Techniques of Perception in VRML97
by n_polys 08_2001

Quickstart: 3D Media and Web Technology

With over 30 million PCs in the market that are already accellerated with 3D hardware, and more power shipping every month, real-time 3D media is cresting on a wave of viability as technology surges from narrow to broadband.  This presents a great opportunity for visual artists and film directors to deliver their work to new and widespread audiences. 

As the technological and market barriers dissolve for real-time, interactive 3D worlds to be shared and transmitted over the internet, the notable successes are the content produced that leverages this powerful new media type.   Cyberspace will be what we make it!  In order to apply one’s creative talents to this new frontier, one must understand both the ‘sky-high’ view and be familiar with the nuts-and-bolts capabilities of the media. 

We agree with industry pundits that design and programming skills are converging onto the digital graphics resume.  There will also continue to be an increased demand for visual software authoring tools that allow designers and producers to cross this chasm.

Foundation of the Frontier:  The World Wide Web

  • Networked
  • Interactive
  • Built on standards designed by Industry Consortia (W3C, Web3D, etc)
  • Principles guide us in the unkown: usability and compelling content

Media Distinctions

  • Media: traditionally a way to transfer knowledge (communicate) using one mode of perception
  • 'Rich’ Media: uses one or more modes of perception, usually dynamic (film, digital video, flash)
  • ‘Deep’ Media: extends rich media by adding another spatial dimension and describing scenes, objects, and interactivity.  You can embed Rich Media in a Deep Media environment.
Industry Standards and Darwin
  • 3D file formats proliferating and fading
  • Success will be a combo of: features, player distribution, and available content / applications
  • VRML97 is most established, most easily integrated; in addition, X3D promises to be extensible
  • ISO standards, open development (
  • Stay current & informed (

The new standards like X3D (Extensible 3D) coming from The Web3D Consortium and targeted for the International Standards Organization (ISO), and the Motion Pictures Experts’ Group (MPEG) promise greater speed, power, integration, and interoperability for deep media in the near term.  Some advances to look forward to in X3D: Lattice geometry compression, smoke and particle effects, Flocking behaviors, spline animation, and BSP tree/ portal management among others.

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Table of Contents: Abstract

Current features
* Graphical User Interfaces: 2D, 3D, and Web3D
* Techniques of Perception in VRML
Onsite Features- Europe:
* Echtzeit AG
* Lunatic Interactive
* PhilemonWorks

Previous Features
* Interactive Web Graphics with Shout3D Book
* Web3D 2001 Coverage
* Core Web3D Book
* Spazz3D: Authoring-tool
* Game Programming in VRML
* State of the Industry
* The X3D Initiative (2000)
* Alphabet Soup: Our glossary of technical acronyms

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