3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 74: New Era in Web 3D
Lesson 74 - New Era in Web 3D - Part 1
If you listen very carefully, you can hear the rumbling in the distance. The big one is coming.
Many of us have been waiting for years, through a string of crushing disappointments, to see 3D graphics and animation take its rightful place on the Internet. Those of you who have read this column over the past couple of years have traced the twists and turns of this subject, and followed it into a desert sinkhole. One would think that, after so many false promises of a golden age, this writer would have the dignity and intelligence to abandon the matter forever. But that would be a mistake, and at the risk of humiliation, I come to prophesize on the mount. The kingdom of Internet 3D has arrived! Ignore this message at your own risk.
It's always darkest before the dawn. One of the most interesting events at SIGGPRAPH 99 in Los Angeles last month was a press conference and demonstration sponsored by the Web 3D Consortium. Never heard of 'em? The former VRML Consortium, the body established to develop and control the VRML standard for interactive 3D on the Internet renamed itself the Web 3D Consortium a little while ago. The name change signaled a sea change in the world of 3D graphics for the Web. Clearly, the name VRML had become poison, and it was necessary to send the message that even those closest to that standard now recognized that it was time for a new direction.
The afternoon press conference was preparatory to a larger public event that evening called the 3D Web Roundup. The press conference was, on the surface, pitifully disappointing. Only four companies were represented by the panel on the dais, and in the cavernous room I could count little more than 100 attendees in the audience. Neil Trevitt of 3D Labs, the President of the Web 3D Consortium presented the immediate and pressing agenda of the organization to scattered listeners.
It such a frankly depressing environment, much of the audience could be forgiven if they failed to see the gleam of gold in the corner of a sandy pan. But it was there! It was the start of a new and long-awaited era.
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Created: August 31, 1999
Revised: August 31, 1999