UMEL and Spazz3D

Dateline: 3/22/00

UMEL the Universal Media Element Library an effort of the UMEL working group of the Web3D Consortium, led by Mr. UMEL himself Aaron Walsh has produced an amazingly useful resource. Also be sure to check out the comprehensive Universal Media "course" which points to everything including the UMEL downloads. This collection of "clip art" is really much more than a library full of textures, it's an infrastructure for reusable content. One of the hope when the UMEL effort launched was that tool vendors would use the UMEL content as a way of enhancing their product and providing increased functionality to end users. This is exactly what has happened with the incorporation of UMEL functionality into Spazz3D V2.

Currently UMEL is being distributing with only textures. Spazz3D however already has implemented support for UMEL in three areas, texture, backgrounds and sounds. When you click on an object in spazz3d you bring up a dialog for manipulating characteristics such as translation, rotation, the scale and texture of the object.

spazz3d texture dialog Texture manipulation is quite robust and allows for definition of the scale, rotation, center and translation of the texture as applied to the object. You can also, when appropriate radio box is selected, drag the texture to achieve the desired effect. The UM button brings up an expanded dialog to let you select the actual texture. In addition the dialog displays automatically computed thumbnails of the textures, an immense timesaver. Computing the thumbnails does on occasion take a long time so that display option is selectable. Also as an aside if you're looking for clip art you should check out Bobbie Peachy's WebClipArt site with an astonishing collection of links to mostly free clipart.

spazz3d UM dialog with thumbnails

According to Keith Victor, Spazz3D's creator UMEL:

Currently, Spazz3D supports UM by allowing the user to easily select media files from the UM library. The UM support is implemented in Spazz3d so that the user never has to think about where the file is coming from, or how it gets there.

(S)He just hits the UM button in the Texture/Background/Sound Property Page in Spazz3D, and select the media file. The Thumbnail and Preview Window aid in the selection of Images.

Once the user selects the image, Spazz3D will make sure that the image will be found whether you are running inside Spazz3D, running locally OR online, with a Browser OR applet that does OR does not support Universal Media.

Note the interesting aspect of "running inside Spazz3D, locally or online" this is the beauty of using URNs. What are URNs? Glad you asked, read on!

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