3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 75: Introducing Shout3D
Lesson 75 - Introducing Shout3D - Part 1
Feast your eyes and gaze upon the promised land.
If you are viewing this page with Netscape 3 or above, or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 or above, and are using Windows 95/98/NT or Macintosh OS 7.6 or above, you are looking at realtime 3D animation using a rendering engine embedded directly in your Web page. You didn't need to download and install any kind of plug-in application to your browser. The player, in the form of a Java applet, was loaded along with the page.
This is the breakthrough technology I rhapsodized about in my previous column and as I've been lucky to be able to explore it in its pre-release state, I'd like to share what I'm learning with you over the next few weeks. Shout Interactive will be releasing Shout3D 1.0, the toolset for creating and displaying interactive 3D content, very shortly. The release corresponds nicely with the big rollout of Shout3D content on the InternetÂan interactive 3D fashion show sponsored by Macy's and Excite. If you haven't seen this already, you've got to check it out at excitextreme.com/fashion. If this doesn't get your juices running about what 3D can now bring to the Internet, there's simply no hope for you.
Shout3D is an implementation, in the Java programming language, of Shout's proposal for a specification called Core X3D. X3D is that name that the Web3D Consortium (formerly VRML Consortium) is using for a new standard for delivering interactive 3D content over the Internet. The Web Consortium has solicited proposals for the core elements for such a new standard, and Shout is one of the very few to have submitted such a proposal. Thus it is possible that Shout Interactive's specification will become the foundation of the new general of VRML. But Shout has gone ahead and actually implemented its proposal in a finished product, and because it quite obviously works, it's not clear how much it matters what action the Consortium takes. The Shout implementation (and a similar implementation developed by Blaxxun) prove that individual companies can go ahead with products that are ready for the market, regardless of progress on a new international standard.
This leads to an important point. What Shout Interactive is doing is part of a bigger picture. Shout3D may be the first commercially available software supporting an unlimited avenue for fully interactive 3D on the Web, but it certainly won't be the only one. A new era of interactive 3D on the Internet has finally arrived precisely because new technologies no longer require the participation of huge corporations making enormous investments. With only five people, Shout Interactive is in a position to succeed where the giant Silicon Graphics Inc. failed with its VRML product line. There is certain to be a profusion of competing products and technologies in the near future offering comparable powers, but in my opinion, Shout3D is the first to justify the attention and efforts of the serious 3D artist or Web developer.
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Created: Sept. 14, 1999
Revised: Sept. 14, 1999