As a sequel to my Feb 23 post X3DOM vs. Three.js, I’d like to quickly compare Blend4web vs. Three.js, using that same old arbitrary VRML file as a neutral sample. Blend4web is an add-on for Blender, the open-source 3D authoring tool I use.
Here’s how the Blender workspace containing my old VRML file looks when I export it using Blend4web:
And here’s the same Blender workspace exported as a COLLADA file and then imported into Three.js:
You can drag your mouse on either of those to move them around. Each button gives you a different motion when you drag. Each example uses each button in a different way.
They do say that everything is best in moderation, including moderation itself – perhaps the same applies to being a tool agnostic.
“Tool Agnostic” is a cool, but relatively obscure, term that describes an approach to technology free from prejudice. I just Googled “tool agnostic” definition, and didn’t really wind up with anything. So, that to me smacks of an opportunity to post one and get this party rolling.
Let’s start with the term “agnostic” itself. From Mirriam-Webster, the #2 definition stands without restricting itself to the subject of religion or God:
Hopefully, the world will soon be as hungry to show 3D stuff without a plugin, as the world has been to show rotating banners and videos without Flash. And for all the same reasons. Here’s some thoughts on the agonizingly slow death of plugins.
I spent many years working in Adobe Flash. From fun little flourishes to otherwise flat websites, to full-on interactive educational applications that provided feedback as to what was working educationally and what was not – I really liked Flash. I liked it, even as the Death of Plugins lurked menacingly around the next corner.
Then came the decree – “Flash is Dead”. While it took some people more years than other to accept this – by this point in time it is clear – if you want your stuff to be on the “open web” – you cannot use Flash. If you’re still disinclined to disagree with me on that, here’s Continue reading “HTML5, the 3D Web, and the Death of Plugins”
Now all this learning Blender the modern way stuff was beginning to remind me of something. My daughters watch YouTube videos of Minecrafters doing Minecrafty things. They watch whole series of videos on how to model giant things out of blocks, or how to kill the Ender Dragon. Then, they launch into Minecraft and try it for themselves.
I enjoyed writing a bit of three.js code – it was cool to see things come alive in 3D in a whole bunch of devices with no plugin. But it quickly became clear – I can’t have fun for long with just primitives, I’m gonna want some models and worlds. And that’s why I’m learning Blender.
There’s a couple of VRML worlds in my old collection that would be of great interest to the same communities today, that they were originally created for back in the late ’90s.
How exciting. I have a whole pile of old .wrl files from back in the day. People with Cosmo Player used to visit them, explore them, and have a good time. I haven’t seen any of them in action for a decade. It would be awesome if I could get them to work using VRMLLoader.js, I could embed them here to show off, and I could re-invent my old site with content people could see. Continue reading “Loading VRML into three.js”
Most people have modeled stuff with clay, play-doh, Femo, or plasticine. Lots of people have used Lego to make 3D things. But very few of us have created 3D content using digital tools, much less deployed it on the web for others to enjoy.
Everyone alive today is intimately familiar with creating 2D content. We’ve all written on a piece of paper – and most of us have used a word processor to make our content easier to produce and publish. We’ve all drawn a picture on a piece of paper – and most of us have taken photographs to capture much more visual information in the blink of an eye. Continue reading “Plasticine, Lego, Minecraft, and the 3D Web”