Showing 3D Models to Clients

How are you walking into a prospective client’s office and showing them the 3D models? WebGL is so finicky that I would never ask the client to try a link on their computer for the first meeting. 90% chance it would not work and would ruin the first meeting. I’m not having any luck with large 3D models on my iPad.

Is there a way to download the 3D model onto a laptop and show it offline, if in the field somewhere on a construction site without a good cell or wifi connection?

Have you tried using a site like SkecthFab, or possibly even Hightail. One of the “issues” with the 3d models you get via export is they have a lot of detail, which means a lot of vertices, and that can greatly slowdown on an ipad, or slower computer. I have issues in quotes because it isn’t truly an issue it is an asset but in terms of showing to a client i would do some outside work in a 3d modeling software to decimate the mesh (it tries to keep the shape while reducing the number of verts and faces) or do some re-topology to clean it up. You could download the model via an export and than use a software of your choice to display it to customers.

Another thought would be to create a video of the model and fly-through to share with your clients so they are seeing a video of the model and not the hi resolution model itself. hope this helps!

Scott Lashmit

Thanks. My iPad will not even play the sketchfab version of this one. I have one model I’m trying to show now, but its 31 acres and the exported obj file alone is over 450 megs. I’ve tried downloading a few viewer apps to my iPad to view obj files but they all want 200 meg files or smaller. This one kills it.

Still working with it. First impressions with new clients are always very important. If I send a link and their old computer crashes from trying to play it or WebGL freaks out … I may never get called back. :frowning:

This 3D stuff is new to me. So I may have to get and learn other software to create some type of lower resolution that will work on most computers. I was hoping the DroneDeploy SketchFab links would be cross platform enough I could use it as part of a sales presentation. But that is obviously not the case.

Yeah i have a 50 acre one that came out very nice but like you have learned it is a huge file and eats up a lot of RAM when it is loaded into a program. First impressions are everything, this is where a composited video presentation showing off features, like your maps and models may be a good compromise for your first encounter, as you most likely are using something you mapped prior to this and not a job for that company. They really only need to get a sense of what you can do, what competitive advantage that can provide them, and what kind of producibles you are capable of. Then if they would like to see more you can get them a .obj file that is a bit more manageable.

Getting some base level 3d knowledge is helpful, but you could also find some 3D modelers /CAD that can do that end for you for a fee.

The developers are good at working with other API and they may be in the process of better skecthfab integration as we speak, if not sure makes a good feature request. My 3D knowledge comes directly from my experience with video games and development, luckily it is all essentially the same so the knowledge transfers nicely.

The point you bring up is a major issue for all of us attempting to use the internet for marketing. Some video sharing developers like Wistia are trying to solve these platform and data pipeline problems. I would like to see a discussion group just dedicated to ‘sharing’ issues and our various
attempts at solutions. I know there are people out there who are trying cutting edge apps. and we will solve sharing problems (that we are having while trying to inform our clients) and we all could learn from each other.

One option might be to pan and tilt your 3D image on your own computer and record that action with a video recording app . for monitor recording. Like my simplistic YouTube vid below. This then is shareable via YouTube. Another is to embed the model from Sketchfab using their embed code into a web page like here: but I don’t know if there is a size limit on my web page provider; or is it just embed code and size of the model does not matter?


I second the request for an area to share … sharing related issues, concepts and ideas. Also very nice model, well done! The embed will most likely be capped at what ever skecthfabs upload is; this might also still produce lag with a model consisting of over a million vertices. In Games where flow is essential, and asset size must be nominal you model to the lowest polygon and vert count possible to retain detail but maximize efficiency. You could actually use the same trick of making a model with the same approximate dimensions as the 3d model from DroneDeploy, than baking the high resolution into a normal map giving you the illusion of higher res detail while maintaining a minimal vertices count. This again is a more advanced 3d modeling technique so it is not a real simple solution. I would agree that especially for prospective clients a video showcasing your work is most likely the best option to show them what you can do while minimizing potential system errors that reflect poorly on you (even if it has nothing to do with you).

Your technical discussion of games is way over my head, Scott; but it sounds like it has merit. One principle I have adopted in all this ‘image sharing’ is that if it has been done in some other venue then all is required is a motivated developer to make it happen for us. The size of the pipeline for international web data transfer has to be growing as video is replacing the old ‘photo/text/web page’ internet of the 90’s-2000’s.

It’s a pity that DroneDeploy has stopped working for some of us pilots. My thread about camera fail on this forum tells the tale on that issue and the number of folks affected.

There are several possible avenues to follow in model sharing. Hangar 360 has some interesting , easy to make spherical images but is not yet enabled for Android which is what I’m using. I’m looking to alternative image making and then searching YouTube for examples to see how the sharing is done. Search terms like: “3D model hosting” may yield some clues. I would think Google with all its cloud storage and completion with Facebook should be producing some kind of hosting/sharing system.

All the best,

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Coming soon: Mesh repair for 3D printing

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