The community members are happy to have a marketplace to sell their models despite Sketchfab taking 30% cut from their model sale.
Sketchfab, the largest 3D model platform, has launched Sketchfab store in Beta to help users buy and sell 3D models for their AR, VR, and 3D projects.
Sketchfab went live in 2012 making its 3D content available online for free. Anyone was able to publish interactive 3D content online using a WebGL compatible browser.
In 2014, Sketchfab introduced free download feature, enabling users to download 3D models for free under Creative Commons license. According to CEO Alban Denoyel, the site records 200,000 downloads each month, 2.5 million downloads in total. Currently, Sketchfab website claims to host over 2 million 3D models, viewed by over 150 million people.
Once a web-only platform, Sketchfab has grown to host 3D content on web, mobile, AR, and VR. Its user community has over one million creators.
In an endeavor to spread its content outside of the platform and provide monetary benefits to its members, Sketchfab has launched the Sketchfab Store in Beta. The store offers paid download feature. Users can access a range of content from the huge library. Eighteen categories of content include: architecture, cars & vehicles, characters & creatures, nature & plants, etc. The price of the models can range from $1 to $500+. However, currently $399 is the price of costliest model available in the store.
A buyer can view all the technical information of the model before buying. A browser-based 3D player and model inspector fulfill the criterion of “what you see is what you get.” You can view and explore the details about a model’s geometry, topology, materials, and texture. An informed decision makes happy customer, but be thoughtful and sure about your purchase before hitting the checkout button, as Sketchfab does not offer refunds for store purchases for any reason. The model can be downloaded in glTF format, in addition to the original file format. GL Transmission Format (glTF) files are compatible with gaming engines like Unity and Unreal. While a Unity importer is already available, Unreal importer is in the making.
The store is enabling creators to sell their models in the store, but Sketchfab says they carefully select sellers after reviewing their portfolios and making sure they meet the criteria of quality work and fair pricing. It might explain why only 4000 models are available for purchase in the beginning. An approved seller can link their PayPal account to Sketchfab account. Sketchfab is keeping 30% of the model sale in lieu of hosting a creator’s model on its site.
As the store is in its Beta, it lacks features like ratings, a cart, download API, etc. Sketchfab pledges to work on updating the site to improve user experience over time. Apparently, suggestions by community members are pouring in the comments section and Sketchfab executives are happy to note them down. There are complaints from some sellers about a 30% cut from model sale, and a hosting fee. There are other stores that charge less commission (e.g., cgtrader) or on a pay-per-design basis (e.g., pinshape). But, Sketchfab is trying to distinguish itself on the basis of its well-curated library of models that ensures a creator’s work is easy to find, alongside similar quality work. Also being well-received by its huge community and support for AR and VR create a competitive edge.