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Universal 3D File Format In The Works

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the clothing-optional dept.

Graphics 464

telstar writes "The Register is reporting that more than 30 companies are working together to define a new file format intended to serve as a universal 3D file format. The new file format will be named the 'Universal 3D Format', or U3D. According to the article, they hope to make the new format as standard as MP3 has become for audio, and JPEG has become for 2D images. Interesting that they would choose two lossy media formats as models for comparison."

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464 comments

Really bad examples to pick... (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933019)

Not only did they pick two lossy formats to use as examples, both MP3 [mp3licensing.com] and JPEG [forgent.com] are patent-encumbered formats. (The validity of the Forgent patent on a piece of JPEG is a bit of a still-contested issue... but I'll leave that to others to discuss.) If you want to write a program using either of those formats, you're going to have to pay the toll.

Let's hope U3D is able to stay clear of such entanglements. Having a patent involved in a file format makes it questionable if FOSS can legally use the format.

JPEG patent is bullshit (5, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933064)

You have a point with MP3, but the author of BurnAllGIFs.org [burnallgifs.org] seems to think the JPEG patent wouldn't stand up in a court of law.

Re:JPEG patent is bullshit (4, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933183)

Maybe so, but at least they have a patent number, which is further along than anything SCO's been able to come up with.

Re:JPEG patent is bullshit (4, Funny)

Phexro (9814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933302)

And if there's anyone in the patent lawyer field who's studied the issues and has a valid opinion on this issue, it's that BurnAllGIFS.org guy.

I mean, come on. 'BurnAllGIFS.' It practically reeks of professionalism and years of law school.

As an aside, I have this CD full of GIFs I burned, but nobody ever told me what I was supposed to do with them after I burned them. Anyone?

Re:Really bad examples to pick... (5, Interesting)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933086)

Let's hope U3D is able to stay clear of such entanglements. Having a patent involved in a file format makes it questionable if FOSS can legally use the format.

In the first line of the article, it says that Microsoft is involved with developing the format. Maybe I'm cynical, but I have little to no faith that this will come out as an open standard. We all know about Microsoft's SOP with respect to actual open standards that they've "enhanced". With them in on the ground floor on this one, I think it's doomed to be proprietary.

Re:Really bad examples to pick... (2, Insightful)

sampowers (54424) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933163)

XML

Re:Really bad examples to pick... (1)

LordHatrus (763508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933144)

Even GIF now... licensing the way to make gifs... arghh!!!

Re:Really bad examples to pick... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933199)

The GIF patent has expired. You are allowed to freely do things with GIF now.

Thank you for being up to date on all of your legal technical issues.

Re:Really bad examples to pick... (4, Insightful)

frenetic3 (166950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933173)

This is all kind of a silly nitpick. Those issues are completely orthogonal. They are obviously citing these formats because they are ubiquitous and the prevailing format for their media type... if a kid said "I want to be a great basketball player, like Michael Jordan", saying "But damn, he was so shitty at baseball!" is kind of irrelevant. (Hope you enjoy the crackheaded analogy :P)

-fren

Re:Really bad examples to pick... (4, Insightful)

Docrates (148350) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933174)

I disagree. I think their comparisson is based on the ubiquity of those formats and not on their technical quality or legal status.

In that case, it's a very good example, only not a slashdot-compliant one.

Re:Really bad examples to pick... (1, Redundant)

Venner (59051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933275)

My first that was to say exactly what you did :)
I think they were going for ubiquitousness (or is it ubiquity?), rather than pure utility.

I mean, I'd love to be able to replace 'Jpeg' with 'PNG' in that sentence, but it probably ain't gonna' happen.

Oh knock it off (3, Insightful)

Brad Mace (624801) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933289)

Interesting that they would choose two lossy media formats as models for comparison
No. It's not interesting at all. They are merely refering to their near universal popularity, nothing more. You can all quit trying to make a big deal out of nothing now.

Re:Really bad examples to pick... (3, Insightful)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933292)

I believe the references to JPEG and MP3 were just examples of other popular standards, not meant to point out patent-encumbered standards.

That being said, the companies involved are all heavy users of patents, in many cases aggresively. They're also using ECMA as their standards body, who has a very premissive policy on patents [ecma-international.org] . For anybody who reads that link, "reasonable and non-discrimantory licensing" means "everybody who uses this 'standard' can be made to cough up some dough."

