Urban Melbourne's 3D model is evolving

Recently we've been exploring new ways to host our 3D model (or parts thereof) on the site. And today we're going live with a public beta that we'd love to hear your feedback on.

This is a significant step forward as we have previously had to rely on rendered stills to illustrate future development projections.

As an example, we have taken an in-progress portion of the Southbank model, which allows you to orbit around and freely control with clickable annotations which provide details about a few of the buildings and links back to their respective database listings. This can be seen below:

If viewing on a mobile device or tablet, use two fingers to pan around and zoom in, and one finger to orbit around the model.

Fair warning however: the models are large and if you are on a mobile device, we recommend only loading it on wifi or better yet use a laptop or desktop.

To navigate around the model:

  • Click and hold to orbit around the model.
  • Hold Shift and click and hold to pan around the model (or hold down the mouse wheel).
  • Hold Ctrl and click and hold to zoom into a particular part of the model.
STHBANK TEST by Urban Melbourne on Sketchfab

It is worth noting that there are still a few issues to sort out, not least how to host the rest of the model (the CBD, Docklands etc), loading and viewing bigger models on mobile devices properly, colour coding and material testing.

Eventually we hope to make the full model readily available to everyone, but are still working through the finer details.

While it is still very much early days, there is a lot of potential. We will continue testing 3D content with a view towards including embedded 3D models as part of our planning articles, providing readers with the ability to view and control a new development within its immediate context right here on Urban Melbourne.

So for now, have fun panning around the Southbank model and keep an eye out for more 3D content in future. Please leave any feedback in the comments.



Malcolm Maguire's picture

Really looking forward to having a look but the model won't load. Its quickly goes to a full blue bar under 'Loading 3D model' but then nothing happens. I am viewing on a desktop computer running windows 7 professional.

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Paolo Lavisci's picture

Congratulations ! Works well on Win10. What do the shades refer to ?

Paolo Lavisci

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Laurence Dragomir's picture

Malcolm - what browser are you using, out of curiosity? We find Chrome works best.

Paolo - which shades are you referring to?

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Steve Sharp's picture

Good stuff. Works on a MAC, Safari and Chrome. Did take maybe 30sec - 1min to load the model even when the 'Load 3D Model' progress bar had said it had completed. Maybe something to consider and fix in next release. Happy days.

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Adam Ford's picture

Model is too heavy for your device and can not be rendered properly on Chrome on Mac

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Gary Buck's picture

Works fine on Surface Pro 3 / Win 10 / Chrome

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Andrew's picture


Although you should have a look into unity once the project is complete, that has a webplayer and can stream data pretty well for mobile devices too.

The models while detail is good, might need optimizing for displaying on the web, Eurekas balconies could be simplified. Or maybe just a LOD (Level of detail) model for when the camera is further away, although this enters game making territory.

First up would be UC, Proposed, Built shaders for the various models, which no doubt you're working on given the static images you've been releasing for years now.

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Melb on's picture

Fantastic! Works great on Windows 10 bit64

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Laurence Dragomir's picture

@Andrew - We'll probably use sketchfab for smaller models within articles. We're playing around with Unity at the moment and ways we can use it for the full model - there's a few cool things we're testing out already.

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