View-only Models / Upload Limits / Model Capping

I guess I wasn’t expecting my uploading history to be taken into consideration. But if we really want to get into details I’d be happy to share. I’ve been working on a major industrial worksite project for nearly 6 months. Working almost everyday. Hence the very little uploads recently. I maybe turned on my home computer once a month. And previously I was still learning, so there wasn’t much for me to upload.

With the completion of said project, I was recently laid off. I was looking forward to ramping up the number of models I would be uploading. Many of which I had planned to be view only. And since we’re diving into the nitty gritty of details here I might as well fully share. I’m developing a website that specializes in reviewing Unity Store assets. One of the components of the business plan was taking existing packages (With permission from the publishers) and embedding SketchFab previews of parts of the package. Like up close views of certain models or parts. Playing out animations. Etc. Really giving people some thorough reviews of certain packages.

I can’t list them for sale obviously. And 1 limit a month completely ties my hands for any sort of plans in that sense. It was just a huge disappointment to read this today. As with any content creator and their uploading site, it feels counter intuitive. Like if YouTube told it’s creators they could only upload 1 video per month now. I’m sure I’m not the only uploader this hinders.

I do really appreciate the extra features and the platform as a whole has progressed amazingly. What I meant was specifically three events.

First, when I originally signed up the listing yourself as a business option was free. Shortly there after I was forced to change my account to personal. So it felt like I lost out on features there. But I understood it’s that SketchFab is a business and money needs to be made. I figured I could always get Pro or something later when I started making enough of a profit to justify it.

Disabled Models

Second; In this thread are a lot of people who also never received any sort of notification. Several of my models were disabled. Because I had custom backgrounds. And I searched my email and I never received any notification. Which was disappointing because several of the models were associated with a package I sell on the Unity Asset Store. It was disabled for about half a year. Which undoubtedly hurt my sales. (Not a high sales volume item, but the notion is aggravating) And again, that felt like losing a few more features that we had otherwise.

And third is the ability to only upload 1 view only limit. Just feels like losing another feature/taking out a major part of your platform.

Thanks! It’s appreciated. And I appreciate you responding.

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I’m not a big fan of the limitation, but I think it’s fair and reasonable. Hosting models costs money, so as the community grows, it would become impossible to support.

I agree with some of the suggestions said above. One free credit for a challenge entry would be nice (I won’t take into consideration multiple entries, I think just one would be already very good). Also extra credits for staff picks could be cool. But I think the one I would appreciate the most would be saving the unused credits for each month.

If I can give my opinion, I would ask to increase the number of free credits from 1 to 2, which still prevents from massive uploads, but it’s a bit more user-friendly. I would go either with 2 credits or with saving unused credits, but not with both at the same time, I think that would be too much to ask.


While I’m not exactly pleased to see limitations on this site, I do understand that I can’t be too picky when I use it as a “free account” and you guys are not charity, and have to make a living with your site.
That said, I don’t understand a few things among other the “1 download per month” rule.
To make it clear, when I upload something, I usually have issues with the download. This means that I have to make something like ten download before getting the model right on Sketchfab. Maybe should the rule be “one new model per month, no matter how much downloads needed”.

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If you use Sketchfab for commercial activities, then you should use a paid plan anyway.

While we did notify everyone who was impacted, there’s always the chance of emails ending up in a spam folder. We’re also showing a notification on the affected model pages but granted, if you don’t visit our site you might miss those.

The rule is not ‘1 download per month’, it’s ‘1 view-only upload per month’. You can re-upload and download your own model as often as you need.

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Once again, artist’s works are under valued. Make our work, our time, free for anyone else- that’s exactly what the society is doing. Talent, time, effort for artistic matters is always under looked, how many people ask me to do work for free…
It’s sad to see a artistic platform treating our work like that.


Thanks to everyone for voicing their concerns and feedback. It means a lot to us that you care so much about those changes, which also means you care about the product we provide. I wanted to clarify here some of the reasons behind our decisions. As you can imagine, these were not easy decisions because we would obviously love and prefer to be able to support free unlimited uploads for life. We love the work shared by the community - enabling uploads is the reason why we started Sketchfab in the first place.

So let’s start at the beginning: Sketchfab is a platform hosting millions of 3D models and servicing millions of users. AWS is doing awesome, and we definitely know why :slight_smile: We are also a team of 30 people, which needs revenue to operate. So how do we generate revenue and become a sustainable business?

