’s Tilt Brush and Blocks or Oculus Quill and Medium as well as other more traditional software such as Blender. You can then download certain assets and use them in your own apps.

Sketchfab’s Download API allows you to do all of that within game engines such as Unity and Unreal and even when working inside VR. That means you can quickly search for any kind of object you might be looking for to build a virtual world and then just pull it straight into your existing work under Creative Commons licensing. The API allows you to search via titles, tags, categories and even polygon count to find models right for your creations.

Over the past few years Sketchfab has sought to help creators monetize their assets with a Store that charges for downloads (there are, however, many free items on the platform too). As VR moves to democratize content development, it’s easy to envision would-be developers simply purchasing a bunch of assets to use in their own games and experiences without leaving the headset from which they are working inside.

Currently the API has add-ons for Unity, Unreal and Godot along with native integration with Torch3D, Minsight, Spatial Stores, Selerio, StellarX, Holobeam, AnimVR, Plattar, Sketchbox3D and Looking Glass. Partnerships with Amazon Sumerian, Substance, Modo, High Fidelity, Sansar, The Wavr VR, Masterpiece VR and Meta are also in the works.


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