Saturday, August 11, 2007


Reading a review of this year's SIGGRAPH, I read about COLLADA:

COLLADA is a COLLAborative Design Activity for establishing an open standard digital asset schema for interactive 3D applications. It involves designers, developers, and interested parties from within Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) as well as key third-party companies in the 3-D industry. With its 1.4.0 release, COLLADA became a standard of The Khronos Group Inc., where consortium members continue to promote COLLADA to be the centerpiece of digital-asset toolchains used by the 3-D interactive industry.

COLLADA defines an XML database schema that enables 3-D authoring applications to freely exchange digital assets without loss of information, enabling multiple software packages to be combined into extremely powerful tool chains.

However, COLLADA is not merely a technology, as technology alone cannot solve this communication problem. COLLADA has succeeded in providing a neutral zone where competitors work together in the design of a common specification. This creates a new paradigm in which the schema (format) is supported directly by the digital content creation (DCC) vendors. Each of them writes and supports their own implementation of COLLADA importer and exporter tools.

COLLADA is an XML schema combined with its COMMON profile that can be exchanged between proprietary software packages and an open source programs, giving more control over digital assets. The list of products that support COLLDA is impressive. Some support plugins and other directly import or export the format. It's a truly open exchange format.

Having worked in instructional technology at a school of architecture, I saw the difficulties in exchanging files between individuals and projects first hand. This is a huge step for design practice and as a potential preservation format for these files. What a great possibility for preserving and sharing these files in repositories.

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