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Graphics Intel The Internet Software

Bringing Online Shopping Into the Future With the 3D Web 70

An anonymous reader writes "While there is now the possibility of using 3D in the browser over WebGL, it is still hard for regular web developers to get 3D content into websites without being hardcore graphics programmers. XML3D, a project at the Intel Visual Computing Institute, tries to tackle that problem by having a very easy-to-use language as an extension of HTML5. The goal is to standardize it with the W3C. There are already modified Firefox and Chrome browsers that support XML3D natively. At Intel's Research Blog you can find a video on what shopping at an online store could soon look like. In the example, the user purchases a DSLR that can be fully interacted with in 3D, including attaching various lenses and an external flash."
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Bringing Online Shopping Into the Future With the 3D Web

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  • Yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slackware 3.6 ( 2524328 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @01:38PM (#39232161)
    the new VRML.
    • Just my thoughts. Why reinvent the wheel rather than expand and improve what's there already? (Note: I have never looked at or used VRML, so I have no idea what state it is in.)
    • Re:Yay (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zadaz ( 950521 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @02:06PM (#39232385)

      Exactly. This adds nothing to VRML (Or any of the other dozen 3D web technologies that went under this same headline in years past.)

      Okay, that's not entirely true. Over the past it has the following advantages:

      - It's buit into the browser, so no plugins.

      - Computers are much faster so performance should be better.

      - Bandwidth is higher so files transfer faster.

      But none of the gets to the heart of the problem with 3D:
      - 3D artists are much more expensive than a production artist running Photoshop and creating attractive 3D content takes much longer than a flat image. This makes the content much more expensive to produce.

      - The quality is not there. If you want to show off the highest quality vision of your product you want Photoshoped images. 3D just doesn't have it. Even with high resolution 3D scanners and hours of cleanup by a train artist it will still look sub-par compared to properly prepped 2D images.

      - There are very few 3D interface designers worth a damn. And they're all working much higher paid jobs making games. That leaves people who sort of saw a scene in Jonny Mnemonic on late-night TV years ago when they were a little drunk, and thought it would be neat to make an interface like that. This turns away customers. And even if they did hire one of those great designers away from the games industry, 3D is still a horrible interface for a 2D spreadsheet, which is what most web sites are.

      - Phones.

      With the exception of the last, these problems will always exist, and always doom the 3D web.

      The single case I've seen for 3D web in 20+ years of doing 3D are online 3D libraries like Thingiverse [] where, in this case, you can preview an STL before downloading.

      Disclosure: I have worked with web and 3D since 1996 and have been directly involved with a number of doomed 3D web projects in that time. They were all essentially identical with the exception of the name of the 3D plugin/file format.

      • by grumbel ( 592662 )

        - The quality is not there. If you want to show off the highest quality vision of your product you want Photoshoped images.

        The shiniest polished image of a front side of a product helps me little if I as a customer want to actually look at the backside of the product. I would absolutely love it when Amazon or another major shop would start putting their products under a 3D scanner and allowing the user the actually view a product from all sides in 3D so that one can get a proper feel for the size, instead of just having an 2D image that really tell you much about anything. Apple had that a decade or so ago with QuickTime VR and

      • What you're saying is true, but the example of Thingiverse rather points the way to solving the 3D artist problem: 3D scanners. One of the bottle necks in additive manufacturing is the need to design something in a CAD system before feeding it to the printer. And that's the same bottleneck you've pointed out for 3D websites. If you have a 3D scanner to generate a CAD file for an existing object, then no 3D artist time is required. Of course, in the case of a 3D printer you need to scan with X-rays to pi

      • Add to that: 3D brings in limitations from the real world. I worked with a project a few years ago that used a 3D interface for displaying pictures online. You could walk around a virtual art gallery with the pictures all on the walls. What was the difference between this and a simple page of pictures? Several things:

        First, there was the issue of distortion. You had to stand directly in front of a picture to see it without distortion from perspective. Zooming was also harder - you could zoom in and o

      • The whole concept of the 3D browser keeps popping up every year or two like bad RIAA-lobbied legislation, and with about as much success.

        The simple fact of the matter is that while there are some vertical market needs for 3D technologies like being able to show a "virtual house" on a realtor's website, the expense of creating that 3D content DWARFS the expected benefits.

        So what if I could take a 3D model of a camera and put virtual lenses on it in a virtual store using 3D web interfaces? How is that g

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Mod parent up. I was going to say almost exactly the same thing.

