3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 107: Designing Web 3D Interfaces
Lesson 107 - Designing Web 3D Interfaces - Part 1
In the previous lesson we began looking at the interactive Web 3D projects that I have included in my forthcoming book on Shout3D. The latest word is that the book will be available in the next couple of weeks (mid-December 2000). (Click here for more information about the book.)
The two projects that we'll consider here have more ambitious interfaces than those we looked at last time. A lot of the argument in Web 3D today is about plugins vs. no plugins. While this is an important issue, I have always felt that interactivity is at least as important. Plugins or not, Web 3D content takes a significant amount of time to download over standard dial-up connections. People can be expected to wait 50 or 60 seconds for a download only if they are going to spend at least three or four minutes (and probably more) with the content. To me, Web 3D makes the most sense when a user gets some kind of meaningful application that they can really sink their teeth into.
The primary appeal of Shout3D to me has always been in the power to program sophisticated user interactivity, and the interfaces necessary to support it. Shout3D programming is Java programming. It's not the easy route, but it is the professional route, and once you learn it, you're packing some serious ammunition.
I'd been shopping for bathroom fixtures recently and was struck by how inadequately 2D print brochures conveyed the sculptural sense of sinks, toilets and baths. So I decided to create a shopping application for sinks. The image below is a screenshot. Click on the image to load application in a separate window. Take some time to explore it before reading further.
Many of the features here are the same as those in the projects from the previous lesson. The model is 7200 triangles, heavy enough to appear smooth when examined closely. This is probably about as heavy a model I was willing to try, but it responds well to the mouse on any reasonably late-model system. Make sure you use the Shift key while dragging the mouse to "pan" by moving the center of rotation. A sink is the kind of object you need to examine from many angles, both at a distance and up close.
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Created: December 4, 2000
Revised: December 4, 2000