Adobe Pushing into 3-D

The company announces its Atmosphere authoring tool for building 3-D into the Web and PDFs

Adobe Systems Inc. is launching a new authoring tool for developing 3-D multimedia environments both for the Web and for its PDF files.

Adobe Atmosphere, scheduled to be available on Nov. 19, allows Web designers and document creators to build interactive environments and scenes where users can navigate and interact with the multimedia content as well as collaborate in real time, Adobe announced on Wednesday.

Using Atmosphere, designers can host multiple types of media, including 3-D objects, streaming audio and video, textures and interactivity. For example, Adobe said, a ticket vendor could recreate a performance venue on the Web so that ticket buyers could virtually preview their view from a given seat. Likewise, publishers could build PDF e-books where a reader could explore 3-D illustrations and interact with a storys characters.

Atmosphere, along with the authoring tool, comprises free Atmosphere Player plug-ins for the browser and for Adobe Reader as well as a free Atmosphere Collaboration Server to provide the real-time interaction within the environments.

For its 3-D capabilities, Atmosphere supports the importing of 3-D objects from common 3-D tools such as Autodesk Inc.s Discreet 3D Studio Max and Alias Systems Maya and provides a library of objects and Java Scripts for adding animation and interactivity to environments.

The Havok physics engine is included in Atmosphere to provide physical simulation of such attributes as gravity and friction within environments.

Atmosphere will be available for Microsoft Windows XP for $399. Viewing Atmosphere environments will require Internet Explorer running on Windows 98SE, ME, 2000 and XP or Adobe Reader, Adobe said.