We don’t want advertising to be part of our business model, we believe it provides for a poor user experience and makes us more dependant on external factors. Most of the internet is moving away from it, except for tech giants sitting with a monopoly. And to be extra-honest, even if we wanted to generate revenue with advertising, 3D as a medium is still in its infancy, especially on the consumption side, and we would not be able to reach significant advertising revenue comparable to established media like video or text content. Which means if we want to be able to provide Sketchfab at all, the reality is that we need the support of our users paying for the service or for content.

There are roughly 2 types of free users: hobbyists, and professionals. Hobbyists (like myself) are typically OK having their models available for download, since they do this as a hobby. As for professionals using Sketchfab as part of their work, it seemed fair to us to ask for $7/month to support the service. The main comment we hear is similar to “a bunch of my models are commissions for other people, so of course I’m not going to let just anyone download them”. We totally understand that, but if you use Sketchfab to deliver commissions to clients, isn’t it fair to pay for that service?

As for artists just using Sketchfab as a portfolio and showcase platform (which typically still helps professionally), 1 model per month is more than what most artists upload, which is why we felt it was a fair limit. Another approach would have been to limit the total number of models in your account (like 10 models, just like Soundcloud caps free users to 3 hours total), but we felt this was much less friendly for users, it would mean that after a year of uploading once a month you can’t use the service for free anymore, whereas with our approach you can still continue to upload every month.

If you need more than one upload a month (again, most users don’t), and $7 a month is still too expensive for you, we ask you to contribute by making your content accessible, either for free or for a price. Again, fair deal? This does not mean we want to be just a store by the way, otherwise we would completely ban the concept of view-only models, we would stop doing challenges, we would get rid of the newsfeed, comments, likes, followers etc.

As a side note, a lot of people see us as “just a portfolio site”. While we do serve this purpose, we also deliver a technology which is expensive to develop and maintain. While other portfolio sites have all their resources devoted to building a portfolio site, half of ours are devoted to building and improving the 3D rendering technology. Which is also one of the reasons why many users use us for more than just content showcasing, because we help them deliver projects to clients.

As for frustrations for the limits on Pro users and 20 uploads a month being not enough, I believe this frustration is mostly psychological. Out of more than 2M users, there are on average less than 50 users uploading more than 20 models a month. And those are either hobbyists uploading a lot of scans (and typically ok having them downloadable), or professionals working on big projects, which would typically fall under one of our company plans.

Ultimately, I guess what is the most frustrating for you is that we now offer less than before. I think for new users joining today, our pricing model makes sense and is fair. Of course when you used to have unlimited uploads it’s frustrating. But when we started Sketchfab, a) the technology was not stable enough for us to feel good about charging for it and b) we didn’t know what our business model would be, and were focused on building a product users would love. So we had to start free. One way to see the new limit is to be frustrated, the other way to see it is to be thankful for all the years of free uploads :slight_smile: We could decide to only be a paid service, but we value the community and the beauty of sharing art for the sake of art, which is why we are still supporting a free version which offers a very robust platform and a decent usage volume.

We will digest your feedback over the coming days, and get back to you with any additional thoughts. Thank you!

Co-founder and CEO


Thanks @alban and team for the clarifications! It’s really great to have an organisation who listen to the community. As for me, I’m satisfied enough with the answers you have given. :smile:


I am happy to be one of the 50 users. :innocent: But then I wonder why the pro account is so greatly reduced. It’s about 50 members who need more than 20 models. Maybe there is the possibility to increase the limit to 30. Advertising: Pro users can publish one model every day. Become a pro member now! :heart_eyes:


I understand the reasons although I honestly don’t like those changes, but this is your business and you set the rules! For me one model per month is fine, lately hardly upload new models and now I will explain the reasons.

I had the PRO account for almost two years and used it for my commissions, but my clients started asking me not to publish their works in Sketchfab. The reason? They know the illegal market that exists based on Sketchfab models. Even, uknown people have sent me messages on ArtStation offering me 3D models packages for 5 or 10 usd (the ones I choose). So, for this reason I did not continue paying the subscription, since I could not use it for my commissions.

I know that it is practically impossible to avoid the theft of models, but if you managed to solve this I think that many more artists would be encouraged to use Sketchab for their works.

