3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 74: New Era in Web 3D | 2
Lesson 74 - New Era in Web 3D - Part 3
Blaxxun's demonstration was impressive, but Shout's was unbelievable. The highlight was a virtual fashion show created by Shout for the giant Excite web portal. In a glimpse at the Internet shopping world of the immediate future, an animated fashion model slinks down the runway. The user can choose her hair and skin color, and even the lights. Hundreds of different clothing options will be available. The effect was fantastic! The clothes were sharp and the animation was fluid. This breakthrough piece will appear in September and will open people's eyes across the Internet world.
You've got to look at some of this stuff for yourself. When you visit the Shout 3D site at www.shout3d.com (a different site than www.shoutinteractive.com), be prepared for something astounding. An applet loads in a window, and you'll shortly see a real-time 3d animation running in your browser. I'm reminded of the story my father used to tell about the first time he saw a television set. He knew it was going to be big, and I know that this is going to be big.
Both Shout and Blaxxun's technology are competing to become the new official replacement for VRML. The Web 3D Consortium is seeking to adopt a new standard under the name X3D. Both Shout and Blaxxun have submitted their specifications, as has DRAW Computing, and the Consortium is promising to choose a standard by the end of the year. You can learn all about X3D on the Consortium's website at www.web3d.org.
But, from what I can see, the ultimate success of Shout's or any competitor's technology does not depend on the approval of any organization, simply because the delivery mechanism doesn't require any kind of standard. In fact, Shout is getting ready, right now, to release its own Java implementation to the general public. The Shout 3D SDK (software development kit) will include documentation and the real-time player. Content is created in any 3D modeling and animation package that can create or export VRML files-typically 3D Studio MAX or Cosmo Worlds. Shout 3D is a subset of VRML and therefore care must be taken not to include any VRML features not supported by Shout. The VRML file is converted to Shout format with a converter program. Interactivity is achieved through Java programming.
To see interactive 3D graphics running directly on a web page sets the mind reeling. Opportunities for 3D artists and animators have long been limited to the entertainment and games industries, and as important as these are, they are limited. The internet represents a vast ocean of opportunity for those 3D artists ready to embrace the challenge. This is the new Gold Rush, and I don't intend to be left behind.
Stay tuned to this column for a deeper look at this major breakthrough.
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Created: August 31, 1999
Revised: August 31, 1999