So yes, in all likelyhood, this "standard" will be patent-encumbered and will require any new kids on the block to pay what will likely be extortion-rate fees (though they'll be "reasonable" fees in that any multinational with billions in the bank can afford them). The companies involved in creating the standard (the ones who don't like competition and in some cases have been convicted for price-fixing and illegal monopolistic practices) will simply cross-license the relevant patents amongst themselves, meaning they're free to implement it without cost.

Lossiness? No, try patents (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933025)

Interesting that they would choose two lossy media formats as models for comparison.

Would one really notice slight noise in the coordinates of points of a mesh or in texel color values?

Frankly, I'm more worried about this from the article:

the intention is to create a way of encoding 3D data as freely available as MP3 for audio

MP3 is not free [mp3licensing.com] . Will Intel or one of Intel's licensors pull a Unisys [burnallgifs.org] after this format has become popular? Apparently, the 3D Industry Forum's FAQ page [3dif.org] doesn't even contain the word "patent".

Re:Lossiness? No, try patents (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933048)

Would one really notice slight noise in the coordinates of points of a mesh or in texel color values?

Uhm... yes... it'd create a jittery effect that could make a mess of things when it comes times to convert the rendered output to an MPEG.

Control mesh noise with a slider (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933126)

[coordinate noise would] create a jittery effect

In skeletal animation, noise in the mesh would move more or less rigidly with each bone, creating a bit of roughness but no jitter. In non-skeletal animation, one could move a slider to increase the precision with which the animation tool stores coordinates. Remember that even 64-bit floating point isn't perfect.

There's a page for this on the ECMA site... (5, Informative)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933028)

...right here [ecma-international.org] .

There's also a separate 3DIF [3dif.org] site.

CX (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933029)


will allow 3D data to be more easily incorporated into other apps, such as web browsers

I hope the Christmas Island people get their act together before this becomes widely used... the horror... the horror...

3D what? (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933035)

3D maps?
3D wireframes?
3D solid objects?
3D interior spaces?

JPEG != MP3, and wishing will not make disparate needs and functionality the same.

Re:3D what? (4, Funny)

ZiggyPiggy (766401) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933194)

3D Porn!!!

Re:3D what? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933225)

Given actual consumer applications of 3D graphics technology, I'll guess that the format stores a mesh and links to texture files (possibly PNG, JPEG, or JNG).

No, I can't Read The F___ Site. When I try to look deeper into the issue, I get 401 Authorization Required. No, I can't just create an account because the form to create an account [3dif.org] is available only to employed persons ("Company: (required)").

Universal 3D File Format (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933044)

Universal 3D File Format...

What's it all about?

Is it good, or is it whack?

Re:Universal 3D File Format (0)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933170)

Hooray! I've missed this troll. All on one line please though, I'm a stickler for tradition.

Lossy (5, Insightful)

martingunnarsson (590268) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933045)

Interesting that they would choose two lossy media formats as models for comparison

Yeah, they're probably working on a lossy 3D format. Duh.
The fact that MP3 and JPEG are lossy formats doesn't have anything to do with this, and no, it's not "interesting".

Re:Lossy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933124)

Of course it will be lossy. Unless they plan to use it to map atoms.

Re:Lossy (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933141)

Therefore, better comparisons to align themselves would have been BMP for 2d images and WAV for audio... both of which are elementry enough to avoid patent scares which mostly center over compression routines.

Re:Lossy (1)

martingunnarsson (590268) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933247)

The note sais "they hope to make the new format as standard as MP3 has become for audio, and JPEG has become for 2D images". It doesn't say anything about compression or other things like that.

Re:Lossy (3, Insightful)

The Kow (184414) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933262)

Therefore, better comparisons to align themselves would have been BMP for 2d images and WAV for audio... both of which are elementry enough to avoid patent scares which mostly center over compression routines

Oh come on, the point of the analogy was just to bring to light how far they wanted to take adoption, reading anything into the lossiness of the respective formats is trifling and borderline pedantic.

Re:Lossy (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933283)


but not ubiquitous

not evreyone thinks 'aha, a bmp is what I store images in'

or 'aha, a wav file suits my audio storage needs'

.3ds (2, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933046)

Ok, so its ASSOCIATED with some random application (3d studio max), but ANYTHING that does 3d will read/write to a .3ds file, if they take themselves seriously. Whats wrong with that?