Regarding the plus plan, you could improve the offer with 10 private models a month since it now offers nothing new to what the basic plan recently offered.


We understand this issue and we work constantly to make it more difficult to “rip” models. That said, this thread is not really the place for a discussion on that topic.

The Plus plan offers an increased file size limit (50MB → 100MB), increased annotations per model (5 → 10), and increased sounds per model (1 → 3)


Nothing is reduced in the pro account, unlimited uploads were not a feature specific to the pro account. But point duly noted, we’ll think about that.

I don’t like those changes either, but I like the fact that they help us provide Sketchfab.

Illegal activities and content thefts is a very different topic, touching all industries. Any content published online can be stolen, yet it’s illegal, you get crappy content, and there is not much you can do with it outside of personal use. Anyone can steal music from Spotify or videos from Vimeo, artists are still posting work there, because it’s a balance between getting exposure and showing your work vs how sensitive your data is. We are also actively monitoring content piracy, and keep improving our protection measures.


Yes, it is a different topic, I just wanted to explain that many people would be encouraged to pay a plus or pro plan if there was no theft problem.

I like Sketchfab very much and I hope that these new policies do not affect the platform. Seeing the new 3D models and analyzing them is something I do almost daily and it would be bad for people to stop sharing their work.


Well for now i’m fine with the change, is a little sad, but i understand.

One more question though, as right now in the profile tab there is a notification of when the credit will reset, is according to the account creation date, that’s fine, but at what time in the day the credit resets? is at a fixed time like midnight? or again it is according to the account creation date?

Anyways, it will be to much to ask for a little timer when you have less than 24 hours? I ask this because today my credit will reset and i might upload one model to not lose that credit, so i just want to be sure if i still have some time before it expires.

Credits reset at the day of the month and the hour of day that you signed up (or subscribed to a paid plan), rounded up to the next hour. You signed up Aug. 27, 2016, 6:21 p.m. (UTC), so your credits should reset on the 27th of each month at 7pm (UTC)

Yes, a more precise timer could make sense.

Hi there, so there is my case.
I doing photogrammetry government grant with co-operation with local museum.
Museum wants publish everything at once (lets say it will be 50 bulk upload) but without possibility of “download” up there. Create new position on cost table as “sketchfab upload tax” will be not a problem but seriously i suggest You to give option (even paid 50$ ) for unlimited uploads at particular month. Such decision to give limit to pro users break some possibilities. Its should be easy to create contact form especially when like you said its just 50 people to work with.

Actually why you create limit for pro users if there is just 50 people who need more than that? Increase it to 100 and everybody happy

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Thanks for the feedback. We actually offer 50% off on premium accounts for museums, which means they get 200 uploads per month for $39.5/month. Again, fair? On top of that, we offer free pro accounts to museums. As for other pro users, we’ll think about this more, thanks for the input (and kind words on facebook :wink: )


haha yeah, i was serious about making such change without allows people to prepare - even 1 week would be nice, not such guillotine like move. I gonna check that pro account for museums (today they provided me login info to starting prepare everything ) but if what you said is true (about 200 uploads) then no problems. Edit: i checked email once again and indeed there is info to check on help-desk.

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I need apply for that discount manually, because museum setup account for gmail email. What kind of proofs you need for verification ?

@nebulousflynn is your man. He should get back to you tomorrow.

@alban @james @bartv I greatly appreciate the amazing platform Sketchfab provides to hobbyists, artists, and professionals; the labor of love it has been for the founders and team; and the need to keep it sustainable. The recent changes are a sensible way of keeping the platform open and accessible to all while providing the needed funding to keep the lights on. The Plus membership is a nice affordable addition to the plan line-up. And I’m grateful that you found a way to keep the platform free for hobbyists without restricting the number of models we can upload and share.

In addition to subscriptions, have you considered a “pay as you go” option for view-only uploads? In other words, a Basic user could upload (as now) 1 free view-only model per month and for additional uploads within a month, pay, say, a $1 charge per view-only upload? Or you could simply say a Basic user gets 12 free view-only uploads per year and once over that limit, they could pay per view-only upload within the year. This option might be more palatable for Basic users who don’t want to take out a subscription but occasionally need to upload more view-only models than are permitted in the Basic plan.