Core Web3D
Book Review

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Core Web3D
by Aaron Walsh and Mikaël Bourges-Sévenier
Prentice Hall 2000

Book Review
by N. Polys

A Web Producer's guide to Web3D!

This book is one of a kind, and the one to buy! Some of the best minds and technologies in Web3D are packed between the covers. The Forewards are by Dave Raggett, Mark Pesce, and Tony Parisi architects and inventors of HTML and VRML respectively. It has been a number of years since we have seen any book on our favorite subject, and this one sets the bar high...

The first 3 chapters are the most accurate and detailed overview of 3D and the web I have ever come across in print. While these chapters give clear history and context for Web3D technologies, and their applications, they also provide a great foundation for launching into 3D computer graphics with principles of perception, rendering, and modeling being covered as well as fundamental terminology.

Now the book launches into the chief Web3D technologies in use today: VRML, Java3D, MPEG-4, and the forthcoming X3D. The biggest strengths in these treatments are not only the detail- enough for implementing even the more obscure features- but the organization. Each has an overview, fundamentals, and then authoring sections. There is a LOT of info here and a lot of code! ...and all in one place!

Rumor has it that there was SO much content, the original paper and bindng combination couldn't hold it all! 1088 pages in all!

If you are a professional or hobbyist gearing up to deploy or refine 3D content for the web, this book may become your bible. If you are a student or professor working with realtime, networked 3D graphics, consider this an excellent textbook. In a focused production environment, this book will not necessarily replace a reference manual or specification as one must go to the index for node/field lookup - it would have been nice if the page edges demarkated the different technology section like the "In a Nutshell" books... Nonetheless, given the scope and depth of coverage, this book is an essential addition to your library.

Each section is packed with links and online resources and the appendices are pretty comprehensive. Wisely, the authors decided on using supporting websites as opposed to a CD-ROM which would be out-of-date rather quicky.

I particularly liked the concise descriptions of how to integrate VRML scenes with HTML since this is currently the most accessible media combination.

So hats off to the authors and the publishers for delivering a forward thinking, comprehensive book about the dimension-breaking technology we can use today! It is the first of a series to be published by Prentice Hall in the coming months, so look out!


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