3-D Web environments: evolution case study: Adobe Atmosphere

One of the best examples of what you can do with Atmosphere is "Dark City"
by Ham on Rye Technologies

You can view this and other 3D environments at http://www.keltart.com/wrldthemes.htm

If the Atmosphere player is not automatically downloaded, try the Viewpoint Media Player*

As of May 2005, the Atmosphere plugin is also available as an Adobe Acrobat viewer plugin: "The Atmosphere Player 1.0 for Acrobat and Adobe Reader is designed to enable use of Atmosphere environments within a PDF document enabling the user the ability to experience a rich variety of interactive content, including three-dimensional objects, directional sound, streaming audio and video, SWF animations, and physical behaviors."

Navigation: You can use any combination of the mouse button (click and drag), the Shift/Ctrl/Alt keys,
and the arrow keys. Expiriment with the combinations to figure out movement.


Description from Adobe, 2001:

What is Adobe Atmosphere?
Adobe Atmosphere is a professional development solution for creating virtual 3D environments for the Web.
Adobe Atmosphere includes three components:
• Atmosphere Builder, a powerful application for authoring 3D worlds for the Web.
• Atmosphere Player, a free downloadable plug-in for Web browsers, or a standalone player, that enable anyone
to explore 3D worlds created in Adobe Atmosphere and to interact with those worlds and the other people
visiting them.
• Atmosphere Community Server, a messaging server that enables chat and interaction in 3D worlds created in


2001: Adobe Press Release
SAN JOSE, Calif., (Dec 10, 2001) (Nasdaq: ADBE)—Adobe Systems Incorporated, the leader in network publishing,
will integrate two technologies with Adobe® Atmosphere™, giving enhanced power and control to builders of 3-D Web environments.
The incorporation of Havok's Hard Core Physics Engine and Virtools Inc.'s Virtools Player will enrich the
realism, flexibility, animation and interactivity in immersive 3-D environments on the Web.

Adobe Atmosphere, introduced earlier this year, is a complete system for creating and customizing interactive 3-D communities on the Web.
It currently includes Atmosphere Builder, the 3-D world authoring tool; Atmosphere Player, the Web browser plug-in;
and the Atmosphere Community Server, which enables real time interaction with other users in a shared 3-D Web environment.

2001, March: Adobe Atmosphere FAQ.
Q: Is the Canoma product and/or the Carrara technology licensed from MetaCreations (Viewpoint) part of Adobe Atmosphere?

A: No. Canoma and Carrara are not currently incorporated into Atmosphere; however, Adobe is committed to
enabling the creation and viewing of 3D worlds. Adobe acquired the Canoma product line and licensed the
Carrara technology from Viewpoint (formerly MetaCreations) in Fall 2000. Viewpoint retained responsibility
for supporting the Canoma product. Adobe may apply portions of Canoma and/or Carrara into future versions
of its graphics and web products.

2001: Canoma product description
Canoma™ 1.0

With Canoma you can create photorealistic 3D models from scanned or digital photographs quickly and without extensive 3D skills. Using a push-pin metaphor, Canoma lets you attach 3D, wireframe primitives on top of objects in a two-dimensional image (such as a scanned photograph, piece of stock photography, or even a digital drawing or painting).

With the click of a button, Canoma renders a 3D image by wrapping the two-dimensional surfaces around the three-dimensional primitives. You can either mirror textures to fill in the "invisible" sides of objects, or use multiple photographs of a single scene.

This method of modeling allows you to create realistic 3D models without any previous 3D modeling experience. Create furniture, interiors, buildings or whole city blocks, and even interactively walk through models or create animations.

"Adobe Atmosphere for Windows XP will be available for purchase via download from Adobe.com on November 19 2003 for US $400."

Dec. 2004:
On December 19, 2004 Adobe discontinued Adobe Atmosphere 1.0 software. Technical support continued for only one month
from the discontinuation date (until January 30th, 2005).


3-D Web environments: alternatives to Adobe Atmosphere ?

So now that Adobe has killed this interesting technology, what's the next step?

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) has been around for a while.
The question is: is it easy enough for amatuers to design content? Are there freeware development
tools available?
Tony Parisi, co-creator of VRML, insists that the time for 3D on the Web has come --this time for real:
It looks like another possibility is X3D. This description from the Web 3D Consortium:
"X3D is an Open Standards XML-enabled 3D file format to enable real-time communication of 3D data across all applications and network applications."
But x3d, as an XML tool, may be part of the XML hype: nice ideas, but not as accessible as the older standardard (i.e. everyone still uses HTML because it's easier and simpler--plus, it does what you want it to without having to do twice as much work to achieve the same effect.)



- The Blaxxun Contact viewer
blaxxun Contact 5.1 is a Web3D plug-in for Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.
As of May 2005, blaxxun Contact is free for personal or non-profit use. (Later commercialization is planned
by this German company; this download is considered an evaluation copy.) [4.75 MB for .exe file: a valid email
address must be provided.]

- The BS Contact VRML/X3D viewer
As of May 2005, 'BS Contact VRML/X3D 6.2' can be downloaded as test version without functional limitations.

- Oddessey -- a free 3D chat community for members of all ages. (uses Blaxxun Contact)

VRML samples:

(requires VRML player : Blaxxun Contact™ 5.1 or BS Contact™ 6.0)
{note: a lot of old (1998-2000) sites recommend the Cosmo player...}


* There may be interaction problems between the Viewpoint Media Player and the "Adobe Atmosphere 3D Gallery" feature.
If there appear to be problems, you can try installing the latest version of Adobe's PDF viewer (though I can't recommended this, as PDF viewer now comes with a rediculous amount of restrictions.)

this page last modified: July 2005