Chapter 8. The 3D Content Pipeline

In the early days of the Web, if you knew how to write markup, you were a content creator. There was no Dreamweaver WYSIWYG editing; no Photoshop tool for slicing images. The task was left, largely, to programmers—and the Web looked like it. Eventually, the makers of professional authoring software developed tools for creating web-ready content. Once the tools were in place, artists and designers assumed the content responsibilities, and the Internet transformed into a consumer-grade experience.

WebGL development is going through an evolution similar to those early days of the Web. For the first few years of the technology’s existence, content was created by hand by programmers typing into text editors, or cobbled from whatever 3D format they could find a converter for. If a converter didn’t exist, you would write one to get the project done.

Fortunately, the situation is changing rapidly. Three.js and other WebGL libraries are getting better at importing content created by professional tools. The industry is also pulling together to create new 3D file format standards designed specifically for web use. The content creation landscape is still a bit rocky, but at least we have moved beyond the “stone tools” stage of a few years ago into more of a Bronze Age of 3D development.

This chapter covers the 3D content pipeline for web development. First, we will look at the overall content creation process. You may find this useful if you are new to 3D authoring. ...

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