The other big news today: France’s Dassault Systemes launched 3DVIA, “a powerful platform for partners to deliver unique 3D experiences to all kinds of online communities in the consumer and professional arena” (press release), and then announced it is putting the underlying technology to work right away to build a competitor to Google’s 3D Warehouse, for Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D:
Combining Microsoft’s geolocalization technology with DS’s proven 3-D modeling and realistic visualization know-how, this [MSFT-DS] alliance will enable consumers to add an entirely new level of realism within Virtual Earth, providing an unrestricted freedom for creativity and innovation. (press release)
Explains Chairman and Chief Executive Bernard Charles to Reuters:
We want to do the 3D Flickr.
That’s nothing if not ambitious. And how is all the metadata going to be managed? By creating a new 3D XML specification and player, called, er, 3D XML. In the announcement from two weeks ago, 3D XML is called a “universal, lightweight XML-based format”.
Universal is good, so I headed over to 3DVIA to check out the 3D model of the iPhone. It turns out that the 3D XML player is Windows only, but luckily 3DVIA also supports the 3D Life Player, which works on the Mac. There is even some code to paste to show off 3D on any website, so let’s test it here:
(Does the Mac viewer make your browser unstable? Also, I wish I didn’t have to provide both viewing options manually.)
All in all, I’ve come away impressed — for example, it supports the importing of all manner of formats (though not SketchUp’s native format). There is much more that we’ll need to figure out — such as, how open and expandable is the metadata format, and will it meet Avi Bar-Ze’ev’s requirements/wishlist for a semantic 3D web? Avi from a year ago:
What we really need is a new language of object representation that encapsulates and preserves form and function, aesthetics, style, meaning, and behavior, all tightly coupled and never discarded in the “art pipeline” until the object is finally rendered on your screen.
This certainly looks like a step in that direction.