Blender doesn't know .3ds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933085)

How these people can omit this common format is absolutely mind boggling.

Re:.3ds (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933140)

You must mean that ANYTHING that does 3D will read/write to an Autocad file... ;)

They've even nicely documented the format for you: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?id=75256 9&siteID=123112

Re:.3ds (4, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933184)

You have an excellent point, but if the company choses to change the format, that causes hell until all the other apps can keep up, granted, users of this kind of program are generally a lot more savvy than those of MS Office, it is still a pain to remember to "save as...". It definitely happens in many version changes of AutoCAD, AutoDesk at one time owned 3D Studio, and I don't think that is necessarily out of their system.

Re:.3ds (1)

lowe0 (136140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933327)

They still own discreet, last I heard....

lossy formats interest? (5, Insightful)

quelrods (521005) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933053)

How was choosing lossy formats even mildly interesting? That comparison was only for the purpose of pointing out that well defined standards for some audio and images exist. I would think fighting between 3d-studio and every other 3d graphics program allows for little to no transfering. Think every 3d program writing it's own non published file format and then think about having 1 published standard that everyone uses. Things like word and excel as open standards would also be nice.

Then what is "lossless"? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933261)

Is there such thing as a lossless representation of mesh coordinates? Any operation on coordinates, such as rotation or scaling, will introduce roundoff noise. I'll guess that "lossy" means that the user of a 3D tool can specify the precision with which the tool stores coordinates in a file.

What about VRML (4, Interesting)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933060)

Why haven't I heard anything about that 3d format in the past 5 years.

Is it not scalable or something?

I was always under the impression that it was as open as html.

Re:What about VRML (4, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933097)

I was going to ask the same thing. VRML was going to replace the web with cool virtual environments, there was once a whole lot of buzz around it.

I would like to know what's lacking in VRML. A lack of foresight (didnt plan ahead for programmable pixel shaders, funtional textures, etc)?

And if it's that sort of problem, how can this new format not fall into the same traps, since the authors likely don't have magical crystal balls that tell them what types of information GPUs of the future will want to store.

Re:What about VRML (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933315)


early implementations pretty much killed vrml, not because the format was particularly lacking but constraints in bandwidth, lack of hardware acceleration etc.

Now it is tainted with those memories, proabably never to be seen again.

Re:What about VRML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933320)

Between Platinum buying up the tools (Cosmo et al) used to produce VRML and sitting on them, and the vague promises that VRML would wash your dog and wax your car.. It failed. Twice.

The first time, nobody had a computer that could render the geometry. The second time, they tried to re-vitalize it by jumping onto the XML bandwagon, and did so too slowly. Both times, they vaguely promised everything, and delivered much less.

Pixel shaders were not common in hardware during the second rise/fall of VRML, so it's not like the format suffered from not supporting the shiniest tech around.

After failing twice to catch on, essentially nobody wants to give it a chance to fail again. Mind you, it's not completely DEAD, merely not mainstream.

Re:What about VRML (1)

IshanCaspian (625325) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933336)

Well, maybe the problem is that no one wants to deal with walking around a 3d world when they just want some text. The web is fundamentally a text-based medium...leave the 3d stuff to the video games.

Re:What about VRML (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933286)

I was always under the impression that it was as open as html.

Just because it's open doesn't mean that it's a useable standard. I don't think that any sane person today would consider VRML any kind of "standard" any more than Netscape (the browser) is a "standard".

It might be something like this: (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933321)

Someone says: "oooh, this should be updated to a valid XML DTD and such and such", since it's just begging for it.

But flash and Quicktime started being used extensively by developers, and each has a "solution" for viewing 3D models that's just as useful as featureful as a seperate VRML browser might be. So targeting VRML became kinda pointless because other more common frameworks had support, and there are excellent content creation tools for those environments.

So no one had any reason to keep the VRML standard going.

Also VRML is presentation oriented, which makes it only useful at the "edge". You don't keep the files around, but you have the original models. So it sort of quietly disappears.

It sounds like U3D will be useful both for a workflow and for archival (and hence presentation) purposes. I think it's probably the right time to tackle that and design it with lessons learned.

Re:What about VRML (1)

MouseR (3264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933326)

The only reason VRML was ever brought up was to keep Apple's QTVR from becoming too popular with developers. It pretty much worked. Barely any development is being done with QTVR. Let alone VRML.

