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Proposal For a Standard 3D Format on Wikipedia

19

book.jpgMichael Tiemann, VP of Open Source Affairs at Red Hat and BlenderNation reader, has posted a suggestion at Wikipedia's Village Pump to adopt the COLLADA format for publishing 3D content.

Michael writes:

The .dae extension is for the COLLADA format (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COLLADA). I would like to contribute some 3D models that I have authored using PD, CC:AT, and/or CC:SA:AT licenses. The first 3D model I'd like to submit is publicly available at http://people.redhat.com/tiemann/unitcube.dae and is licensed "Public Domain" by me. It is the unit cube. I hope this will open the floodgates for other modelers to begin adding their own creative 3D works with appropriate Wikipedia licensing. I hope that this proposal will result in the acceptance of .dae files by the wikipedia site rules.

Do you remember when you were a kid you had these books that when you opened them would have these paper structures pop out? I just couldn't shake that image when I read this - imagine being able to illustrate how a steam engine or windmill works by adding a fully animated 3D model with an article!

You can support Michael's proposal by simply editing it and adding your comments directly below it. (Take a look at some other proposals to see how others do it). Needless to say, the adoption of COLLADA by Wikipedia could lead to more people using Blender to create content.

About Collada

We've reported about COLLADA before, but let me refresh your memory:

COLLADA ("COLLAborative Design Activity") is a royalty free, open standard for the interactive entertainment industry that defines an XML-based schema for 3D authoring applications to freely exchange digital assets without loss of information. This enables multiple software packages to be combined into extremely powerful tool chains. COLLADA support programmable shaders authored and packaged using OpenGL ES Shading Language so that leading 3D authoring tools can work effectively together to create OpenGL ES applications and assets.

COLLADA is a hot topic in the industry right now and it is backed by Khronos, the consortium supporting open standards for computer graphics (including OpenGL ES).

Blender already has a rather good COLLADA import and export filter. Thanks to the developer, Pieter Visser of Illusoft, the latest version of the Blender COLLADA importer/exporter (found at http://colladablender.illusoft.com/) has basic animation support as well as armature, skinning, and physics support. And more functionality is on the way as part of the Dutch version of the 'Summer of Code'.

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

19 Comments

  1. The COLLADA specification itself lends so much more than Web3D, VRML/X3D, or DXF ever could (e.g. physics simulation and armature support). Having the .dae format as a Wikipedia standard is nothing less than the best solution for sharing 3D content, especially since it has been heavily adopted by Softimage (XSI), Autodesk (3DS Max/Maya), and Blender.

  2. sounds good to me. Its really a pain in the ass having to convert all these formats especially when using a game engine renderer such as Ogre and all its fabulously complicated directory trees =/

    I'm for it.

  3. COLLADA is definately the best interchange format I have worked with. One thing though is that since it is textual (xml), files of larger meshes quickly grows rather big. Maybe it would be an idea to also standardize on a compression method.

    -Pelle

  4. Collada definitely sounds good as a standard format. I wonder how this would impact the big industries and Indies? :D
    By having collada as a standard an art team could use up to 5 different 3d packages and still able to exchange information without worry out about importing to different formats and back.

  5. Collada sounds good, but the import/export for blender is definitely not complete.
    Maybe for static scenes its enough, but when it come to animated character export, there is still a long way. Just look at progress page, all the animation stuff is "not started jet".

    So, I hope that the fact that wikipedia adopts collada will boost the Collada plugin project.

  6. I'm a bit of a pessimistic optimist (I know - oxymoron) when it comes to interchange. Having "one true standard" will reduce the problems associated with interchange but will almost certainly not eliminate them. There are simply too many variables. The Collada spec is going to change, plug-ins for each of the packages are going to change. The packages themselves are going to change. Keeping it all in sync is going to be a challenge. However, it will be less of a challenge with a single, open, interchange format than with dozens of proprietary formats like we had before Collada existed.

    Re. the import/export for Blender - it's not full-featured yet, true, but its developers are very hard at work and re very active in the developer's mailing list. It seems like they've been working on the armature problem most recently, which is of course necessary in order to get a good animation implementation down. It won't be long now, especially if more developers commit to it. It's also interesting to note that many other import/export filters are completely incapable of describing animation (LWO springs to mind), so it's good to know that Collada itself can handle animation, even if Blender's filter doesn't do it yet.

  7. I prefer VRML - there are a lot of free plugins for nearly every operating system/browser (java) and nearly every "3D-Software" has an export-option for VRML.

    VRML could be enough in the most cases. I don't need armatures for technical illustrations and set the creaseAngle-value if i don't want polygons. File-Size is also no problem with gzip.

    But ... why not 2 formats?

  8. why not 100? lol

    *pat pat*

    One format would naturally dominate while the 2nd would be for the hold outs who just wanna annoy people by refusing to release any files under any other format =;

    I'm all about individuality but I don't think that 3d softwares file formats are the best way to express that individuality. =p Content, maybe, format, just cumbersome. I just kind of roll my eyes whenever I'm about the export a model. Then I have to squint my eyes and fine the obscure little extension that I need to be using for that particular moment. pfft.

    Besides, 2 would mutate into 3 within a week.

  9. RE: Early Ehlinger ,Thanks, it ís a huge amount of work. Especially for 1 person. It's true that there are a lot of variables that can not be converted to Blender (and vice versa) without loosing informatioin. That's why the plug-in is not going as fast as I hoped.

    On the other hand, when most of the 3D packages manage to create a decent plug-in (and keep it updated ;) ), everybody can use their favorite in a development pipeline.

    The animation support in the plug-in is getting better. I'm still not there yet, but there is a nice solution the way bones are imported from Collada to Blender (thanks to Horace). Every day I get something closer to a great plug-in.

    I hope everybody using the plug-in could help me out with using the bug-tracker and sending me animation files. (both Collada and Blender). thx.

    - Pieter

  10. OK, why not 100?

    There are 3 different main formats only for simple 2d-pixel-images: jpg, gif, png - each with special (dis-)advantages.

    I use 3 different pieces of cutlery only for breakfast and my car mechanic has a big box with a lot of different tools - each the best for a special purpose.

  11. james braselton on

    hi there i already have 3D no glasses app called holo toy from the apple app store and monday may 17 3D hidden images will come out for usa stores only japan right now but you tube has a video clip of this 3D game i can say 3D no glasses reqiered alwsoume from holo toy

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