Tag Archives: Google Oceans

Flash just got flashier with Papervision 3D

PAPERVISION 3D: Real-time 3D engine for Flash

THE evolution of websites is certainly something exciting to behold. It’s clear that we are moving more towards a visual culture where attention spans are short and web-users are click-happy. Websites today have to be quick to catch and hold a visitor’s attention. What better way to do this by offering something that is flashy, visually-appealing and interactive.

Adobe Flash is a program for producing flash animations for games, websites, applications and cartoons. It generally refers to a certain kind of movement and visual style. We often see flash adverts on websites. These usually consist of some sort of animation that moves around or responds to your mouse cursor.

Flash CS5 is the latest program for creating flash animations and it recently got flashier with the introduction of Papervision 3D.

Papervision 3D is an open source, real-time 3D engine for Flash. It essentially allows anyone to work online in 3D. It has been extensively used in the gaming industry and is becoming increasingly popular for creating interactive 3D websites. A large appeal of Flash is that it is compatible with all web-rich media, social applications and several gaming platforms.

papervision logoPAPERVISION: THE TECHNICAL BIT

According to Computerarts.co.uk,

“The Papervision workflow is pretty straightforward. You start by creating a low poly-count model in 3Ds Max, Maya or Blender. You then use the Collada plug-in to create a file that contains information on your 3D model’s set-up, textures and animation. Finally, you can use the Papervision component to import your 3D character into Flash CS3.” — http://www.computerarts.co.uk

As technical as this process sounds, there is a Papervision library as well as several Flash tutorials available on the web that allow anyone to learn Flash and create their own 3D avatars, environments and animated webtoons. In fact, several cartoons that inhabit the web are made entirely using Flash. Happy Tree Friends and Money Dust instantly spring to mind as prime examples.

FLASH IN FILMS

Many animation film festivals are now responding to the popularity of Flash animation by adding separate categories in competitions for “web cartoons” or “Internet cartoons.” Flash animation and Papervision is also now taught in schools throughout the UK and is a sought-out talent in the web industry.

Many Flash animations are created by individual or amateur artists. However, it does require a fair amount of technical knowledge to create a flashy masterpiece. Creating animations using Flash is a lot easier and less expensive than traditional animation techniques and distribution is considerably easier and less expensive than television thanks to the Internet.

But the potential for Flash is staggering. A visit to www.papervision3d.org will reveal an animated scene under the ocean blue. By simply scrolling your mouse, you get a panoramic view of different fish species swimming about, encounter a large shark as it swims by and see a few nervous looking divers in the background.

Papervision 3D in action

Papervision 3D

Papervision: An underwater scene as seen at http://www.papervision3d.org

The thought of incorporating Papervision into something like Google Oceans is an exciting one. Currently Google Oceans only offers static images of endangered fish species in different parts of the oceans. But imagine being able to interact with an animated school of marine life by following and clicking on them for more information. This is all possible with Papervision.

A French website www.mtl12.com illustrates the potential for using Flash in the tourism industry. A mouse hover over a link for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel plays a flash video of people walking past the location. A click on the animation takes you into the Hotel itself where you can scroll around and examine the interior to your heart’s content.

FLASH IN GAME DEVELOPMENT

Flash seems to be spreading fast. A joint company called Digimi offers free tool kits and tutorials for designing, managing and importing high-quality, flash characters online that can be positioned in virtual worlds, cross-platform games, social networks, mobile applications and professional modeling and animation tools. Papervision 3D in particular is proving to be a fantastic tool for game developers who want to include 3D avatars in their games without the pain of having to build them from scratch.

“As the gaming market continues to grow, so does the need for customization, differentiation and quality,” explains Digimi president, Eyal Gever. “This is exactly what Digimi will offer: the foremost platform for creation supported by the best human figure content library available in the marketplace.”

3D AvatarDigimi.com hosts a library of creative assets for games, virtual worlds and real-time environments. It also provides a platform and set of web services for game developers to be able to generate high-end characters with minimal development effort.

User-generated content is becoming an increasingly important part of consumers’ online gaming experience. The fact that anyone can make use of these Flash tools and contribute, signifies the potential for gamers to essentially create and tailor their own product.

Here’s a great collection of papervision games!

Google Earth takes to the oceans and enters space

Earlier this week Google Inc. launched a new version of Google Earth that allows users to explore the oceans, view images of the planet Mars and watch regions of the Earth change over time.

The new features mark a significant upgrade to Google Earth – a popular software program that provides access to the world’s geographical information through digital maps, satellite imagery and the company’s search tools.

Google Earth 5.0 was unveiled at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where former Vice President Al Gore and others spoke about its capacity to educate the public about global warming, ocean acidification and other threats to the planet.

“This is an extremely powerful educational tool,” said Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work raising awareness about global warming. “One of my fondest hopes is that people around the world will use Google Earth to see for themselves the reality of what’s happening because of the climate crisis.”

More than 500 million people have downloaded Google Earth since it was launched in 2005. The software is available for free on Google’s website. Researchers and organisations can purchase a more powerful version for $400.

Oceans in Google Earth
Something fishyJohn Hanke, director of Google Earth and Maps, said the idea of adding oceans came three years ago when a scientist pointed out that the software was missing the water that covers almost three-quarters of the Earth’s surface.

Google Earth users can now plunge beneath the ocean’s surface, explore three-dimensional images of the underwater terrain and view articles and videos about marine science contributed by scientists and organisations around the world.

Internet users are now able to fly over and around underwater seamounts or follow scientific research expeditions as they mine the depths of the oceans for new species and discoveries.

The new ocean tool from Google is being dubbed has one of the best tools for protecting our oceans. According to experts, less than one percent of the Earth’s oceans are protected, compared with 12 percent of the land surface.

A key creation of the project is the Marine Protected Area layer, which contains information on over 4,500 protected sites spread around the globe and is conceived as an interactive tool that anybody can contribute to. Anybody can now dive in and explore the natural beauty, learn what threats these protected areas face and find out what they can do to help.

Exploring the future and beyond
Explore space...The Historical Imagery feature lets users see archive satellite images of individual locations to see how the region has evolved over time as a result of climate change and other forces. For example, viewers can observe how the largest glacier in Glacier National Park has melted over the past decade.

Google has also made connections with the Hubble Space Telescope – a large space-based observatory which has revolutionised astronomy by providing unprecedented deep and clear views of the universe. These images range from our own solar system to extremely remote fledgling galaxies forming not long after the Big Bang.

With Google Mars 3D users can view three-dimensional, satellite imagery of the Red Planet taken during NASA space expeditions.

The new version of Google Earth also allows users to created narrated tours of places using the software’s content and images.

“It’s not just a fun demo,” said Google CEO Eric Schmidt. “What it really is, is a platform for science and research and literally understanding the future of the world.”

– Original text supplied

For more information on Ocean in Google Earth visit:
www.protectplanetocean.org