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Create your own animated 3D characters and scenes for the Web

28 February 2013

Computer scientists at Saarland University have developed a declarative markup language which facilitates the creation of distinct spatial animations and ensures their smooth replay in the web browser.

Xflow is the name of the new description language developed by Felix Klein and his colleagues at Saarland. It allows three-dimensional appearing animations to be described more easily as well as ensuring that the required data is efficiently processed by the central processing unit and the graphics processor. 

“Up till now, this has not been that easy”, explains Philipp Slusallek, professor for Computer Graphics at Saarland University. “Meanwhile, even a mobile phone has enough computing power to play spatial data content from the internet. But the web technologies, necessary for using 3D content on the web, and the machine-orientated programming of graphic hardware have not found a common ground yet."

Xflow helps to fill this gap. It’s declarative, which means the developers get to describe which pattern synthesis effects are constructed, rather than having to worry about how these can be computed in detail.

In appearance, Xflow resembles the languages HTML and Javascript. With Javascript, it is indeed possible to describe three-dimensional data contents; however, the data needed to achieve this cannot be computed in a parallel and thus efficient way.

Xflow allows this so-called 'parallelization' automatically, thanks to its structure. The programmersdon't need to worry about this, or the allocation of disk space. Certainly, other software systems can also accomplish this, but with these only a limited number of shifts, textures and pattern effects can be described.  

Xflow offers an alternative by defining a multiplicity of small components - so-called operators - from which complex animations can be created easily. In doing so, it uses the service of the HTML-upgrading XML3D, which allows the easy embedding of spatial data contents on websites.

The researchers will show their results at CeBit in Hannover starting on 5 March (Hall 9, booth F34).

Find out more here.

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