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The Khronos Group Announces Significant COLLADA Momentum at SIGGRAPH 2009

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KHRONOSIndustry-Leading Open Format for the Exchange of 3D Assets Supporting New Compliance Opportunities; OpenCOLLADA Support for 3ds Max & Maya; Dassault Systemes Announces Broad Support for COLLADA, Integration with Google, EA, Blender & Yumetech

August 5, 2009 - New Orleans, SIGGRAPH 2009 - The Khronos(TM) Group, an industry consortium creating open standards for the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media, today announced a wide range of new cross-industry support for COLLADA(TM), the Khronos-developed standard for 3D asset sharing.

COLLADA defines an XML-based schema making it simple to transport 3D assets between applications - enabling diverse 3D authoring and content processing tools to be easily combined into a production pipeline. As an intermediate language, The COLLADA schema provides comprehensive encoding of visual scenes including: geometry, shaders and effects, physics, animation, kinematics, and even multiple version representations of the same asset.

COLLADA FX enables leading 3D authoring tools to work effectively together to create shader and effects applications and assets to be authored and packaged using OpenGL® Shading Language, Cg, CgFX, and DirectX® FX. The Khronos Group has also made the COLLADA 1.5 specification and release notes available in Japanese at http://www.khronos.org/collada.

Among the wide range of CAD/CAM/CAE, gaming, consumer and professional 3D leaders supporting COLLADA at SIGGRAPH this year are Google®, through the company's O3D plugin for the viewing of 3D objects on any Web page; Maxis®/EA® via their award-winning Spore® game, and Blender(TM), being showcased in the Blender Foundation booth #3701.

"The Blender Foundation supports the efforts of the individuals working on the import and export of COLLADA into Blender. With COLLADA support in Blender now, our artists can enjoy open interchange with the many DCC tools that support COLLADA. This will only enrich the art developed in Blender," said Ton Roosendaal, President of the Blender Foundation.

Blender COLLADA Import screen shot 1

In a major move of COLLADA support, Dassault Systèmes (DS) (Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA), the world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, today announced that 3D models hosted on the 3DVIA.com library, will now be automatically converted to both the Dassault Systèmes' 3DXML format and the COLLADA(TM) open 3D format. The addition of COLLADA support further connects the 3DVIA product lineup to the wide range of digital content creation (DCC) software and applications that also support COLLADA .dae documents.

"Our goal is to make it extremely easy for a broad community to leverage 3D as a communication medium--empowering all kinds of people to create and share professional quality, 3D experiences," said Lynne Wilson, CEO of Dassault Systèmes' 3DVIA brand. "Having both 3DXML and COLLADA uniquely positions 3DVIA.com to collect, showcase and share the wide array of 3D content created by the both the CAD and DCC communities."

Demos are at the 3DVIA booth #3009, where 3DVIA will demonstrate its complete product line, including the new COLLADA support. Additionally, Dassault's SolidWorks and Bitmangement will also showcase updated COLLADA support.

After one year of Beta, NetAllied Systems finally released the next generation of COLLADA exporters and importers for Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya built on the latest OpenCOLLADA SDK. OpenCOLLADA plug-ins are available for immediate download at http://www.opencollada.org

The OpenCOLLADA plugins support all major versions for 3ds Max (8 to 2010, Win32, Win64) and Maya (2008, 2009, Win32, Win64, MacOSX). The most important new features include:

· First available tools that fully supports COLLADA 1.5.0

· Embedded into 3ds Max is a 3d Google Warehouse client that allows seamless import of hundreds of thousands of 3d models (see http://www.youtube.com/netallied)

· Performance boost up to five times for importing and exporting compared to any other solution available

· Interoperability has been tested with many tools, including the newly released Electronic Arts Spore and Daz Studio exporters or Bentley Microstation 8i

· Plug-in installers are available on www.opencollada.org under a freeware license that allows commercial usage

The underlying OpenCOLLADA SDK offers direct write and SAX parsing import that are far superior than any other existing import/export technology. They are available under the MIT license and allow integration in any commercial and proprietary solution. OpenCOLLADA is the basis for the upcoming Blender/COLLADA support and is already built into multiple commercial tools that support data conversion to DAE from CAD systems like CATIA V5, MicroStation or JTOpen. Source code for the complete OpenCOLLADA SDK is available on http://sf.net/projects/opencollada.

