Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Interactive 3D models on Facebook

The most popular social network - Facebook - started to support publishing of live, interactive 3D content directly in "wall" posts in user profiles and company pages. This new function has currently a number of limitations, but it generally allows to publish simpler 3D models to explore in desktop and mobile Facebook clients, including virtual reality (VR/AR).

an example on CAD Studio's FB page - www.facebook.com

Facebook uses a simplified format glTF 2.0 (developed and maintained by the Khronos Group) to display 3D content - see glTF (.glb; .gltf). This format can be saved from a number of software applications, but professional CAD tools currently do not support it. That's why you need to employ conversions to publish CAD models to Facebook - the best way is over the Autodesk FBX format, or over one of the mesh formats, e.g. OBJ or STL. The easiest method for publishing 3D models from AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Fusion 360, or Revit is the export to FBX or STL and subsequent conversion to a .glb file using the embedded application Paint 3D available in Windows 10.

To place a GLB file (model) to your post on Facebook, just mouse-drag the file to the new post window (editor) and optionally adjust the background color for the displayed model. You will need to use a web browser supporting WebGL, e.g. Chrome or Firefox (or Android FB-client). The maximum size of your GLB file is limited to 3MB, so you cannot publish more complex models (and any typical model from the BIM application Revit will hardly go through). Model textures should be in JPG, up to 2k. Any reader then can freely rotate and explore the published model. You can also publish your glTF models in VR Spaces.

To convert CAD models to glTF, you can use the methods offered in our CAD-formats-conversions wizard (see convert to glTF), or one of specialized tools (mostly open-source beta versions) - examples:

Live sample (FB, not in MSIE):

Got an interesting CAD 3D model published on your Facebook? Make yourself heard and send it also to our CAD Studio FB page.

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