I've seen sample QTVR scenes with embedded hot spots, URLs and QT Sprites (water ripples, fires and smoke puffs). That would have made killing web sites, games and (!) easter eggs.

Re:What about VRML (3, Insightful)

Mithrandir (3459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933340)

It's more than scalable. It's gone into real world usage. No longer hyped, people are just using it for real applications and data transfer.

VRML is as open as HTML, it's an ISO specification. There's the next revision of it going through ISO process right now called X3D (final ISO vote on the IS acceptance ends June 30, so see an announcment at Siggraph). X3D takes all the good stuff from VRML and expands it again to allow for multiple different encoding strategies (VRML-style, XML, binary etc) and componentises the spec to add a lot of different things.

One forming defacto standard... (4, Interesting)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933062)

Kaydara Motionbuilder (.fbx I think) files seem to be becoming one of the defacto standard file formats for 3D - it stores mesh, bone, and UVW/texture information (to my knowledge), as well as animation info and most of the major apps now have Kaydara support.

Re:One forming defacto standard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933128)

yeah,
and you should check out their Quicktime "codec" plugin - basically this lets you view a Kaydara file anywhere quicktime works (in a browser, for instance).

so.... (4, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933065)

U3D will get a head start due to early release and saturate the market with crappy files while formats with better compression and quality are ignored by the public because "it's good enough"

I can't see 3D graphics! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933068)

I use a WYSE terminal, you insensative clod!

Re:I can't see 3D graphics! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933304)

okay wyse guy

Blender support (5, Interesting)

TexasDex (709519) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933069)

I certainly hope this will be a royalty-free (as in beer) and restriction free (as in speech) format.

But...

One restriction I wouldn't mind, however, is the same sort of compatibility requirement that JAVA has: If something follows the format, it MUST follow it exactly and have no proprietary extentions. This tripped up MS when they tried to hijack JAVA for their own nefarious purposes.

Just my views on this...

Re:Blender support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933181)

... am I the only one who read the parent's title as "Bender support"? (ref: Futurama)

Re:Blender support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933223)

I certainly won't support this format if it's like MP3....(in licencing)

Re:Blender support (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933313)

One restriction I wouldn't mind, however, is the same sort of compatibility requirement that JAVA has: If something follows the format, it MUST follow it exactly and have no proprietary extentions.

This could cause problems. While 3D graphics is a fairly mature field, there are still additions being made to it. Will the format have support for textures? How about mipmaps? Ripmaps? Procedural textures? Some new concept that's about to be introduced?

XML? (1)

TrentL (761772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933335)

Before I even finished reading this headline, the words "XML" went through my mind. This seems like the obvious choice, especially if you want to pipe it to web browsers.

And what's all this talk about losiness? Aren't most 3D formats essentially groups of points and lines?

PS: Blender rules.

Standards (5, Funny)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933072)

The Register is reporting that more than 30 companies are working together to define a new file format intended to serve as a universal 3D file format.

I forget who said it, but I think this fits very well: "The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."

Re:Standards (4, Informative)

breon.halling (235909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933239)

According to this [ucl.ac.uk] , it was Grace Hopper [sdsc.edu] .

What (1)

Zrech (578331) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933074)

They really meant was how popular the two formats are... everyone even your grandma has heard of an mp3 player, and jpeg is very popular image format.

Notorious (0, Troll)

hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933222)

Slashdotters are notorious for extending comparisons and metaphors to unbelievable lengths in order to:

a) prove they are "correct"
b) prove someone else is "incorrect"
c) bring the discussion around to something they understand and can talk about. You know the ol' number_of_people_able_to_discuss_subject being inversely proportional to amount_of_knowledge_required_to_participate_in_dis cussion

heh. gotta love 'em.

Re:Notorious P.I.G. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933341)

Slashdotters aren't notorious period. Random anonymous nerds shouldn't have such an inflated sense of self-importance.

Get over yourselves, losers!

As universal as mp3.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933084)

So are they gonna ask for royalties from everyone that uses the format?

What about computing standards? (1)

SeaDour (704727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933102)

Will this new universal 3D standard specify a certain graphical capability? I think it'd be great if developers could use this format to make clean, effective 3D images that run well on older, less hardware-intensive machines that don't necessarily have the latest nVidia or ATI cards in them.