  • by Kennric ( 22093 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @01:43PM (#39232199) Homepage

    Spatula City already led this revolution, perhaps just a bit too far ahead of its time.

  • XML3D sounds intriguing. And since we all know that porn drives new technology, it is only logical that there must be a porn site that is using this technology. And for purely educational reasons, I was wondering if someone could post a porn site that is using XML3D - I have to actually see this technology in action to truly understand it.

  • All over again.

    • by binkzz ( 779594 )
      I was going to mention! The store where you could match and view clothes in full 3d. They poured so many tens of millions of dollars into it before it burst, but it was cool to look at while it was still online.
  • 4chan in 3D!
    (You're welcome)
  • by nickmalthus ( 972450 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @02:30PM (#39232585)
    I am not sure what XML3D provides that X3D or Collada does not. Another "not invented here" technology? 3D scene creation is complex and compelling visualizations will never be able to be XML hand coded like HTML can be.
  • by shoehornjob ( 1632387 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @02:32PM (#39232599)
    I want reviews from real people, specs, facts and comparison shopping when I shop online. All of my purchases are thoroughly researched and vetted for at least 3-4 weeks before I plunk my money down(big purchase anyway). If I really wanted to see it in great detail and touch it (feel it) I'd go to a retail store. I dunno maybe this will catch on with the emotional buying crowd but if I'm buying something online this is a big waste.
  • full-body avatar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thegoldenear ( 323630 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @02:34PM (#39232613) Homepage

    I'm imagining online shopping for clothes, where your full-body avatar has all your dimensions and you get to see how clothes might look on you.

    • or a standardised scale for furniture, so you can compare how different sofas from different stores will look in your living room (of course, you already have the 3d house plan, from when you first viewed the house)

  • The central problem with 3d-ing stuff is that it solves no problem, scratches no apparent itch, feeds no bull-dog, *and* annoys the pig. Every implementation i've been 'lucky' enough to observe comes off as a skit John Candy did where the 3d feature was made the central feature of the plot (of some silly B-movie). oh, here's a sample (forgot it was "Dr Tongue") []

    So... "look at this crap we want you to by... *look* at it! ooo..." [moves object fitfully in/out of visual plan]

  • by biodata ( 1981610 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @03:11PM (#39232885)
    Everyone bought cocks, got bored and left.
    • Heh! Actually SL still exists, and is doing quite well as far as I can tell.

      This would actually be perfect for a SL web shop.

      • by Raenex ( 947668 )

        Heh! Actually SL still exists, and is doing quite well as far as I can tell.

        Probably not as well as Facebook, which given all the media hype it went through in its earliest stages is where the expectations were. It sounds like now that it's succeeding as a niche. Based on a quick search, it averages about a million active users. Linden Labs claims to be profitable, but they don't say by how much.

  • Seems to me the story submitter has lost his common sense (if he ever had one). This connection is beyond stupid. First, online shopping is something that needs to reach the largest number of people possible, hence the technology needs to be simple and solid. 3D is an enemy of that. Then, people need to not spend too much time before they buy, as that decreases throughput. 3D is an enemy of that. And then, presenting things in 3D and while not adding any value whatsoever, this drives up the costs of doing b

  • They have been trying it for years, every time a new incarnation, every time a new failure... heck even the os use 3D for purely useless cosmetic effects... it is much simpler to use a regular catalog with clicks and stuff. unless technology changes radically beyond the browser level (like total immersion display ... which does not seem practical except maybe for gaming/ movies), this is not going to happen soon

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @05:44PM (#39234007) Homepage Journal

    Various incarnations of this have been tried for at least 10 years.

    All of them miss the point. That it's not more visuals that is lacking from online shopping, but other senses. Feeling the weight and texture, touching something, getting the full experience.

    It's like increasing the resolution on sports TV because you think too many people still go to the event instead of watching it at home. That decision was hardly ever because the picture was so small.

  • Remember X3D? Didn't think so. X3D is VRML in XML syntax. It was supposed to put "3D on the web about a decade ago". There's also "Quicktime VR", which lets sites display a panorama, which can be either a move around the object or a view around the camera. A few real estate sites tried it. Didn't help much.

    The real "3D on the Web" is in the industrial area. Companies from Asea Brown Boveri to Zummer are putting solid models of their products on the web. Not to look at, though. The models are for use wit

  • ... Into the Future.

    There. Fixed that for you.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle