PaperFace – Papervision GUI

Hey all,
This may be a little bit pre-mature, but I would like to announce the launch of a new site. It is called PaperFace.

PaperFace is a graphical user interface for Papervision 3D. The goal of the app is to build out 3d scenes without the need to write all the initial code. I am hoping to build it to a state where designers can come in and build a fairly complete scene and export the code to someone that can do something with it. Please go register and tell me what you think. Check out the forum on the site, and post any feedback you may have.

The app is no-where near completion, but I thought it would be good to get some thoughts on it throughout the course of development. Plus, now that it is live it puts a little bit of extra pressure on me to work more on it.

the address is www.paper-face.com

Guide to Getting Started in Papervision 3D

Introduction

Table of Contents

Overview

Papervision 3dIn this tutorial you will learn a little bit about what 3D is and how it is used on the web. As well as how to harness tools that have been created for you to build your own 3D experiences.

I am going to start out with a brief discussion and introduction of 3D and what Papervision brings to the table and then move on to the full tutorial. The files for the tutorial can be found by clicking here: tutorial files

What is 3D?

A standard website is created in 2D space; that is it consists of objects (text, images, video, etc) on an X and Y plane. People have faked perspective in the past using graphics tool, but in general it has been 2D. What 3D does is add another dimension to that traditional plane. Alongside the X and Y, there is now a Z. This 3rd dimension allows for depth to be shown.

circlesI remember my entry exam for college, I had to look at a series of shapes and come up with any number of ideas for what it could be. For instance, if you look at a circle with another circle inside it you would think that it was just two circles. If you were told to imagine those same two circles in 3D space the possibilities are much greater as to what they are. It could be a bowling pin from the top, an empty glass, a garbage can, or a football being tossed into the center of a hoop.

If you are having still having trouble envisioning the 3rd dimension, here is a great video/project by Rob Bryanton explaining how dimensions work:

What is Papervision?

Papervision is a 3D engine built with Actionscript that enables developers to start working in 3D. Using a ton of math, the Papervision team has found a way to create a simulated 3D environment.

Papervision consists of a ton of Actionscript classfiles that developers can use to create objects, scenes, and even worlds in 3D space. 3D applications and engines generally build objects using smaller objects, Papervision is no different. It uses triangles as the building blocks for larger objects in the scene. The more triangles that are used, the better the quality but more triangles means that it is harder on the processor.

Being open-source, developers are able to see all the code that they are working with which allows for a better understanding of what they are using. This also means that the development community has to ability to build on what the original developers have done without having to go through the hardships involved in extending something that is not open-sourced.

Open source means that it can be easier to understand how a complex system works because you can view all of the code that it was built with. If you have any more questions regarding the benefits of an open-source system, there is a good article located here: http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=889&trv=1

Why use Papervision?

greatwhitePapervision is a great 3D engine for Flash, but there are others. These include Sandy, Away3D, Alternative, and more. When push comes to shove it is more of a personal preference that I came to like working with Papervision.

I think that the biggest reason to use Papervision (other than comfort from it being the first engine that I tried) is that it is so widely supported in the Flash community. I seem to be able to find more help with Papervision than with any of the other application. Having the ability to tap into the minds of other developers in forums, at conferences, and anywhere really is a priceless tool.

What has been done with Papervision?

I have to start off with a site that I had a hand in building, and that is www.amg-360.com. Apart from a couple of prototypes, this was my first major 3D application for the web.

Some other good examples can be found at: http://dailypv3d.wordpress.com

New Portfolio in the Making

Marc Pelland PortfolioI was working on some stuff for a couple friends last night, and some other stuff for work when I decided that I wanted a little break to work on something for myself. So I got myself a beer and sat down at my laptop. For a long time now I have been planning on doing something interesting to my portfolio. I had thought maybe something with papervision and maybe something with a different approach to dynamic content. So that is where I began.

When I first created my portfolio, I did it quickly in HTML just to have something online. I made sure that the syntax was valid just in case I decided to create something to parse it with. Well that was my first step for the new creation. I used E4X to grab and parse the correct div within my current HTML portfolio. From there I just built out a little data model to grab whatever I might need from the parsed HTML structure.

Now I needed to do something with it. Why not Papervision, I have a couple projects under my belt now and just happened to update my local copy because I am using it on another project right now. So I just started playing around with the interaction and ways of displaying content.

After a couple hours I was pleased and went back to my other work. I picked it up today after work for an hour or so and would like to say I am very happy with the direction that it is taking. Let me know what you think so far.

click here to see the latest built

Motion Tracking and Papervision

A couple of days ago I posted my first attempt at motion tracking in AS3 using a webcam and promised that I would play a little bit more with it. Well, I got a little bit anxious and before refining the tracking code I decided to put it to use.

You may have seen the video of head tracking using the Nintendo Wii. That video inspired me to try my hand at the same concept using Flash, Papervision 3d, and my newly discovered love for trying to get motion tracking / facial recognition into Flash.

Motion Tracking and Papervision

As such, I have created this example which is my first step in creating some sort of tracking interaction with a 3d scene. if you would care to see a little bit more detail about what is going on, hit X to see the video and W to see the framerate. Stay tuned for more updates as I update the tracking code. Once again, I will post the source when it is a little further along.

** please note that you require a webcam to take advantage of the motion tracking, if you do not have a camera the scene’s camera is simply controlled by the mouse.

FITC – Papervision Workshop / Kickoff

I am here in Toronto and glad to be here! I left a blizzard in Calgary to come to sunny Toronto and attend the Flash in the Can conference. Yesterday, I went to a Papervision 3d workshop run by Ralph Hauwert (www.unitzeroone.com) who showed us just how much can be done with 3d on the internet and he was kind enough to share some knowledge and code with the group.

I can’t say that I was blown away by what I saw and learned because it was a very low-level session but I believe that I am taking away a good base to start on my own projects with Papervision. I recommend similar workshops to anyone who doesn’t know much about Papervision and would like to see what it is about and get a good understanding of what it is and how to use it.

Following the full day workshop, I attended a little function in Kensington Market with a presenter from Graffiti Research Lab (graffitiresearchlab.com) that showed some of what they are all about and some of their latest works. It was quite inspiring to see what they have been up to and their methods.

To top off the night, the FITC kickoff party at the Burroughs was a lot of fun. The venue had a unique style that I am not used to seeing in Calgary. I had a good time talking with people from around the industry and meeting as many people as possible. It also gave me a chance to catch up with some old friends and co-workers that I don’t get to see since I moved to Calgary.

I am now sitting here on the official Day 1 of the conference waiting to hear what Colin Moock (www.moock.org) has to say about Actionscript 4.