For some time already, we were searching for a way to publish our 3D models online, instead of using 2D video’s. We believe that the ability to interact with the 3D model would increase the viewers experience, and the understanding of the archaeology. Sketchfab might be an interesting solution here. It is an online service that allows uploading and sharing of 3D content. Using sketchfab, it is also possible to embed 3D models on social media, like Facebook. In the next months we will further experiment with this (and other) service(s) to publish our 3D models online on a regular base.
To be able to upload the 3D models, the amount of faces in the 3D meshes are decimated to 200.000, in order to reduce the file to an acceptable size. 200.000 is also the maximum amount of faces allowed when incorporating a 3D model in a pdf file. The texture is limited to 4.096 x 4.096. This means that the face count and texture resolution are only a fraction of what’s available in the original models, but the reduction is necessary to be able to upload the models.
- Firefox: Supported and enabled by default in 4.0 and newer versions (you might need an upgrade).
- Chrome: supported as of Chrome 9, and enabled by default.
- Safari: disabled by default, have a look here on how to enable it.
- Internet Explorer: only partially supported, not recommended.
The first 3D models shows construction works. The model was not made for research/scientific purposes, but it was only done as an experiment. The context is comparable to an archaeological excavation. Now, we are also using it as a first experiment for online visualisation of our 3D models.