How to create Sketchfab like annotations with Three.js?

Check this example

I have created the hotspot/annotation but I can’t find a logic to detect a marker if it goes behind the camera’s field of view

So I have tried a couple of methods already

Based on distance between hotspot and camera didn’t work
Angle between normal of hotspot and camera didn’t work
Using raycasters is computationally heavy and hard to work with

the scene just has a GLTF and hotspots and camera

So I made render of GLTF to 1000
and hotspot to 1100
and set the depthTest of marker to false so that marker is rendered ontop of model

@thrax from Three JS Slack tried something here with dot product but still it didn’t solve my usecase!/three-hotspot



What you can do:

  • enable a depth rendering of the scene
  • create a shader material to apply to the hotspot:
    • enable alpha blending
    • set depth test to false to always render the hotspot / disable depth write
    • in the shader, compare the current depth with the one in the zbuffer (thanks to the depth rendering): set the alpha value of the final color depending on the test (for eg, 1.0 if current depth < z in zbuffer, else 0.3)

Here’s an example. It’s not done in threejs, but it should be easy to port the code.

If the depth in the depth rendering is stored as a linear depth (I don’t know how Threejs does it), here’s a modified sample.


Evergreen article:


Nice article! Thanks for sharing it.

This is a very cool and simple test and looks like it should work well for any objects that are fairly regular in shape.

const meshDistance = camera.position.distanceTo(mesh.position);
const spriteDistance = camera.position.distanceTo(sprite.position);
spriteBehindObject = spriteDistance > meshDistance;

sprite.material.opacity = spriteBehindObject ? 0.25 : 1; = spriteBehindObject ? 0.25 : 1;

I guess if your meshes are highly irregular it might not be good enough though. Would have to test this out in practice to see if that’s the case.

EDIT: and they are definitely doing something much fancier in Sketchfab:

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what effect is being discussed here? When it goes outside of fov, it just disappears on my machine.

@Popov72 that sounds like terribly overcomplicating things. Here is how I would do it:

It’s the marker with the number 2 in my screenshot above. The question is how to make it transparent but still visible when occluded by the model.

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@makc3d Try to put a texture on the green cube. The hotspot should not be transparent if visible, only if it is occluded.

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not sure what does the texture change here, but

all it does is simply draws the slightly transparent copy of a cube (marker) on top of everything. when not occluded, it draws on top of itself but since it is identical, the result does not change.

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@makc That nearly works, but you want the marker to have opacity 1 when in front of the object and 0.3 when behind the object.

It’s not obvious when you use a cube but if you switch to a sprite you’ll see that doesn’t work as a marker.

Here’s an adaption of @makc3d’s idea. Two sprites, one fully opaque and one transparent with depth test disabled.

@karanganesan is this good enough for your use case?


@looeee IIRC sprites system was attached to 3js by a duct tape so I am not surprised that something does not work in that department. so, again, I would just use some hack like this but this is now 3rd time, not making any more fiddles here :smiley:

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@makc3d Sorry, I did not see you used two sprites/cubes in your code, one with a standard material and the other with transparency/depth test=false!

It’s indeed a lot easier than my method.

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Thanks a lot everyone for the help :blush:I will look into them :100:

Yea I think so

I didn’t use sprites earlier
I just used Circle Geometry earlier

Will try out this sprite and let you know :slight_smile:

thanks :slight_smile:

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Sprites will make it easier to have the marker facing towards the camera, which is probably what you want.
Then you can use a transparent PNG to the make the sprite a circle - an abnoxious smiley in my example (sorry about that, it was just the first round transparent image I found on imgur :grin:), but to create markers with numbers in them you could either have a number of pre-made PNG files, or use canvas2D to generate the images on the fly.


Thanks for the suggestions :slight_smile:

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No demo, interesting article

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Another useful option, built with three.js:


@prisoner849 holy smokes you gotta see this: <model-viewer> Interactive Example check add/remove hotspot bottom left then click anywhere in the scene to add the hotspot - thanks @donmccurdy for sharing, absolutely awesome sauce! :beers: