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Toronto, Ontario - January 22 2002 -- After 2 full years of refined internal development, and over 1.5 years of customer field testing, Okino is openly releasing its workhorse VRML2 import converter for its popular PolyTrans 3D data translation product and NuGraf Rendering System software. It is one of the most intently developed and internally/customer tested converters from Okino. First requested in 1997, it has been one of the most actively sought import converters from Okino, and since its first release it is by far one of the most requested import converters on a daily basis from Okino tech support.
With this press release we would like to make an open statement to the 3D industry to help raise the stature of the VRML2 file format for cross application data translation, and not just as a generic, somewhat underrated 3D WEB streaming file format. With the final development of the VRML2 import converter Okino was very surprised to find that it quickly became our main "workhorse" problem solving import converter. As much as Okino software supports most 3D file formats, there are a number of existing 3D packages which support few, none or minimally featured 3D file formats for data export exchange; this has been particularly true in the CAD world where the standard formats tend to be DXF, IGES and STEP which only output geometry and no material or texture information. However, over the last few years many 3D multi-media and modeling packages, including expensive solid modeling programs, have had very good VRML2 export converters written for them even though company policy may not have focused on exporting to other major 3D file formats. While these exporters were written to export geometry, hierarchy, materials, textures, lights and cameras for WEB viewing, they can also ultimately be used as a high quality "back door" to their software packages for 3D data exchange. Thus, Okino has been very happy to find that VRML2 is an ideal conversion route, and "workhorse" solution, for converting data from various 3D software packages which have a strong VRML2 export facility.
As such, Okino has been openly promoting the VRML2 file format as an ideal 3D data translation conversion route, in particular from the CAD community. We find that many customers have the incorrect notion that VRML2 is a simple file format to be used for WEB viewing only, but in fact we find that VRML2 is an excellent verbose file format, with complete support for meshes, hierarchy, vertex attributes (normals, uv texture coordinates and vertex colors), materials, embedded or referenced texture maps, lights, cameras and object + camera animation, all of which the Okino VRML2 import converter (as well as export converter) supports.
The VRML2 file format has also been selected as the level 1 and level 2 implementations for the new XML-based "X3D" file format, prolonging its life span well into the future. Thus, as the X3D file format is standardized and propagated, Okino's current VRML2 import converter will be able to read X3D files through a front-end XML to binary conversion interface (as the X3D initiative expects to occur for backwards compatibility with existing VRML2 converters and viewers). More information about the X3D file format and initiative can be found at www.web3d.org.
"In 1998 we made a customer survey and VRML2 was by far the most requested file format." said Robert Lansdale, President & CEO of Okino Computer Graphics, Inc. "While almost every 3D software package exports VRML2, few import VRML2 and even fewer import all the data elements necessary to make a VRML2 importer a viable path for 3D data conversion. We set out in 1998 to develop a VRML2 importer which would be a dependable and high quality importer, to provide a conversion path from VRML2 to the dozens of other 3D file formats supported by Okino software. This was one of the more tedious import converters to develop, since VRML2 is quite a verbose file format with many variations of attribute attachments for meshes. To add the "icing to the cake", we also added intelligent support for PROTOS (instantiations of scene graph nodes) and object + camera animation import. The final VRML2 import converter was tested in the field for almost 2 years, and we tested the software with every possible VRML2 file we could find on the Internet. We hope it finds good use in the 3D community for 3D file format conversion and viewing."
"Okino and their PolyTrans/NuGraf are very highly respected for technical sophistication and usability in the challenging field of 3D file-format conversions," said Don Brutzman, Extensible 3D (X3D) Working Group Chair, researcher & educator (firstname.lastname@example.org). He continues, "As second-generation VRML is maintained and extended in third-generation X3D, file interchange becomes more important than ever. We enthusiastically look forward to further work with Robert Lansdale and Okino to maximize the import/export capabilities of all 3D content for the Web."
Holger Schmidt from Germany adds, "I work for a large (unnamed) European industrial company and I have to deal with very large polygonal datasets. I use the VRML2 file format to transfer and visualize our data. My files are easily larger than 200 MB and I've found no program that's able to parse and import such huge datasets. However, I was very pleased to discover Okino's PolyTrans and their new VRML2 importer; it is the first data conversion program that I found which can read all of my huge VRML files with ease and speed. I found that Okino's VRML2 importer could even read in files with missing braces and syntactic faults! I'm absolutely happy with this great solution I have found."
Supported VRML2 File Format Capabilities
The following are some of the major features of the VRML2 import converter:
- Object and camera animation using keyframe lists, such as exported from 3DS MAX.
- Indexed face sets (meshes), extrusions, height field, box, cone, cylinder and sphere geometry.
- Vertex normals, vertex texture coordinates, vertex colors, per-face colors and material assignments are supported for the indexed face set geometry.
- For IndexedFaceSets geometry (meshes), colors (in addition to VRML2 Materials) can be assigned on a per-vertex or per-face basis. If assigned on a per-face basis, the face colors are converted to polygon-assigned NuGraf/PolyTrans materials. Any inherited texture maps will be assigned to these per-polygon materials as well.
- User options are available to import a specific sub-child of LOD (level of detail) nodes.
- VRML hierarchy is recreated, including support for DEF/USE and nested PROTOs.
- If geometry is DEFd then USEd more than once in the VRML2 file (ie: the geometry is instantiated multiple times), then this converter will create one object definition internally and create multiple instances of the object definition (to replicate the behavior of VRML2).
- Each Material parameter is imported and stored, including diffuse & specular colors, ambient intensity, luminous color, shininess and transparency.
- The directional, point and spot light sources are properly imported as well as their related parameters.