Re:What about computing standards? (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933266)

That's certainly something I'd be worried about...

A universal format has to be used everywhere(in theory) yet most games(for instance) avoid anything that isn't uber-optimized for a specific "target" which in many cases translates to a subset of one or two platforms.

Is U3D going to be a standard for ray tracing/modeling?
For 3d games?
For 3d web environments?
Only for static objects, or also for movement?

For all of the above? How will it perform well on environments which are so very disparate? (3d movement modeling can have much tighter tolerances, for instance, than 3d web environments, in terms of precision.)

Will it be like opengl was/used to be, yet patent-free? Or QuickTime 3d?

Or are we talking about another beast entirely?

It's interesting that the article already wants an "extensible" format, yet doesn't say the extensions themselves have to be covered by the standard.
(theoretical conversion, using a lame analogy)
-"You can have a graphic 3d format"
-"Cool! How big are the files?"
-"Very small if you use the compression extension"
-"How do I get that?"
-"3000$/display node"
-"What? but this is a standard for cripes sake!"
-"Yes it is, but nothing in the standard says anything about compression, that's covered by an extension, so you either take 1Gb files, or you pay for compression"

Danger, Danger... (5, Insightful)

M0nkfish (620414) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933118)

"they hope that such a standard will allow 3D data to be more easily incorporated into other apps, such as web browsers, to make 3D imagery more widespread" Web browsers?!? I really hope not. I find the idea of a banner ad requiring a minimum of a GeForce 4 and pixel shader support offensive. "Shoot the 3D rendered monkey in each limb and win a prize!" *shudder*

Re:Danger, Danger... (3, Funny)

jamshid42 (218149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933231)

Yes, but just think of applying this standard to pr0n sites.....

Again? (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933123)


We had VRML.

And an XML based X3D (?)

Were those other formats that bad that we need U3D?

Re:Again? (1)

norwoodites (226775) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933201)

More than just that we also had a binary format for VRML also, which was based on Quickdraw3D's format IIRC.

X3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933303)

X3D is finally starting to get support by some software

X3D homepage:
http://www.web3d.org/ [web3d.org]

They do seem to be backed by some large companies.

How come when I see the Register's front page... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933134)

...I get the feeling I'm looking at the Net based, IT version of the National Inquirer?

Pro/Engineer (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933135)

Intel uses Pro/Engineer in many of their operations. Back when I worked for PTC I used to talk to them al the time. It will be interesting to see what format Pro/Engineer adopts in the future and if they don't go with this if Intel switches to something else.

Yet another closed proprietary format ... (2, Insightful)

darthcamaro (735685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933138)

Aren't there enough proprietary 3d formats already! It's time for an open source / free software GPL type format. Maybe SGI now that they love Linux can work with the community to free up some of their proprietary standards and make it really happen.

What, no patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933139)

I'm guessing that Microsoft will come up with something called "Universal File Format MS" with all sorts of patented extensions.

I guess I'm becoming cynical.

good god (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933148)

SCOX stock down to $6.80! [cnn.com]

it's bombed in the past few days! I didn't realize it.

Could be good (5, Interesting)

JaxWeb (715417) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933149)

It is annoying when given a 3D engine, it cannot load a 3D Format which happens to be the only one that your 3d Modeller can export to. I would be happy for that problem to disappear!

But how general will it be? If it can handle detailed CAD models, and open landscape, and UT2003 style maps, high polygon characters and so on, then will it end up being unspace-effective for all of them?

Is there a reason why right now 3DS seems to be the nearest to a standard we have, when it doesn't even have many features?

JPEG might be the standard for images, but it isn't used for everything: Sometimes PNG and TIFF are used for particular reasons. TGA and PNG for example support Alpha channels, while JPEG does not. My friend draws pictures, and sometimes she gets good compression with JPEG, but sometimes the quality loss is terrible. Sometimes GIF is better, or something PNG is. And then there are vector graphics.

MP3 is nearly a standard, but we use OGG for political/legal reasons, or a lossless format when that is important. Real is often used when the sound needs to be streaming.

So, really, how useful will this standard be? And how free?

Lossy 3d? (3, Funny)

Traicovn (226034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933157)

"Interesting that they would choose two lossy media formats as models for comparison."

Well, this is probably a sign that the new 3d format will probably reduce 3d files to 2d or 2.5d. So you'll lose some of the third dimension when you save in it.

