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Dateline: June 13, 2001

3D is popping out all over! Here's a collection of random colorful bits and bytes...or should I say pixels and lights.

News flash from the just finished Java One soiree, 3D on phones! According to an article in CNet, J-Phone demonstrated a 3D character right there on your cell phone. Ok let's think about this, the phone rings and there is some 3D face or model (all 2 square inches) in your palm. Personally I'd like the call to go through and the voice to be clear. J-phone offers the first video cell phone, which does seem very cool.

So how big is the 3D market, and where's it going? I get this question all the time and have to shrug my shoulders. Flash, a new study by Jon Peddie Associates predicts "one million web site with 3D content by 2007". According to the press release about the report:

    "The report forecasts strong growth in the number of sites using 3D technologies to deploy new types of content for e-commerce, entertainment and gaming, business collaboration, and other applications. 3D sites are expected to expand from just a handful in 2001 to more than one million by 2007. At the same time, deployment of 3D viewing technologies, such as Shockwave 3D, will grow from just over 21 million in 2001 to more than 559 million by 2007."

Pulse interactive continues there quest to become more then the technology known for talking characters. They just completed an agreement with Anatomical Travelogue a very cool company that creates visualizations of the interior of bodies. Pulse combined with Anatomical Technology images will allow high quality trips through the body to be streamed to viewers on the web. Fantastic Voyage meets Web3D! The potential from educational apps to surgical training to drug interactions with the body is quite fabulous. It's terrific to see a serious and useful 3D application hit the Web, as opposed to all the usual gratuitous crap.

OK it might be true that VRML can't, in general, compete with proprietary game engines. BUT yanno what, if you know what your doing, and how to code, and use the extensions available from the new versions of the VRML browsers, you can do game quality stuff. Take a look at Sam Girardin's URA test game. It sure doesn't look like VRML! That's a compliment. A terrific frame rate and lots of nicely rendered textures. It passes the "looks like Quake" test.

Viewpoint is hyping up the ability to use their VET (Viewpoint Experience Technology) with Flash. I can live without the hype (they claim to combine 3D and Flash "as never before"...and of course ParallelGraphics has had the ability to use Flash with VRML for a long time). While hype annoys me they as usual have produce some terrifically high quality content. Move your mouse over a 3D model of an Audi and little Flash popups give you cool feedback. The integration of Flash with VET truly does give content developers some new content possibilities. Great stuff Viewpoint, now can the hype and leave that to the press ;-)

Hey are you into steel? Have I got a steely application for you! Bob Lipman, of NIST, and author of the famous VRML Browser Detector, has gone bonkers with Protos and created a translator to go from the CIS2 file format to VRML. CIS2 is apparently a standard for representing steel. Yes there are people and whole organizations into steel! If you've got some steel to visualize this is the place.

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