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X3D: Extensible 3D Graphics for Web Authors [Paperback]

Don Brutzman , Leonard Daly

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Book Description

April 24 2007 012088500X 978-0120885008 1
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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Product Description

Book Description

The first book on X3D—the new 3D architecture for the Web by two of the designers of the standard

About the Author

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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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3D Graphics for the People April 16 2007
By J. D. Weekley - Published on Amazon.com
For as long as there has been a World Wide Web, 3D has been the 'next big thing', but because of many factors, it never really took off. But behind the browser wars, the dot com boom and bust, and all the hype around competing 3D graphics formats, Extensible 3D Graphics (X3D) matured as the stable standard for 3D on the web. And it finally becomes accessible to everyone with this book. Following the simple and instructive examples, even a novice can create 3D models and virtual worlds for the web. The book and accompanying website provide both introductory and intermediate material, and it's useful across a wide range of skill levels.

From an educator's perspective, this book is long overdue. Often texts in 3D graphics focus on learning applications such as Maya or 3DS Max. While these tools are powerful and widely used, they do not teach the basics of 3D Graphics. This book takes a tool-agnostic approach, and focuses on the fundamentals of the scene graph, rendering, lighting, spatialized sound, and interactivity.

This book is the culmination of many years of work in 3D graphics and reflects the expertise of the authors' many years in the 3D graphics industry as both educators and practitioners. It's an excellent resource for the classroom and beyond.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book for X3D Aug. 8 2007
By xianatro - Published on Amazon.com
Finally, a useful book on X3D. Up until now I had to rely upon the technical ISO spec documentation which is, by its nature, a bit obtuse. This book, in contrast, explains in plain language how to put X3D to use in a tangible way. It breaks the format down into the base components, and explains each in an understandable way with straight forward examples. All the technical information is here, but laid out in an approachable manner, and with plenty of context. Most of the visual examples in the book are a bit simplistic, which is just fine for explaining core concepts. However, they are not indicative of what is truly possible with this 3D format. With the knowledge presented in this book, what can be done is limited only by one's time and creativity. I keep this one within arm's reach.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars X3D De-mystified July 4 2007
By Bert Lancaster - Published on Amazon.com
Before reading this book, I was playing about with Flux Studio - going through examples and trying stuff out while trying to make sense of some of the terms used in the IDE. The Wiki helped somewhat but still left a lot of stuff un-explained. Since reading the book, which is written in a very accessible, matter-of-fact style, I am now aware what the capabilities of X3D are and how best to use it for my purposes. There are also many more examples available which illustrate usages and techniques. My particular purposes for exploring X3D are firstly to provide interactive demonstrations to better illustrate particular product concepts, and also to present software architectures in a more meaningful way that people can navigate through to discover the information they need. I am a Software Engineer rather than a graphic artist but I'm coming to grips with the whole 3D modelling thing as well as learning the X3D stuff. Anyway, overall I have found this book very good and it will continue to be a reference source for me.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, however, not for beginners May 13 2012
By RC - Published on Amazon.com
This review is on the book only. This book is really 3.5 stars. (I wish Amazon would allow half stars) The companion website takes my rating to 4 stars. I subtracted a star because both lacked concise examples and further explanations of complicated node fields for beginners. For example, it's not clear how/which children nodes should be nested within the IndexedFaceSet node. I found it difficult to know when to use colorIndex, color, and coord fields.

The book contains lots of relevant info, however, it sometimes read like a specification and didn't 'connect the dots' for me. I probably would have given it 5 stars but after reading VRML 2.0 Sourcebook VRML 2.0 Sourcebook, 2nd Edition, it was obvious this book was missing clear explanations for beginners. To be fair, the book references VRML 2.0 Sourcebook and other sources to supplement your learning.

In summary, this book feels more like a good overview rather than a reference book or definitive guide. You will need to combine additional resources to receive full value from this book. Definitely make use of the companion website and other online resources. Maybe the next edition will include more explanations for the beginner level.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome contribution to web authoring Feb. 18 2008
By P. C. Etter - Published on Amazon.com
I recently purchased a copy of "Extensible 3D Graphics for Web Authors" and found the book to be a wonderful guide to this new field. The text is comprehensible and the material is laid out in a way that makes the book a delight to read. The authors are to be congratulated for producing this welcome contribution to web authoring.

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