I posted about a year ago about the rising trend in using WebGL to create hardware accelerated 3D graphics inside compliant browsers without the need for plugins. Well, this trend has really exploded. For some Friday fun I am posting some more examples of WebGL being used in innovative ways – but the keyword for 2012 is interactive. Developers are getting serious about making interactive 3D tools using this technology. Note: the latest version of Firefox 10 or Chrome is required. Sorry folks, no IE allowed here.
First up, Michael Dewberry, a Principal Software Engineer here at the Factory whipped up a WebGL exporter for Revit in just a couple of days. Unfortunately, this is not available publically (the devs here are using it to test new export APIs) but I got to play around with it, so I decided to export the geodesic dome I was working on last month.
123D Make, from our colleagues over in SF, is really fun. You can import a model and it will cut up the models into slices and lay them out on a template for cutting with a laser (through a service bureau) or by yourself (carpal tunnel alert!) Login required – but you can use your Autodesk services login. Worked better in Chrome for me.
TinkerCAD has come a really long way since I looked at it last year. Check out the breadth of projects people are creating with this fairly robust modeler. I also love the idea of “challenges” to help you learn. Login required.
I wrote about 3DTin last year. It also has come a long way from offering just blocks (ala Minecraft) to a new slate of really nice primitives.
Of these last three, Sunglass.IO has the slickest user experience. You can drag and drop your own models right onto the browser to load them. There is also a real-time collaboration aspect (which I have not yet tested.) However, I could not find out how to create new geometry. It seems like it is more like Design Review with real-time collaboration at this point.
I just ran across Shapesmith.net the other day (login required). Unlike 3DTin and TinkerCAD, it does not have direct manipulation of objects. But it DOES have some limited parametric control. Combine the two and you will really have something…