Your choices for web-based collaboration are ever-growing towers of storage, sharing and data-viewing options that are turning into quite the trend in the 3D software space. Sunglass was one of the first on the scene with viewing CAD files in the browser and the widest support for 3D file formats, 3d software plugins, cloud-based apps and an API that links it all together. Now, they have new features, a new pricing model with versioning and data-management functionality that make the plugins more useful and the entire direction of this company (and this space) even more interesting.
Models need management
Sunglass started as a 3D model viewing app with a big dream of pay-per-use web apps for prototyping, simulation, rendering and more. We’ve seen them mature over the years, growing their development team, getting funding and transforming into a platform with a lot of options for independent 3D professionals and companies alike.
While the new project backend is very basic, it does allows you to quickly create any number of Organizations, invite users to join the organziation and create any number of projects within it. The free version gets you all the viewing, versioning, check-in/out (locked/unlocked) and project functionality with the $20 (USD)/user/month version adding support and the ability to host private projects.
The viewing experience and tools are still top notch and within the viewer you also have live chatting, the ability to place comments on the 3D object, measure, adjust lighting and snag screenshots. You have to be in a project, viewing a file to gain access to upload other files. By putting file upload on the outside of projects/files and allowing multi-selection of files for check-in/check-out the platform could be made even easier to use. It needs some further fine-tuning as far as folder structure and how locked/unlocked files are displayed and delivering a model/feature tree is going to be critical for high-level collaboration.
There’s no mention of storage limits in the pricing, which is interesting in that this is the first pricing model for, what is essentially, online storage not structured around the amount of files you have or space you take up. Instead they’re focused on the service and business needs as premium options. It’s an enterprise-level outlook that’s becoming more popular within online collaboration tools, leaving users to their work instead of worrying about space constraints of a datacenter off in the middle of nowhere.
Sungalss offers plugin for SolidWorks, Rhino, Sketchup and Autodesk Inventor.