X3D: Extensible 3D Graphics for Web Authors

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Morgan Kaufmann, Jul 19, 2010 - Computers - 472 pages
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In the early days of the Web a need was recognized for a language to display 3D objects through a browser. An HTML-like language, VRML, was proposed in 1994 and became the standard for describing interactive 3D objects and worlds on the Web. 3D Web courses were started, several best-selling books were published, and VRML continues to be used today. However VRML, because it was based on HTML, is a stodgy language that is not easy to incorporate with other applications and has been difficult to add features to. Meanwhile, applications for interactive 3D graphics have been exploding in areas such as medicine, science, industry, and entertainment. There is a strong need for a set of modern Web-based technologies, applied within a standard extensible framework, to enable a new generation of modeling & simulation applications to emerge, develop, and interoperate. X3D is the next generation open standard for 3D on the web. It is the result of several years of development by the Web 3D Consortium's X3D Task Group. Instead of a large monolithic specification (like VRML), which requires full adoption for compliance, X3D is a component-based architecture that can support applications ranging from a simple non-interactive animation to the latest streaming or rendering applications. X3D replaces VRML, but also provides compatibility with existing VRML content and browsers. Don Brutzman organized the first symposium on VRML and is playing a similar role with X3D; he is a founding member of the consortium. Len Daly is a professional member of the consortium and both Len and Don have been involved with the development of the standard from the start.
  • The first book on the new way to present interactive 3D content over the Web, written by two of the designers of the standard
  • Plentiful illustrations and screen shots in the full color text
  • Companion website with extensive content, including the X3D specification, sample code and applications, content creation tools, and demos of compatible Web browsers

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This is a good book for learning X3D. You can see example 3D scenes from the book in your web browser at this site:


Technical Overview
Geometry Nodes Part 1 Primitives
Grouping Nodes
Viewing and Navigation
Appearance Material and Textures
Geometry Nodes Part 2 Points Lines and Polygons
Event Animation and Interpolation
User Interactivity Nodes
Geometry Nodes Part 3 Geometry2D Nodes
Lighting and Environment Nodes
Environment Sensor and Sound Nodes
Geometry Nodes Part 4 Triangles and Quadrilaterals
Creating Prototype Nodes
Getting Involved

Event Utilities and Scripting

Common terms and phrases

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Page xxvi - He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Graphics (SIGGRAPH), and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).
Page 21 - Since XML is a text format and it uses tags to delimit the data, XML files are nearly always larger than comparable binary formats. That was a conscious decision by the designers of XML. The advantages of a text format are evident (see point 3), and the disadvantages can usually be compensated at a different level. Disk space...
Page 22 - Before XML there was SGML, developed in the early '80s, an ISO standard since 1986, and widely used for large documentation projects. The development of HTML started in 1990. The designers of XML simply took the best parts of SGML, guided by the experience...
Page 22 - XML is modular XML allows you to define a new document format by combining and reusing other formats. Since two formats developed independently may have elements or attributes with the same name, care must be taken when combining those formats (does "<p>" mean "paragraph" from this format or "person
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Page 21 - XSL is the advanced language for expressing style sheets. It is based on XSLT, a transformation language used for rearranging, adding and deleting tags and attributes. The DOM is a standard set of function calls for manipulating XML (and HTML) files from a programming language. XML Schemas 1 and 2 help developers to precisely define the structures of their own XML-based formats.

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About the author (2010)

Don Brutzman is a computer scientist and associate professor working in the Modeling Virtual Environments & Simulation (MOVES) Institute and Undersea Warfare Center at the Naval Postgraduate School. A former submarine officer, his research interests include underwater robotics, real-time 3D computer graphics, artificial intelligence, and high-performance networking. He is a board member of non-profit Sea Lab Monterey Bay, which is designing and building a youth-oriented year-round residential science camp. He is a founding member of the non-profit Web3D Consortium Board of Directors. Currently he leads the Extensible 3D (X3D) Working Group for the ISO X3D/VRML Specification, and directs development of the Extensible Modeling and Simulation Framework (XMSF).

Leonard Daly is president of Daly Realism, Inc., technical editor for e3D News, and treasurer of the Web3D Consortium. He has over 20 years of experience focusing on information visualization in a variety of industries including astronautics, oceanography, health care, and supply chain management. He has developed and supported numerous 3D projects in a variety of disciplines including astronautics, education, and multi-dimensional signal processing. He was a founding member and treasurer of the Los Angeles VRML User’s Group. His current work in X3D includes specification development, teaching, book authoring, and problem solving. He has organized and led the presentation of multiple courses on various topics in X3D at SIGGRAPH in 2002 and 2003 and the Web3D Symposium in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

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