- File-referenced bitmaps and embedded texture bitmaps are supported.
- Bitmaps which are embedded within the VRML2 file are automatically extracted and converted to TIFF files on disk. The images are also displayed on the screen as they are being imported.
- The various fields of the Transform node (scale, rotation, translation, center, scale orientation) are imported and converted to an equivalent 4x4 transformation matrix.
- Fog and Backgrounds (color only) are imported and converted to equivalent forms.
- View point nodes are converted to perspective cameras.
- An optional optimization algorthm can be enabled after import is completed to remove redundant nodes from the scene graph and hierarchy.
A more extensive technical description of the Okino VRML2 import/export converters can be found here:VRML2 import converter documentation
VRML2 export converter documentation
Okino's "PolyTrans" and "NuGraf Rendering System" Software, An Overview
Okino's stand-alone 'PolyTrans Model/Scene/NURBS/Animation Translation System' for Windows and SGI IRIX was released in August 1996 and has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed and respected 3D geometry translators. Unlike translation programs which only convert basic polygon geometry, hierarchy and some shading information, PolyTrans is unique in its ability to convert the most important aspects of a 3D model file; this includes all geometry (meshed polygons, NURBS and quadrics), object hierarchy, pivot points, smoothing data (vertex normals), vertex colors, (u,v) texture coordinates, lights, cameras, texture projection methods and animation. In addition, PolyTrans accurately matches the color, shading and texture mapping parameters between the input and output file formats resulting in models that will render faithfully in the target rendering program.
Okino's NuGraf Rendering System is the elder sibling of PolyTrans that includes, in addition to everything in PolyTrans, high-end scanline and multi-threaded ray tracing (for product and CAD visualization), material editing, bitmap and procedural texture mapping, texture projection methods, extended user interface and text creation. NuGraf received the "IEEE Technical Excellence Award" from IEEE CG&A Magazine and recently the "Golden Pixie" award. It is intuitive for beginners, deep and rich with features for experts.
Okino software is used world wide by thousands of professionals, covering such varied groups as engineering, manufacturing, government, defense related, production studios, digital effects houses, animation studios, 3D content developers and most major 3D game development companies. An interesting list of notable users can be viewed online at http://www.okino.com/conv/users.htm.
Animation Conversion Through Accurate Keyframe Resampling & Reduction
Through years of research, development and refinement, PolyTrans has come to include the industry-leading major feature of animation conversion. Simply put, animation conversion is a hard problem! To convert between the different mathematics used by each major 3D animation package, and their different methods of internally representing 3D animated objects, Okino Computer Graphics has developed a unique "animation conversion engine". This engine allows raw animation data to be imported from the most popular 3D animation programs, accurately played back in real-time, resampled to alternate forms of animation mathematical representation and exported to other 3D animation file formats. Note that PolyTrans converts function curve based animation; it does not convert procedural or Inverse Kinematics (IK) animation data.
As shown in the right diagram, the internal "engine" stores the raw imported animation data as a series of hierarchical "channels" (such as X/Y/Z translation), each of which has a "controller" which simulates the most popular animation interpolation methods (Bezier, TCB, etc.), and to each controller a series of keyframes representing the animation curve over time. This ensures accurate retention of the imported animation data.
A vital aspect of accurate animation conversion is the "keyframe resampling & reduction" algorithm of PolyTrans; as shown below, this algorithm allows incompatible animation methods to be converted with tolerance-based accuracy. The example below shows how X/Y/Z Euler rotations (from Lightwave or Maya) are converted into the mathematically different Quaternion rotation method (used by DirectX and 3DS MAX, for example).
Applicable WEB pages
The following are pertinent pages on the Okino WEB site relating to this press release:
Available Through VARs
The NuGraf Rendering System and PolyTrans are available directly from Okino Computer Graphics and through a growing number of Value Added Resellers (VARs) in the design, CAD and multimedia markets. Fully functional demonstration versions (with minor limitations) of the software are available through Okino's Internet WEB site at http://www.okino.com.
For product pricing, to locate an authorized VAR or for customer inquiries, please contact Okino Computer Graphics at (905) 672-9328 or toll free at (888) 3D-OKINO (1-888-336-5466).
PolyTrans operates efficiently with PentiumŪ-based computers equipped with Microsoft Windows, 64MB of RAM, a SVGA video card, and a hard disk with 70Mb of available space. 3D hardware accelerators are supported for Windows 95/98/Me and XP/2000/NT but are not required. PolyTrans also runs under IRIX 4.2 or greater for Silicon Graphics machines as a command line program. The NuGraf Rendering System a operates efficiently with Pentium-based computers equipped with Microsoft Windows, 128MB of RAM, a SVGA video card, and a hard disk with 55Mb of available space.
Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Okino Computer Graphics specializes in the development of 3D photo-realistic rendering, visualization and model translation technology. This technology is currently used within Okino's NuGraf Rendering System product, its PolyTrans data translation program (and byproducts) and its NuGraf Developer's 3D Toolkit. For more information on Okino Computer Graphics, please call 905-672-9328 or visit Okino Computer Graphics' Internet WEB site at http://www.okino.com.
Documents Available Electronically
PolyTrans and NuGraf are registered trademarks of Okino Computer Graphics, Inc. Okino is a trademark of Okino Computer Graphics, Inc. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.
Attention editors. This document, as well as screen snapshots and related documents for the Press (inPDF format) can be obtained electronically by visiting http://www.okino.com/press/magpics.htm.
NuGraf and PolyTrans are registered trademarks of Okino Computer Graphics, Inc. Okino is a trademark of Okino Computer Graphics, Inc. Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.
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