MP3 is the audio standard? (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933158)

Just ask microsoft

Re:MP3 is the audio standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933210)

>Just ask microsoft ... or Apple.

Oh wait, iTunes and iPod DO support MP3. So does Microsoft Media Player.

Nothing to see here, bad comment. Move along now.

As one person Reluctantly in the 3D industry (4, Interesting)

eadint (156250) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933160)

Actually i really hope that his works.
about a year ago i started doing 3D animations, this year i wanted to buy a collection of 3D models but in the end i found that 1 the app that i use has terrible support for model importing (blender) and 2 there are two many different formats out there. someone previosly mentioned 3ds but thats the stupidest thing ive ever heard because 1 its proprietary 2 it sucks. the closest thing to a standard is the .obj format. but even blender has a hard time with uv mapping in that area. as far as lossy, there is no such thing, 3d models dont work that way a model has so many meshes so many polygons and so many textures, how you choose to render it determines the lossyness of it. nut a u3d standard would be great because than i could buy models from anyone and know they would work.
and for the 3ds guy your modeling software sucks and is a POS.

finally! we will be able to embrace 3d (2)

baxterux (575852) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933162)

from a multimedia point of view, we have been trying to make flash animation support 3d but no format was light enough and easy to render, with director mx, we have 3d objects but the format is proprietary for macromedia and u have to transform every element and the rendering is without shadows and lights. a decent open 3d format is exactly what we (as multimedia developpers) need to take us to the next level to deliver virtual interactive environments.

Comparison to formats... (3, Informative)

ItMustBeEsoteric (732632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933165)

Most likely has to do with the fact that .mp3 and .jpeg are ubiquitous more so than anything. If they said, for example, .FLAC, they would have confuzlled the hell out of a good chunk of people.

Re:Comparison to formats... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933226)

True, but they could have gone for GIF and WAV.

WHY? (1)

hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933167)

Seriously, can someone tell me why this is needed/wanted? (Besides the ub3r factor.)

I fail to see how this will be successfull... (4, Interesting)

SwansonMarpalum (521840) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933192)

As there are so many different ways to represent the geometric structure of a 3D object that tie to the engine rendering that object. The fact of the matter is that 3D graphics rendering is still a non-trivial problem which requires optimizations for the use in question. Just about any piece of hardware still in use can handle JPEG and MP3 without a notable performance hit.

3D applications still push the limits of the hardware they run on and are keyed for specific intents; 3D games sacrifice detail and accuracy of modeling the interaction of light on surfaces for speed, while povray and RenderMan go for full hardcore ray tracing to make sure each pixel on the screen is accurately representing a reflective light model to the capacity of their respective engines.

Sadly, I don't think this arena has trivialized to a one size fits all format yet.

I predict... (2, Funny)

sp00j (770937) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933193)


It will be XML based (i.e. text file with tags), use MIME to encode bitmaps, and be so bloated you will need a 10GHz P5 with 4GB of RAM just to render a rotating "Hello, World!" file...

Dear lord... (3, Funny)

MattRog (527508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933196)

... let it not be XML-based. If there is a God in heaven he will not let it be in XML!

Lossy 3D FIle Format? (2, Funny)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933202)

U2.9998999D?

The standardization would benefit consumers more (3, Funny)

switcha (551514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933207)

Interesting that they would choose two lossy media formats as models for comparison.

Ooooor, it's interesting that they compared it to a few formats that have allowed real people with real-world storage capacity to enjoy/share media of different flavors.

"Dude, you should see this 3D monster I created! Just let me plug my iEverything into the accompanying 70 lb. iRenderFarm."

Apple? SGI? (1)

SewersOfRivendell (646620) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933217)

Without Apple (OpenGL), SGI (OpenGL), or Sun (Java3D), this is going to die a quick death as a "universal format," at least in the consumer marketplace.

30 companies? Good luck trying to get an agreement (2, Interesting)

tstoneman (589372) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933228)

I have enough trouble getting 5 people to agree on where to go for dinner or for which movie to go see... and we're all friends!

These guys want to get 30 companies to agree to one specific file format that would probably have an impact on the work they do???

Good luck!

Lossy my foot (1, Redundant)

SnprBoB86 (576143) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933232)

Who cares if the formats are lossy?