The Khronos COLLADA WG also announced today the availability of the first release of the OpenCOLLADA framework to fully support the reading and writing of COLLADA 1.4.1 and 1.5.0 files. Further performance improvements and minor bug fixes have been included. MathML support (required for Kinematics) is available as well. Downloads  available.

Lastly, Khronos today announced upcoming availability of the COLLADA(TM) 1.4 Conformance Test Suite for Khronos Adopters this fall. Originally put up for open bid in April of 2009 to select an industry leader capable of developing a conformance suite matched to the full range of the COLLADA specification, Yumetech(TM) (Seattle, WA) was awarded the contract.

Based on their years of experience in working with 3D and open source software, for 3D graphics development, Yumetech is developing the Test Suite on-time with a wide range of additional test cases and is currently entering closed beta with Khronos members that include Autodesk Inc. The company has prior experience developing portions of the X3D conformance suite and is a current member of Khronos and participates in the COLLADA work group.

"The COLLADA Conformance Test Suite and Khronos Adopter's Package will enable adopters to attain the highest degrees of conformance, interoperability, and robustness," said Mark Barnes, Khronos COLLADA work group chairman. "Khronos and Yumetech are creating a comprehensive testing framework that will evaluate all aspects of COLLADA import and export for adopting applications. The test results can award a COLLADA badge of conformance for the Adopter's products and help market their quality COLLADA support to the Adopter's customers and users."

About The Khronos Group

The Khronos Group is an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. Khronos standards include OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, OpenCL(TM), OpenMAX(TM), OpenVG(TM), OpenSL ES(TM), OpenKODE(TM), and COLLADA(TM). All Khronos members are able to contribute to the development of Khronos specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment, and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge media platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.

More information is available

All trademarks and registered trademarks previously cited are the property of their respective owners and are hereby acknowledged.

10 Comments

  1. While this is great news, I'm convinced Autodesk will try and hinder Collada's growth, somehow. Despite having seats on the Khronos group, I have a feeling they'll still try
    and promote their fbx format aggressively.

    Much like Microsoft has seats on the W3C, but still
    don't fully comply with web standards.

  2. Campbell Barton (ideasman42) on

    @Mike, agree though I dont think Audodesk needs to do much to hinder collada's groth, all they need to do is have FBX better supported with maya/max/softimage.
    Lightwave Core apparently will use collada and Sketchup uses collada so it will probably not fade away completely.

    Sadly blenders support for collada has lagged also, with the original author loosing interest. Hopefully GSOC project to add Collada support will improve the situation.

  3. Google's support of Collada is fantastic! I was just browsing their 3D Warehouse and all of their models are available to download in the Collada format. With Blender's improved support (hopefully) of Collada in the future google's warehouse would be an excellent source of 3d models.

  4. FBX is not very developer friendly and not open. You may not even find the specification. You can't compare it with Collada. Collada is not good for games, its rather meant as an exchaning format.

  5. Bastian, I'm curious to know why you think collada isn't good for games. The studio where I work has adopted it for all it's projects and I've yet to hear anyone complain about it in any way, be it the programmers or the artists. To be honest, untill I saw this thread I kind of assumed it was a tool to export 3d models to game engines since that's what I've been using it for :).

  6. I use Collada export from Blender often to import the models directly into Google Earth and save it as KMZ. Still unable to get correct UV mapped collada models imported into Blender and I think that is caused due to not updated or incomplete Collada support in the importer.

    @dilscallion: the models in the 3D warehouse are still copyrighted by their respective modelers. It's not Open Source or Creative Commons content.

  7. On the subject of Autodesk and Collada, I read recently that Autodesk had hired feeling software in order to improve their collada support. doesnt sound like undermining to me.

  8. great news , i hope that it will realy be a 3d standard and not like that old joke "standard I got thousands of standards". For changing objects around the .obj format seems to work, so what Collada needs to deliver is flawless animation exchange.

  9. I worry I dint see Blender mentioned that much... Yes blender was mentioned here and there but when they talk about faster plugins and support there no sight of blender...

    It's not a bad thing, but I cant help feeling this format while open source remains somwhat in the interest of proprietary hands... but hey, it's a great format with lots of possibilities. It also means that finally there are tangible standards coming to the 3d industrie which stops that horrible business of format incompatibilities.

    About that shader business, Does blender actualy store the actual shader as in the code or does it store the settings that lead to the shader. Because this may mean that blender may not be able to benefit from importing custom shaders... just a thought; correct me if I'm wrong.

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