We’ve been watching Source3 for a while now, and it’s been a bit of a mystery, but now we seem to have figured out what they’re actually doing and it’s pretty amazing.
It’s amazing if you’re a 3D content owner, that is. Source3 is a service for licensing and distributing content.
That might be a bit hard to understand, even though it’s only a few words. What actually happens? First, you have to understand the problem facing 3D content owners.
Unfortunately most of the popular 3D file formats - and hosting services - do not offer a way to secure that content. Repositories such as Thingiverse and similar operations permit downloads of files, after which the downloader effectively has control of the 3D model and can do anything with it at that point.
This has scared off 3D designers from placing their best works on such sites. Instead, they’ve placed the best works on 3D print services sites, such as Shapeways, where the 3D models are held securely and only prints can be obtained.
But for content owners who are not familiar with the 3D print scene, navigating the different 3D print service sites can be challenging. In many cases, content owners - and we’re talking about any kind of content, not just 3D models - have no idea where they can market their content via 3D printing. If these owners have hired 3D designers to create a 3D version of their work, such as this classic STYX album cover, they don’t really know the best ways to get it into the hands of buyers.
Enter Source3, which provides a service that does just that.
After registering and uploading a 3D model to their online service, you can see it in a list of 3D model content.
Then the magic starts. Here you see how you can select which 3D services you’d like a 3D model deployed to, automatically! Source3 now works with all the major 3D print services and repositories and is constantly adding more. As you can see, you can even choose to deploy an item to free repositories too, and provide links back to paid services, all from one dashboard.
You can then watch the results of deployment in another panel shown here that displays the number of items sold and amount of revenue obtained from it.
Basically, you can manage an entire portfolio of 3D models deployed on numerous services from one place. That’s what Source3 does, and it seems to work very well.
For artists in particular, this service could be the right way to distribute and manage a complete portfolio. It transcends the 3D print services, as Source3 sits above them. Services may come and go, but you can always manage things from your Source3 dashboard.
They say, “publish it yourself, before someone else does it for you!”