It says "they hope to make the new format as standard as MP3 has become for audio, and JPEG has become for 2D images". JPEG and Mp3 are well known media formats. All they were trying to say is that they want the format to be well adopted!

How is it going to handle programmable shaders? (1)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933237)

This is the big question to my mind. Comments on the 3DIF site indicate that the format will support materials. If they don't support programmable shaders, they'll be excluding most of the interesting stuff happening in 3D at the moment. If they do support programmable shaders, how are they going to handle the plethora of incompatible shader definition languages (OpenGL's GLSLang, Direct3D's HLSL, NVIDIA's Cg etc) in a suitable platform-neutral manner?

pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933251)

small article about some people having way too much time on their hands, trying to re-invente the wheel and dissing a file format, because it is proprietary? WTF? diss it because it is closed. CAD is opened.

So, basically it's a scam... (1)

DroopyStonx (683090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933257)

In particular, they hope that such a standard will allow 3D data to be more easily incorporated into other apps, such as web browsers, to make 3D imagery more widespread - and, in turn, boost demand for faster processors and graphics chips.

I see what's goin on here. Microsoft and Intel... always making things unnecessarily bloated just to convince people that they always need to keep upgrading their CPUs!

So this is basically a "no one has any reason to buy our 3 ghz chips, so let's force them into doing it by making a 'standard'!"

1D vs 2D vs 3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933259)

They want to make 3D content be as widespread as 2D (images) and 1D (audio) content? Creating a universal file format only benefits hardware manufacturers, really. 3D content is still markedly harder to author than pictures or sound, regardless of the file format being used.

Too late. (1)

InvaderSkooge (615857) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933263)

We already have a standard 3d format:

Animated .gifs.

How about copy protection ? (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933280)

What I don't quite understand is how copy protection of 3d models will be addressed.
Imagine some indie studio extracts models, modifies the mesh so no one will be able to say it's the same model, and use it in own project, to save money on top-notch modeller.
Not saying it's too bad of course - in general scheme of things everyone wins, but... Won't big studios just say "fuck it" and convert to propertiary formats then ?
Interoperability is great of course.

MP3 and JPEG (2, Offtopic)

Boing (111813) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933281)

The lossiness of MP3 and JPEG was only relevant because it allowed the actual files to become small enough to transmit over slow connections and fit on small hard drives. Additionally, while they may be lossy, the "lost" information goes completely unnoticed by the end-user, 99.99% of the time. If they come up with a convenient way of storing 3D information that is "lossy" but doesn't lose anything that will be missed, then more power to them.

Additionally, the demand for small files, and therefore for MP3 and JPEG, draws on preexisting "content" sets that are enormous; all the audio data ever recorded (including in analog media), and all the static, 2D visual data ever recorded (including photos, texts, drawings, etc). By comparison, there are currently relatively few recordings of true 3D data; and the present uses of that recorded data are so specialized that a general file format would probably be insufficient anyway.

So the day that Wal-mart starts selling digital cameras that laser-scan the whole room and render a complete 3D model, and the day they start selling holographic projectors for those 3D models, at prices that are reasonable for personal use, then there will be a market for a generic 3D file format.

Why Lossy Matters (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8933323)

Lossy becomes interesting when you start proposing using 3D data for something that matters. Imagine a data format that is 30% lossy. If you try to apply that data to a medical application where the granularity of the data matters, it won't work. I think that's why the comparison to two lossy media formats is interesting. Sure, there's a whole other ball of wax with the JPEG and MP3 licensing issues, but precision matters when you're talking about more than just flying around some silly map on a website.

(alt) solutions for diametrically opposed needs (1)

brahms3 (668893) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933329)

Yet again I suspect the ideal of striving for a format that is to be universal enough to cntain the whim of each individual's perceived wants. So one guy wants a lean mean 3d rendering browser machine, while somebody else wants an ultra high-res VR format for rendering the cosmos together with different behavioural and physical law models. So what happens: either an inadequate format for the one, or a massively complicated overkill spec for lighter requirements. If they can bound the problem of 3D rendering (like they did with 640k of RAM:/) then they might have a chance. A format like HTML is simple and limited which is why it is still so pervasive. "Universal" is becoming a synonym for "One of Many"

The only question that matters (2, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 10 years ago | (#8933338)

The only question that matters:

IS IT PATENT ENCUMBERED?

All other issues are secondary.
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