Sketchfab now supports refraction

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We’ve had a lot of exciting news at Sketchfab recently with the launch of our store, but that shouldn’t overshadow that we remain committed to providing the very best web-based real-time renderer on the planet.

Today we’ve made yet another small but significant step forward to help artists show their work in the best possible light by adding support for refraction.

Hopefully you’ll remember from science class that refraction is the physical phenomenon of the oblique deflection of light as it enters and exits transmissive materials such a glass or water. In fact it can lead to some really interesting visual tricks:

Shared under Creative Commons license, thanks to JrPol from Wikipedia.

Shared under Creative Commons license, thanks to Mhdmzml from Wikipedia.

Check out how it works in our player with the magnifying glass distorting the view in this example by Chris Bird:

And for comparison, here’s the same model, without refraction.

Here are some more great examples to inspire you to try out the new feature:

The new option for refraction can be found in the 3D settings editor in the materials tab under the opacity roll-out and there’s an option to adjust the Index of Refraction (IOR) for different materials. For more information on using refraction with your model, consult our help center.

Now let’s see what you have to share! If you upload a new model, or update an existing one with refraction, be sure to tag it #refraction and we’ll share and promote our favorite work in the coming weeks.

About the author

Paul Chambers

Paul Chambers

Artist Evangelist & Community outreach at Sketchfab, freelance CG Generalist, render-farm tinkerer. Zelda worshipper.


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