There are basically two types of VRML modellers, object builders and scene assemblers. An object builder enables the user to create arbitrary shapes interactively and then export the geometry in the VRML format. These packages usually support other 3D file formats as well. ClayWorks (Tim Lewis, Lancaster University) and Ez3d (Radiance Software International) are examples of object builders. A scene assembler allows the user to assemble 3D objects into VRML scene, and include hyperlinks, inlines and Level-Of-Detail. WebSpace Author (Silicon Graphics), Fountain (Caligari Corporation) and Virtual Home Space Builder (ParaGraph International) are examples of this type of software.
A hyperlinked list of VRML modellers can be found at the SDSC VRML Repository.
Obj2wrl is a PERL (Practical Expression and Report Language) script which reads a Wavefront OBJ file and outputs the geometry in the VRML format.
Autodesk have produced an IPAS module which converts 3DStudio models into VRML. The module allows the user to attach WWWAnchor links to objects and include WWWInlines. The IPAS routine will only run under 3DStudio Release 4.
This is a command-line program for the SGI platform which converts Inventor files into VRML. Silicon Graphics also provide translators which convert DXF, stereolithography (SLA), OBJ, Alias, Softimage, IGES and 3DS files into the Open Inventor format. So to convert, let's say, DXF into VRML, one could use DxfToIv and then ivToVRML.
WCVT2POV is a Windows application that converts between many different 3D file formats. VRML is just one of the formats it can export. Formats that it can import include DXF, 3DS, Neutral File Format, OBJ, RAW triangles and TrueType Fonts. It also displays the loaded geometry.
Figure 5-1 WCVT2POV (17K)
Organic Online provide a public DXF to VRML conversion service. It requires uploading the DXF file to ftp.organic.com, waiting two hours, then retrieving the translated file using HTTP.
The ORC public translator works in a similar way. But it can translate from Alias, 3DS, IGES, Inventor, SoftImage, SLA and Wavefront, as well as DXF.
The VRML Repository has a complete list of geometry translators.
Vrmllint is a program for SGI systems which checks files for invalid VRML. Any problems are reported.
This Web site contains a VRML authentication script. Enter the URL of the VRML model to be checked in the form, press the submit button, then any errors will be reported.
Figure 5-2 The VRML Authenticator (25K)
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