Metaphysical Developer

Viewing 3D Models directly on GitHub

Posted in hacking, WebGL by Daniel Ribeiro on August 12, 2013

A few months ago GitHub launched an amazing, albeit limited, support for viewing 3D models directly on GitHub. Since obj files were not supported, and are one of the most prominent 3D files on GitHub (with over 195 thousand files listed against 22 thousand stl files) I’ve created Three-hub.

Three Hub is an open source Chrome Extension that shows the 3D models from the model files when browsing GitHub. You can install it directly from Chrome Store. The source for the extension can be grabbed here.

Currently only obj formats are supported, but support for COLLADA, glTF and other formats will be added in the future.

Here are some amazing models you can see with it already:

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WebGL breaking into the real world

Posted in WebGL by Daniel Ribeiro on April 23, 2013

A few weeks ago I attended the Khronos WebGL Meetup during GCD week. It was a pleasure to see how much amazing real companies got real work got done, many in just one year. Here are some of the highlights:

Shadertoy

A place to share and explore shaders created by many people. Kinda like Github, but for shaders.

Verold Studio

Verold is similar to Shadertoy, but for full 3D models.

Fractured: Fractal Att Studio

Amazing GPU accelerated fractal exploration tool. More on their post

Cesium

Cesium is an open source virtual globe and map engine (source on GitHub). They also have an online InstaREPL like tool.

Goo Engine

Goo engine (which showcases some pretty good demos) is both an 3D Game Engine in WebGL and a distribution mechanism.

Play Canvas

Play Canvas is also a 3D Game Engine in WebGL. Their amazing Doom 3 Gangnam-Style animation got a lot of attention recently.

Mozilla running Unreal Engine 3 on WebGL

Mozilla outdoing themselves again. After their great work with Banana Bread shooting game, they, alongside Epic Games, ported Unreal Engine 3 to WebGL. Well, WebGL and Emscripten optmized to be compiled to their also recently launched asm.js. It was announced a few days earlier, but the Mozilla team was showcasing some new impressive demos.

Moving towards more widespread adoption
At the end I got to chat with Brandon, who did some amazing work with webgl, and currently works on Google Chrome GPU team helping with WebGL development.

We talked about many things, including ASM.js which had just been announced. I also asked him what was the thing that was impeding WebGL to get more traction, and he shared his two cents: getting gigantic asset deployment is a pain. Most 3d applications have gigabytes of assets, and, comparitevely when you are downloading 2GB assets from Steam, you can go to work, leave your computer at home doing the work, come back, and you are done. Storing the assets and running these long requests on the browser is not yet as frictionless as it could be, and that adds barriers to developers going into WebGL.

Finally

If this is not enough, Florian Boesch recently wrote a great post on Why you should use WebGL

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