Augmented reality (AR) allows you to view 3D models in the real world using your mobile device's camera. There are several different ways to enter AR mode on Sketchfab.
Viewing Sketchfab models in AR
There are currently three workflows to viewing Sketchfab models in AR:
- All models are available in AR through the Sketchfab mobile app on both iOS and Android.
- Downloadable models can be viewed directly in "native" AR by downloading the USDZ versions of the model. This is currently only available on iOS.
- Enterprise customers can enable app-free "native" AR mode on any model for both iOS and Android.
How do I view models in AR with the mobile app?
Please visit Using the Sketchfab mobile app for details.
How do I view public USDZ files in AR?
Go to the model page of a downloadable model.
Scroll down and tap Download 3D Model.
Tap Download next to "Augmented Reality Format (USDZ)". This opens a link to the USDZ file, which will load in Apple Quick Look.
Tap the AR icon.
Then, follow the instructions on-screen to place the model in AR. Once it's placed, you can pinch with two fingers to scale and swipe with one finger to move the model.
How do I view my own models in AR?
Pro members and above have the ability to download all their own models, even if they are not publicly available for download. This means that on iOS, all your models can be viewed in AR, but the download button is in a slightly different location.
Scroll down the model page, and tap Edit Properties.
Scroll down and tap Download next to "USDZ (Converted AR format)". Then, follow the same steps as above.
How do I change the default scale of the 3D model in AR?
To define the default scale of a model when it's loaded in AR, use the VR "World Scale" tools in 3D Settings. Each time you change this setting and click Save Settings in the top-right corner, the glTF and USDZ file must be regenerated at that scale. This can take a few minutes.
Why is USDZ not available or does not look as expected?
USDZ and Apple Quick Look have some limitations that are important to keep in mind:
- Point Clouds are not supported, and will not be available in USDZ.
- Quick Look does not have a Shadeless mode, so 3D scans and other models set to Shadeless may look darker than expected.
- Vertex Colors are not supported, so models that depend on Vertex Colors will not look correct.
- Morph animations are not supported, and only one animation track is supported.
- Double sided rendering is not supported, so all models are rendered single sided. This is not an issue for models that are closed volumes, but it will not work well when models have planes or faces that can be visible from both sides.
- Performance considerations
- Textures: models with large textures or many textures will not load. Downsizing textures may make them work, but the actual limitation is unknown for now. Apple recommends textures no bigger than 2048×2048 pixels for best performance.
- Vertex/Polygon count: some models cannot be loaded because they have too many vertices/faces. The limit is not clearly defined yet, but 500k seems to be a good rule of thumb. Apple recommends no more than 100k for the best performance.
- Animation: Apple recommends animations no longer than 10 seconds.
Additionally, all USDZ files on Sketchfab are generated from the glTF files we generate. If the glTF file failed to generate for some reason, the USDZ will also not be available.
How do I enable app-free AR?
We plan to open this feature to more customers in the future.
How do I view app-free AR models?
If a model has "Allow AR" enabled by its owner, just click or tap the [AR] button visible in the viewer:
On desktop machines, a link and QR code will appear to open the model on your mobile device. For supported mobile devices, the model will open in AR mode directly (USDZ with AR Quick Look on iOS and glTF viewer on Android).
What devices support native app-free AR?
Viewing models natively on mobile devices requires relatively recent hardware and software.
- iOS: iPhone 7 and newer or iPad 5 and newer, running iOS 12+
- Android: Devices with ARCore 1.9 support on Android 8+
How do I manage app-free AR in embeds?
If you have allowed AR on a model, the AR button will be visible in the embedded 3D viewer by default. If necessary, you can hide it with the ui_ar embed parameter. Keep in mind that you can control each button in the embed interface individually. For example, if you wanted to hide every button, menu, and UI element, but keep AR, fullscreen, and the 3D "hint", your embed URL could look like this:
Here's the embedded result:
For more information about embedding models and using embed URL parameters, see Embedding your models.