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Three.js Interview: Online 3D Modeling and Rendering With Clara.io (learningthreejs.com)
36 points by bhouston 1232 days ago | hide | past | web | 14 comments | favorite

tl;dw - "Google Docs for 3D models", Web-based 3D modeling app/service with concurrent editing and lots of nice features. Uses Three.js internally but also good for producing assets for Three.js apps.

I hope this also advances Three.js for content production, and helps tilt the scale in the open web apps/libs direction (vs insulated Unity+emscripten and Unreal+emscripten blobs).

Nice summary. Thanks!

It does both 3D modeling and rendering.

Feature summary on landing page: http://Clara.io

Example scenes: http://Clara.io/library

User base: +50,000

Status: Pre-release, open beta started in November 2013

Funding: Self-funded with one angel (former Autodesk SVP in charge of Maya, 3DS Max, Softimage -- desktop equivalents.)

Really solid work, I was surprised to see how complete this is, especially compared to Blender. I need to render some scenes soon, importing existing OBJ's and adding new materials. I was going to be using Blender, I'll first give clara.io a try!

One question, sent a ticket already but wouldn't mind an HN bump... I couldn't get 'Render > Render Current Pass' menu option to show? Kinda miss that big green "render now" button.

Thanks for the positive feedback. We are pushing really hard on the features and also performance right now.

Sorry about the missing menu. We will have that menu back in the next week. :) Rendering options are still in flux as we technically haven't officially released that feature -- we've just soft launched it in a tentative state.

Right now you render via "Live Render > Fast Preview" in the viewport menu. Full information here:


Impressive work!

I'd love to see Google Doc's revision history applied here so I don't have to worry so much about losing my work.

As a coder who does 3d modeling, I've always been irked by the lack of version control in the modeling world (Airplane_013a.mel - what was in this file?). Git worked ok and github is doing some interesting stuff with STL file previews but it's still very disruptive to the creative flow. Again I'm super impressed and this is just a suggestion that might bring us 3d modelers out of the dark ages of file management.

> I'd love to see Google Doc's revision history applied here so I don't have to worry so much about losing my work.

We store all changes as diffs. :)


Technically we can restore any version of the file that you want or tag revisions (like you can tag code revisions in Git.) We have not yet exposed this in the UI though.

Fantastic! I did a quick one over of the docs but didn't think to look there.

If there's anyone from Exocortex here -- I'm extremely interested in the diff based versioning system you guys have incorporated. Was it done entirely in-house or is it based on any existing tools?

Amazing work.

I'm here. :) It is a fully custom system. Ping me at ben@exocortex.com if you want to chat more.

I can't find any details about prices? All I could find was that it is freemium.

We do not yet have prices. We have designed this to be a low cost service though.

are modeling features like boolean operations calculated on server or client?

Most operations are client side so you can model very quickly and the server catches up even if you are on slow connections.

Right now Boolean operations are also client side, this allows for things like this animated Boolean scene (press play):


We may be introduce server side Boolean operations that are more robust, but less flexible. There is a limit to the complexity of the code we can run client side and the best Boolean algorithms are actually really complex/costly and thus hard to easily execute in the client.

I know that boolean operations are cpu-intensive. I dealt with CAD modeling and especially with NURBS surfaces in the past. Therefore I asked.

I think of building an Html interface for opencascade.

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