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Product tour

A product tour is a great way to show off a product or object. It's a series of steps that guides the user through the highlights of a product. The user can interact with the product, get more information and even configure the product. The product tour makes efficient use of space on a webpage. The goal is to grab the user's attention and keep it.

In this tutorial I will point to the relevant sections in the guide to explain the principles behind the code. If this is your first time working with the Sketchfab API, I recommend you start with the Getting started tutorial.

View a larger version of the product tour here


This product tour has the following features:

  • A 3D model of an examination table with annotations
  • Very tight camera behavior
  • A series of steps
  • A sidebar with information
  • Configuration options

The 3D model contains annotations, but all the contents is contained in the web-app.

The model

We want the model to show the hotspots, but not the annotation menu nor the annotation popups. We'll be making those ourselves shortly.

We're using the following init settings:

autostart: 1,
annotation_tooltip_visible: 0,
scrollwheel: 0,
ui_controls: 0,
ui_infos: 0,
ui_watermark: 0,
ui_stop: 0,
  • annotation_tooltip_visible: 0 makes sure the annotation popup doesn't show up when the user clicks a hotspot.
  • ui_controls: 0 hides all menus, including the annotation menu.
  • scrollwheel: 0 disables zooming with the mouse wheel. That is practical to keep the model in view and makes sure the user doesn't wander off.

You'll notice that the I've laid out the annotations with a sidebar in mind. Some annotations are located in the left half, others in the right half of the screen. Of course it's up to you how you want to arrange the annotations in your web-app. I want to create a little journey through the model and a bit of variation in the layout helps.

Take a look at the Menu and embedding tutorial for further explanation of settings.

Step through annotations

I want users to step through these annotations with a back/next button. Those buttons make the annotations easy to digest, one at a time. A simple back/next navigation will avoid your users feeling overwhelmed. I'm going to show a custom title in the sidebar and I'm moving the sidebar to the left or right depending on the position of the annotation.

Most of this section comes from the Navigation example tutorial in the guide.

When you first load the scene, get the list of annotations from the scene and keep track of how many there are. That will help you calculate the next or previous annotation id.

let maxId = 0;
let currentId = 0;
// Get the total number of annotations
api.getAnnotationList((err, annotations) => {
  maxId = annotations.length - 1;
// Get the previous annotation id
currentId = currentId === 0 ? maxId : currentId - 1;
// Get the next annotation id
currentId = currentId === maxId ? 0 : currentId + 1;

I'm not intending to use the title and description from the annotations that are stored in Sketchfab for this project. Instead, I have created an object with titles for each annotation and an alignment option. Moving the contents of the annotations into the web-app is practical. You don't have to go into the Sketchfab editor to make copy changes. We'll add more data to this object later.

const annotations = {
  0: { title: "4040X General Examination Table", align: "right" },
  1: { title: "Side rails", align: "left" },
  2: { title: "Foot control", align: "left" },
  3: { title: "Central locking castors", align: "left" },
  4: { title: "Trendelenburg adjustment", align: "right" },
  5: { title: "Paper roll stand", align: "right" },
  6: { title: "Upholstery", align: "right" },

When an annotation is activated, I show the title in the sidebar and move the sidebar to the left or right depending on the alignment option. This is a rudimentary way to edit the CSS of the sidebar. You could also use a CSS class and toggle that. Using a framework like react or vue would make this easier.

const alignSidebar = (align) => {
  if (align === "right") {"left");"right", "0px");
  } else {"right");"left", "0px");

More content

Let's add body text and images for the annotations too. I'm expanding the annotations object. Here's an example of one of the annotations:

4: {
  title: "Trendelenburg adjustment",
  align: "right",
  text: "Manual Trendelenburg adjustment (max. 12°) with lever at foot end",
  src: "./trendelenburg.jpg",

Configuration: Visibility

While this product tour should not be a full configurator, we can add a few options to the sidebar to make the tour more engaging. I want to toggle visibility on some objects and change the upholstery color. We're adding the configuration controls to the annotation sidebar.

We're adding even more data to the annotations object. Here's a sample that shows how to keep track of visibility. objects: ["handle"] is an array of objectnames in the Sketchfab scene. We'll store the instanceID of all the objects with these names in the ids array. The state property is a boolean that keeps track of the visibility state.

toggle: {
  objects: ["handle"],
  state: true,
  ids: [],

When the scene loads, we should find the instanceID's of the objects we want to toggle. We can use the getNodeMap function to get the instanceID's. We'll store them in the ids array of each annotation. The following code gets the nodemap and then loops over all my annotations and finds the instanceID's of the objects that are in the toggle object. I'm using a helper function to filter the nodemap. I'm using Array.filter instead of Array.find because there can be multiple objects with the same name.

const filterNodes = (nodemap, name) => {
  return Object.values(nodemap).filter((node) => {
    return === name && node.type === "MatrixTransform";

api.getNodeMap(function (err, nodeMap) {
  Object.keys(annotations).forEach((key) => {
    if (annotations[key].toggle) {
      annotations[key].toggle.objects.forEach((object) => {
        const nodes = filterNodes(nodeMap, object);
        if (nodes) {
          nodes.forEach((node) => {

Then, when the user clicks the toggle button, we can loop over the ids array and toggle the visibility of the objects. Here you'll see that I take the ids of the current annotation to show or hide objects. The state property is to keep track of the visibility state.

const toggleAnnotation = (api) => {
  if (annotations[currentId].toggle.state) {
    annotations[currentId].toggle.ids.forEach((id) => {
  } else {
    annotations[currentId].toggle.ids.forEach((id) => {;
  annotations[currentId].toggle.state = !annotations[currentId].toggle.state;

For more info on showing and hiding objects, check out the Showing and hiding tutorial.

Configuration: Material

Changing colors wraps up the product tour. We're adding three buttons to one of the annotations to change the color of the upholstery.

This is the list of colors we're using and the methods to change the AlbedoPBR color of the upholstery material.

const colors = {
  silver: { rgb: [157, 157, 157] },
  sunrise: { rgb: [214, 164, 67] },
  lagoon: { rgb: [53, 113, 137] },

function gammaCorrectRgb(rgb) {
  return => Math.pow(v / 255, 2.2));

const applyColors = async (api, colorname) => {
  const maincolor = gammaCorrectRgb(colors[colorname].rgb);
  skaiMaterial.channels.AlbedoPBR.color = maincolor;

Before we can edit the material, we must first get it from the material list. This is done in the viewerready event. We're looking for a material with the name Skai. Once we have the material, we can call the applyColors function to change the color.

api.getMaterialList((err, materials) => {
  skaiMaterial = materials.find((m) => === "Skai");
  applyColors(api, "silver");

Read more about changing materials here Change materials.

Read more about the material list here Material list.

Camera constraints

Now that all the interactivity is in place, we should add some constraints to the camera. A product tour is like a guided tour in a museum. You don't want people to wander off or look in the wrong places. We want to keep eyes on the product at all times. Camera constraints will do that for us.

Sketchfab does not allow combining annotations and camara constraints by default. But with the API we can. Setting up these constraints properly is actually a quite involved process. I walk you through the steps in the Annotations and constraints tutorial.

Basically, we take care of moving the camera ourselves, instead of letting the annotation do that for us. This gives us the most control.