Applications & Games related stories

Houdini v8.1 adds auto-rig, enhanced dynamics and COLLADA import

The new Houdini v8.1 features an animator-friendly Auto Rig, Muscle System, Character Picker, Pose Library and enhancements to the Rigid Body and Wire dynamic solvers. For artists who want to bring their work from other 3D animation packages into Houdini, Houdini 8.1 includes support for the import of geometry, lights, cameras, transformations and keyframe animation through COLLADA. Animated character rigs can also be imported as a hierarchy of keyframed null objects that can be used with Houdini 8.1’s new muscle tools.

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MOPET mobile fitness guide uses an OpenGL ES-rendered virtual trainer

MOPET is a PocketPC-based application that uses a GPS device to monitor a user's position and speed on outdoor fitness trails. In addition to map-based and audio navigation assistance, it also offers context-aware exercise demonstrations using an X3D Humanoid-Animation virtual trainer. When the user approaches a fitness trail station, the GPS identifies the station, and a humanoid demonstrates how to correctly perform the exercise. The application renders 3D on PocketPC using OpenGL ES 1.1 (Hybrid's Rasteroid) and for Intel 2700G-based devices (e.g. Dell Axim X50V) using OpenGL ES 1.0.

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3D-Test feature interview about COLLADA helps explain the difference between an “interchange” format and an “intermediate” format

This interview on 3D-Test discusses COLLADA and how it is a unique solution to simplify the workflow between the different tools and the game engine. It explains the difference between interchange formats and an intermediate format such as COLLADA, and how COLLADA is designed so that a content creator can split apart a document into component pieces (e.g. model, physics, shaders), each of which can be processed by the best tool, and then re-assembled in the final game or visualization engine.

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Using OpenGL ES-accelerated mobile phones for face to face collaborative augemented reality tennis

Wired features a story on how a study by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand used a pair of OpenGL ES enabled Nokia Series 60 phones in a game of Augmeted Reality Tennis - tennis played without a real ball, using a virtual tennis court model superimposed over the real world as seen through the mobile phone camera. Players interact by simply swinging their phones to hit it across a net, just as in ordinary tennis. The study notes that mobile phones have developed into an ideal platform for augmented reality because they have full colour displays, integrated cameras, fast processors, bluetooth for synchronization and dedicated OpenGL ES 3D graphics chips. When the player points the camera phone at the markers they see a virtual tennis court model superimposed over the real world. The full pdf paper discusses the sample application that was developed using peer to peer Bluetooth, vibration for tactile feedback and OpenGL ES for 3D graphics and visual overlays.

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Houdini v8.1 (beta) animation and FX software adds support for COLLADA import

Houdini is world renowned for visual effects (e.g. Spider Man, XMen, I Robot, The Wild) with a feature set that includes procedural modeling tools, animation tools which support key-framed or expression-based animation, motion editing, particle effects, dynamics, lighting, compositing, integrated rendering, and character rigging tools. The new Houdini v8.1 beta adds support for COLLADA import.

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Google Earth’s KML format v2.1 adds support for textures, LOD and COLLADA format import

KML V2.1 is announced and supported by the new Google Earth 4 (beta) and by Google Maps. KML 2.1 supports textures (add photos, patterns, and 2D graphics onto the surface of polygons for 3D models) level of detailing for both placemarks and imagery (to improve performance), hi-resolution imagery (four fold increase), and support for COLLADA. In KML 2.1, you can import 3D models—such as buildings, bridges, monuments, and statues—in the Collada interchange file format. Models are defined independently of Google Earth in their own coordinate space, using applications such as SketchUp, 3D Studio Max, Softimage XSI, or Maya. When a 3D model is imported into Google Earth, it is translated, rotated, and scaled to fit into the Earth coordinate system. Models already loaded into Google Earth can be repositioned and resized using the <Update> element, another new feature in KML 2.1.

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Collada 1.4 Plugin v0.2.56 for Blender adds UV and material support

The Collada 1.4 plugin for Blender (ColladaBlender) is a translator to and from the COLLADA format from the popular open source Blender 3D modeling animation and rendering suite. The new v0.2.56 adds support for UV and materials, and new GUI export.

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‘One - Who’s Next’ 3D fighting game supports OpenGL ES 1.1 hardware acceleration on Nokia N93

'ONE – Who’s Next?' is a 3D fighting game sequel to the popular 'One'. This sequel features more advanced graphics, including new scenarios adapted for landscape mode gaming on Nseries mobile computers. It runs fully OpenGL ES 1.1 hardware accelerated on the new Nokia N93. If you are wondering just what OpenGL ES 1.1 hardware acceleration means for the 'One - Who's Next?", check out their movie trailer. This trailer is 3D generated in real-time on the Nokia N93 with OpenGL ES 1.1 hardware acceleration.

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Collada 1.4.0 Plug-in for Blender (alpha v0.1)

The Collada 1.4.0 Plug-in for Blender is a script to import from and export to the Collada 1.4 format in Blender, the open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback . The plugin is a python script which runs through the Blender Python Interpretor and consists of two parts: The Collada 1.4.0 API is the converter between a Collada XML file (*.dae) and an object oriented representation of the Collada schema in Python. The Translator converts the Collada structure to Blender and vice versa. This early v0.1 release imports/exports geometry, lights, cameras, transformations and parent relationships.

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MobiX3D player v0.2 for X3D and Humanoid-Animation content using OpenGL ES on PocketPC and Intel 2700G

MobiX3D is a mobile player for X3D (the successor to VRML) and Humanoid-Animation content. The rendering engine of the MobiX3D player supports OpenGL ES and features transparency (alpha-blending), color and shading (wireframe, flat and gouraud shading supported), texturing, lighting, backface culling. The player makes use of the GLUT|ES toolkit. The v0.2 release binaries are available for PocketPC using OpenGL ES 1.1 (Hybrid's Rasteroid) and for Intel 2700G-based devices (e.g. Dell Axim X50V) using OpenGL ES 1.0.

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