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Blend4Web, an Interactive 3D Viewer

20

Moscow-based Blend4web is not just a WebGL viewer - it exports entire Blender scenes complete with animation and interactive controls to HTML! Our new guest author Chris Plush took it for a spin.

Here's a great 3D viewer called Blend4web. Similar to Sketchfab this viewer allows you to view your 3d models through your web browser without installing a plug-in. While it doesn't have the default user-friendly viewing options like shading and wireframe that Sketchfab has, it doesn't require you to upload your model to a website. Instead you're able to export to a single html file which contains all of the scene's information and can be uploaded and shared however you like.

For basic 3d viewing purposes the add-on is extremely simple to use. All you have to do is install and enable the add-on in the user preferences and this will enable new export options in the file menu(html or json). Now just simply export your scene and you're finished! For advanced customization it also generates a lot of new options throughout Blender. Interesting visual options that jump out at me right away were things like screen space ambient occlusion(SSAO), reflections, refractions, motion blur, and bloom just to name a couple! It also supports animation, audio, nodes, and even particle systems.

With a little extra effort you can even use this viewer as a game player. By assigning physics properties and then doing a little Java scripting for the game logic, you'll be able to convert your 3d scene into an interactive environment. You can find a handful of tutorials on creating interactive controls, as well as other fun tutorials on their website.

This add-on looks very well developed and is a lot of fun to play around with. There's great tutorials for it and fairly extensive documentation, not to mention awesome demonstrations on their site. If you have any interest in sharing your 3D models using a web viewer, I would definitely give this one a try.

About Author

Chris Plush

Chris Plush is a lead trainer and co-founder of the Blender training website CG Masters. Chris has been working with Blender for over 15 years. Chris loves making Blender tutorials. Chris often refers to himself in the third person in biographies.

20 Comments

  1. Finally a good way to showcase real-time blender creations on the web. Burster was getting outdated anyway. by the way why haven't heard much talk about blender and crystal space? Its possibly the best open source game engine that is within grasp of blender support and not many have taken an interest in it (I couldn't successfully compile the latest binaries on windows, but looked through the demo's and source files and it appears to be fully featured)

    • It doesn't support logic bricks like Burster does though. Hopefully one day, that would be awesome. And Crystal Space is dead in the water. We tried using it for the open project Yo Frankie but ended up switching to the BGE in the last couple months trying to salvage the project. Granted this was years ago, but I haven't seen much improvement. There are plenty of features, but no functionality. It's a coder's playground, not a viable game engine.

      • Chris, do you have ideas about how Blend4Web could support logic bricks or may be you'd proposed some other ways to do user-friendly interactivity in Blender/Blend4Web?

        • I'm actually not a programmer so I couldn't really offer any suggestions on working logic bricks into the code, sorry. I wish I could because that would be amazing.

  2. Thanks, Chris, for the great and friendly review! Actually Blend4Web features both shading setup and wireframe mode. These options can be accessed via Scene Viewer of the Blend4Web SDK, for example. We can embed them into Web Player as well if we'll see the desire from the community.

  3. Woah that's amazing stuff!!!! I wonder if it could work for a project I have coming up?

    Because I work for a university as a 3d artist and a job has come up for an academic who wants to have a interactive diagram that runs on a browser on all devices (does it run on iPad's? I gave it a go and it didn't run)

    The diagram is of a river bank with a formula that can be adjusted with sliders to calculate the river's area, steepness, vegetation population, etc like below... (where the bottom river shows a change in steepness and added vegetation)

    http://twistedpancreas.com/3d/test/diagram.jpg

    The question is do you think I could do this in blender somehow either with the game engine or drivers, so that sliders could change not only numerals but also the look of the river diagram?

    I have pretty much zero experience with the game engine (but years with anything else to do with Blender) and before trying anything out wanted to know if it was possible to do something like this?

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