A new approach – Cubicle

In an effort to create simplest user interface for web based 3D modelling, this new idea came up about 2-3 weeks back. It is a departure from the standard interface of 3D tools.

The new approach – that I like to call Cubicle – allows the user to put together a 3D model by piling up a bunch of cubes. A user can choose the color of the cube and where to put it.

I believe this gives the most simplistic, quick and easy way to design 3D models. Of course, it limits how complicated the final model can be. But I believe as we go along more features can be added to help the user create more advanced models.


With this new approach, several new things have been tried.

  • No WebGL required. Couple weeks ago I figured that with a few hours’ work I could render 3D on 2D canvas. It is slow, but it is easy to do. After identifying a bunch of places to optimiz,e I could get it to work pretty well. So with this new approach, I am turning off WebGL backend for the time being. In future as WebGL becomes more mainstream, it will be enabled again to make use of available graphics hardware. The huge benefit of this change is, now anyone can use 3DTin from available stable browsers: Firefox 3.5+, Chromium 5, Opera 10.x, Safari 5. No need to have any beta build or to tweak settings.
  • Social sharing. You can now share your sketch with a permalink. Sharing on twitter and facebook is made even more easy, with the buttons in the bottom panel.
  • New logo. 3DTin now sports a new logo. Let me know how you like it.
  • New file format. The simplistic approach of building with cubes, gives lot of scope for minimizing the document size. So a new document format is now used. (There aren’t many sketches in old format, so I believe it won’t be a problem. You will get an error if you try to open your old sketches now.)

More to come.

  • 3DTin being a web based tool, it’s more about sharing and collaboration. In this spirit, all the documents shared on 3DTin will be displayed publicly and will be available for anyone to copy and build their own versions under Creative Commons license. Soon users will be shown a pop-up to make them aware of this policy. 
  • There will be a Gallery feature to check out all the sketches being worked on by other people.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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