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3D DIRECT • June 27, 2000

Somebody's Animating Me

by Abby Albrecht

3D Web Space with iSpace

Caligari Corporation, a provider of 3D-authoring technologies, announced the availability of iSpace ($99), a 3D Web graphics- and animation-authoring package that enables Web developers to create 3D Web pages using a drag-and-drop interface. Used alone, or with traditional HTML editors such as Macromedia DreamWeaver (www.macromedia.com), Adobe GoLive (www.adobe.com), Microsoft FrontPage (www.microsoft.com), and NetObjects Fusion (www.netobjects.com), it can create and assemble complete HTML pages. Functionality is integrated into a 3D environment where objects can be manipulated directly and edited in full 3D or 2D, with the ability to create pages in iSpace from scratch, or import their existing 2D HTML pages. Features include: 3D graphics, special effects, animation, broadcast-quality output using 3D rendering techniques, and ray-tracing to achieve photorealistic results. These include occlusion, transparency, shadows, reflections, textures, true lighting, and high-quality antialiasing. Once a 3D page is designed, a single command renders each 3D object individually and assembles all elements, even animated ones, into a seamless HTML page with highly-compressed GIF animations and JPEGs. A selection of templates for creating Web sites, such as e-commerce, info pages, home pages, and many others is included. No viewer is required to see iSpace pages on the Web. The program requires Windows 95/98/2000/NT, a Pentium CPU, 64MB RAM, and 30MB of disk space. For optimum performance, 96MB RAM and a 3D accelerator are recommended. iSpace can be downloaded from Caligari's Web site. www.caligari.com

A Wall of Another Dimension

Fakespace Systems Inc., an immersive visualization systems company, announced the commercial availability of the Passive Stereo WorkWall (starting at $117,000), a 6.0x7.5-foot, rear-projected, high-brightness flat wall display system for viewing large-scale computer-generated models and visual simulations with Fakespace Systems's polarized glasses. The WorkWall displays virtual models, prototypes, and simulations for applications in product design, engineering, and scientific research. It uses two solid state digital projectors, which provide a slightly different image for each eye, and provides native 1280x1024 pixel resolution and greater than 1000 ANSI lumens per eye. The Passive Stereo WorkWall is compatible with CAVELib device drivers, CAD/CAM, CAE, simulation, digital mock-up, and seismic analysis software. Optional peripherals include head-tracking and motion-tracking systems, room control systems, audio systems, and devices for navigating and manipulating virtual models and environments. www.fakespacesystems.com.

Models for Your Art

Geo-Metricks unveiled a number of new, low polygon model bundles on their Web site. The 3D models have a typical polycount from 1000 to 2500 trangulated polygons. Current packs include Humans Pack 2 ($99), 12 multicultural, low-polygon 3D avatars; Humans Pack 1 ($99), 24 interchangable, leisure/chat 3D avatars; Cyber Gothics ($49), 10 weird elongated 3D avatars; Cyber Punks ($59), 14 nighttime, futuristic street people; 101 Interiors ($49), modern furniture in 20 different styles; 101 Space ($49), spaceships, structures, spacestations, satellites, etc.; 101 Historical Structures ($99), castles, temples, ruins, etc.; and 101 Trees ($24), a spring, summer, autumn, and winter 2D tree collection. www.geo-metricks.com

Changing Views

NxView Technologies NxView Player 4.0 enables users to experience and interact with 3D objects and environments on the Web. Available at no cost from the company's Web site, NxView Player 4.0 helps users view and manipulate any 3D objects such as electronics equipment, automobiles, and furniture within a virtual showroom environment by changing their positions, examining them from all angles, zooming in on details, trying out features, and adjusting lighting and object colors and textures. The player supports environment mapping to improve object reflections and alpha texture blending to add opacity to textures. NxView Player 4.0 supports environment mapping, alpha texture blending, "sniffer code" system analysis, full scene viewing, reduced component size, and specularity. For Windows 95/98/NT/2000. www.NxView.com.

Abby Albrecht is the Web editor for 3Dgate.com and an 80s music junkie. Send her news about technologies, products, and projects to [email protected].