So it seems like software developers have all the cool toys—and they are really good at sharing. Design software on the other hand, can be a little clunky and, as anyone who has tried to share a rhino file with a classmate can tell you, it can be difficult to directly collaborate in most 3D modeling software.
Enter Sunglass a collaboration tool you can use in conjunction with most 3D modeling software to share, review and access your (and your coworkers) files from anywhere. Sunglass stores all of your 3D files in the cloud allowing both private and public access through the open API. Their tag "Think GitHub for 3D" is a powerful statement for those familiar with the web-based hosting service for software development projects. Sunglass has quite a buzz in the start-up realm, but designers are the ones who will really benefit from the browser-based software.
Revisions are logged and can be seen by any of the contributors
MIT-educated founders Kaustuv DeBiswas and Nitin Rao developed the platform for sharing and syncing of 3D model files over the could allowing access sharing for clients, coworkers and contractors all over the world. As design studios spread further across the globe—not to mention manufacturing moving to every corner of the universe—the software seems like a touch of brilliance in terms of keeping track of workflow.
Sunglass offers plugins to sync with 3D modeling software
Sunglass offers a free version (allowing unlimited public projects) on their site that is great for group projects in design school. The entire platform operates with plug-ins to interface with a wide variety of 3D modeling software (including all our old friends: Rhino, Solidworks Autodesk and sketch-up among others). The professional version, available by subscription for $20/month, offers more features for private projects and more features.
Review tools offer ability to comment and accept changes
Since they launched their first version over a year ago, the startup has developed into a fully functional site allowing revision control and real-time review. The software definitely does appeal to a design team made of up any number of disciplines (in any number of geographical locations) but often actual modelling is a solo activity. We are interested to hear if it actually steamlines the way modelers work, or if open-source sharing should stay in the software development realm. Sunglass will really be on a roll when it includes an easier to understand 3D model browser (for those not used to digging through the code repositories of github), as the current interface for Sunglass API is a little confusing for the non-coder.
Their mission statement—"to democratize design tools by removing barriers to access"—is nothing short of a revolution, given the current state of design and manufacturing. We've been playing around with the free version but are eager to know how professionals feel about the platform—we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.