As part of Facebook’s goal to make the camera its core augmented reality platform, the social media giant today announced that it is partnering with Sketchfab to bring more 3D models to AR Studio, its desktop app that developers can use to create AR content.
In an email to VentureBeat, Sketchfab cofounder and CEO Alban Denoyel said that Facebook will be integrating Sketchfab’s download API into AR Studio. Sketchfab is a platform that allows users to upload and share their AR, VR, and 3D creations. Introduced in March, Sketchfab’s download API gives developers access to more than 150,000 3D models available under Creative Commons licensing. With the integration with Facebook, developers will be able to search for models directly in AR Studio and drag them into projects.
The announcement was as part of F8, Facebook’s annual conference for developers, which is being held today in San Jose, California.
Denoyel said that AR Studio will be the first integration at scale for Sketchfab’s download API. Sketchfab has integrated its download API with startups like Torch 3D, an AR and VR prototyping platform led by Magic Leap alumni.
“Having Sketchfab integrated on both the upload and download sides makes our platform a central piece of the 3D/VR/AR ecosystem. Partnering with Facebook is an important milestone on our path to make our download API an industry standard,” Denoyel said in the email.
After limiting AR Studio to about 2,000 developers in a closed beta following last year’s F8 conference, Facebook opened it up to all developers in December. Currently, AR Studio is only available on Mac, but a companion app, AR Studio Player, allows developers to preview what they build on iOS and Android.
In the attempt to attract developers to use its AR development tool, Facebook competes with Snap, which first introduced AR filters to users in 2015 through Snapchat Lenses. Snap has since rolled out its own desktop app, called Lens Studio, which allows developers to create their own Lenses. Apple and Google have also introduced ARKit and ARCore, respectively, to let developers create their own AR apps for iPhones and Androids.
Facebook also announced today at F8 that it is bringing augmented reality to Messenger Bots.