Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NEW! Flux Studio 2.0

I use different X3D/VRML editors. Some of them like V-Realm Builder are deadware from the the 1990s but given the stability of the language, still an excellent tool as long as one is building VRML97. Others such as Professional File Editor never go away because a basic ASCII editor has to be in the toolbox of anyone creating works with the web open formats in pointy and curly syntaxes, but again, mostly curly. Some such as Numedia Avatar Studio do one complex task so well and so simply that the tool keeps being downloaded, copied to new servers, distributed and used lonnnggg after the team that produced it is disbanded.

Then something really powerful and affordable (say FREEE!!!) comes out and quickly jumps to the top of the stack. It takes in all of the functions of these editors, complements them, adds even newer and better features, accommodates multiple syntaxes and application languages, and does it all so elegantly that it becomes the workhorse.

Such an editor is Media Machines Flux Studio 2.0.

Provided free for personal use (is there any other kind in 3D?), this is astounding. Flux Studio is the next generation incarnation of a favorite among the furry vermelers, Spazz 3D by Keith Victor. Keith teamed up with one of the VRML inventors, Tony Parisi and his Media Machines company to produce Flux Studio. That's enough history.

3D editors are notoriously expensive beasties when doing high end work. Though there are good free ones such as Blender, most are complex and tend to be useful only by those with a deep understanding and skill set in the mathematics and buzzwords of 3D technology. While Flux has no lack of this, it wraps it in visualization techniques and GUI that make a straightforward work process possible. Features such as multi-texture editing can consume a week of experimentation.

Applying textures and scaling them are simple tasks. Boolean carving is provided. There is a Javascript editor and a Smart Object editor. 3D preview mode (rendering in a 3D browser) is a pushbutton away.

Whereas early VRML editors were strictly VRML editors, Flux Studio imports and exports VRML classic and X3D encodings flawlessly. When converting VRML97 up to X3D, the look of the output is worth the download. Flux Studio scrubs the code and formats it for ease of reading in the ASCII editor. But wait! There is more! Flux Studio can also import and export Google KML files for those doing Google Earth work. The beloved Avatar Studio avatars can be imported and animated using the character animation features.

Extruded text is tough to do without editor support and is an expensive object in the vertex economy but great for startup screens. Flux Studio not only provides it, it provides canned animations. Speaking of this, there are canned animations for cameras as well. Export the code, look at the scripts, and modify to your own needs. There is 2D layer support for HUDs. Very cool!

The complementing product is the Flux Viewer. Also free, this supports streaming media which for the musicians among us, is vital. MP3s are a must have when building kick-ass 3D for the web although I confess I prefer wav files for CD products. Now I can have the best of both.

Soon Flux will have a network node that provides what 3D on the Web builders have needed since the early days: a simple routing mechanism for communications with the web from inside the world without the laborious work involved with setting up Java applets and deep knowledge of network protocol code. This is one feature I am eagerly waiting to see. It is to be demoed at the Perugia conference this spring. Very very cool!

Parisi and Victor continue to provide the Web 3D community a level of dedicated support that is hard to find these days but was so common in the early days of the web. One has to admire that dedication to the values of the pioneers of the web and the continued improvement of the Media Machines product while providing it to the web content community, an underpaid bunch of zealous junkyard dogs by reputation and fact, for a price they can afford: $0. Unreal! The furries say THANK YOU!

Full disclosure: I have zero financial affiliation with Media Machines. I have 100% affiliation with their community values and continued innovation in the open web 3D market.

3 comments:

nerosink said...

Hi , i am using flux studio also, i think it is pretty good for a free 3d editor.

However i think there should be more tutorials and examples on it.
Especially on the H-ANIM avatar part and the 3d modelling features.

Knight Samar said...

I guess vivaty studio has bought flux studio or something like that...because I am redirected to Vivaty studio's site.

Anonymous said...

Vivavity? NO! Media Machines simply moved here:

http://mediamachines.wordpress.com

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