I have been doing a lot of thinking and talking with people working in computer-based 3D graphics to determine what the next generation of X3D should look like. There are important considerations and practices that need to be addressed. This post is an attempt to summarize the current state of X3D and the industry (primarily non-X3D) process of creating 3D scene. The next part will outline some of the options for the next generation.
In starting any new effort, it is important to identify the goals of the project. Goals are important because they provide a focus for the most desired outcome. They are not necessarily the destination of a project, as there are a number of factors that may limit (or expand) the initial goals.
I am working on developing the standard for the next generation of declarative 3D graphics. The current version is called X3D. At this time that name I am using for this is X3D V4. Final naming is not up to me.
For 20 years, the Web3D Consortium has developed and maintained a open, royalty free, ISO ratified and well documented standardized markup language for transmitting and displaying 3D content on the web called X3D.
This is a short rant on Virtual Reality as seen by some people in Hollywood. First, by "Hollywood", I mean the general community of movie directors and producers that have their story to tell and you WILL watch it. They seem to believe that "Reality" means sitting a watching. You don't get to explore, you don't get to push buttons or pull levers, throw the ball, swing a stick, or jump off the roof. Everything that you can do in real life and probably did as a kid. I'm beginning to think they have gotten old already.
Smart phones and tablets with recent releases of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer can display 3D models from the Web. These devices also have internal sensors that tell the browser about its orientation.
Not all mobile devices and browsers correctly report the device orientation. According the the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Working Draft 1 from December 2011 "DeviceOrientation Event Specification" the orientation is given by three angles representing compass direction (α), tilt (β), and rotation (γ). The 0 values for these is with the device flat, screen up, pointed North.
Maya is used for a lot of 3D modeling. Modelers frequently save their completed work in a FBX file. FBX is a proprietary format designed by Autodesk (check this). In addition to the model, it contains the textures, rigging, and animation. It is a very convieient format, if you have an appropriate library of other tool to unpack it. Blender is an open-source modeling program. There is an FBX importer in Blender that handles many of the features and variations of the FBX format.