— Ton Roosendaal (@tonroosendaal) March 24, 2014
You may not have noticed, but Blender 2.70 comes bundled with a plugin to upload your model to Sketchfab - it is in fact the first add-on to follow the Blender Foundation's rules on commercial add-ons. I had a chat with Sketchfab Founder and CEO Alban Denoyel about this project and about the role of Blender in their community.
Sketchfab embeds 3D files straight in your webpages - see the model above.
Congratulations on being the first 'Commercial' Blender add-on! Can you tell me a bit about why you created this add-on?
Thanks Bart! The initial version of our Blender add-on was created by Bart Crouch after a suggestion of Julio, one of our early adopters, who was looking for a way to ease his workflow from Blender to Sketchfab. Our vision at Sketchfab is to shorten the path from the tools to the web, so it was a great way to do it.
2. How long did it take you to create it and get it bundled with Blender?
The add-on in itself is a rather simple script, which we improved based on Bart's first version. What we added at the same time as the add-on is native support for blender files, which was a bit more time consuming :) Having an add-on is great, but people need to install it, which ads friction. That's why it was so important for us to get it bundled with Blender. Getting there took a bunch of discussions with Ton, and we are very excited to finally be there.
3. How important is the Blender community to Sketchfab?
Blender users were our initial power users, part of it thanks to an article on BN in March 2012 which caused our servers to crash for the first time, the famous BN effect :) Today, the Blender community is still a major piece of the Sketchfab ecosystem: more than 20% of files uploaded to Sketchfab are .blend files, and we are integrated with a lot of Blender communities: BlenderArtists, BlenderNetwork, Blendswap...
4. Is Sketchfab supporting the BlenderFoundation financially?
Definitely! We are now one of the 4 Diamond Sponsors, and also just sponsored the gooseberry project.
To enable the Sketchfab add-on, go to the addons tabs in the preferences screen, search for 'Sketchfab' and check the box to the right. To have Blender remember this change, click the 'Save User Settings button'. Enjoy!
Full disclosure: I'm currently helping Sketchfab further develop their community. If you need a freelance community manager too and you have a cool company, get in touch!