has announced Adobe Atmosphere software, a new professional Web tool for authoring, viewing and interacting with immersive, virtual 3-D worlds. The app is now available as public beta for Windows, and a Mac public beta is promised for the summer.
A finalized version of Atmosphere is also due in late summer, with the suggested retail price to be announced when the final product ships. However, it seems pretty logical that the late summer release will be for Windows only since the Mac public beta isn’t due until the same time period. And there’s no word yet on if the Mac beta will be Carbonized for Mac OS X, although Adobe is purportedly bringing all their Mac products over to the next operating system.
Adobe says the new product will let designers “create graphically rich, true-to-life 3-D worlds, enabling end-users to virtually walk the Web and communicate in real-time for a richer, more realistic Web experience.” The Atmosphere browser is powered by the Viewpoint Media Player, the rich media platform used by Sony, Nike, Eddie Bauer and numerous other world class brands. With the release of Adobe Atmosphere, their content can now be seamlessly viewed and experienced within immersive 3-D worlds, Adobe officials said in a press announcement.
Unlike previous virtual world technologies, Atmosphere is more than just a language standard; it’s a complete system, Adobe said. For example, when a user walks into an Atmosphere world, the world loads immediately, enabling continuous exploration and movement within the world. Additionally, Atmosphere worlds will not be centrally hosted. Worlds can be hosted by anyone, anywhere and can be linked to each other — allowing for the proliferation of 3-D environments on the Web.
The application’s worlds allow designers to import objects created with 3-D design tools from Viewpoint, Curious Labs, Discreet 3DStudio Max, and Alias|Wavefront Maya through importing Viewpoint file formats. Atmosphere also works with Web content creation tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator, through the import of the standard Web graphics file formats JPEG, GIF, and PNG.
For Mac users who want to get a head start on using the new technology, there’s a beta version of the
Viewpoint Media Player
plug-in available for the Mac. The Viewpoint Media Player enables users to browse Web sites that incorporate Viewpoint media technology.
Viewpoint Media Player is a visualization tool designed for the Web. It enables users to view 3D graphics, photographic panoramas, audio, vector text and more. The software is leveraged by some e-commerce sites, but Viewpoint says that it has applications beyond that — it can be also used for entertainment and games.
System requirements call for a PowerPC-based Mac; 128MB RAM; 5 MB available HD space; 56Kbps modem or faster; Mac OS 8.5 or later; Netscape Navigator 4.7 or later or Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x or later; 256 color display. (By the way, Viewpoint was formerly named Metastream, an operating subsidiary of MetaCreations.)