|Part Two: An Evaluation of VRML Modelling Tools|
The VRML modelling tools reviewed in this report vary considerably in the range of features they offer, the proportion of the VRML 2.0 specification they support and in how much they cost. They can be divided loosely into three different categories, based upon their functionality.
A modeller with VRML export.
Caligari TrueSpace is a very good package for doing what it is designed for, that is high quality modelling and rendering. However, if you are only interested in creating animated VRML worlds, this package offers too few VRML specific features for its relatively high cost.
Static VRML world builders.
Although these applications have been designed primarily for creating VRML worlds, they do not support the full VRML 2.0 specification, in particular animations. RenderSoft's VRML Editor is inexpensive and easy to use, but has only a limited number of functions. Sculptware LLC Site Sculptor is orientated towards the CAD user, offering many sophisticated modelling tools. Paragraph's Internet Space Builder enables the user to quickly build texture-rich static virtual worlds, with a drag-and-drop interface and large object library.
Animated VRML world builders.
With the final two programs, the user can also add animations and object behaviours to a VRML world. Ligos V-Realm Builder supports the entire VRML 2.0 specification, however, it does require the user to have some knowledge of how the VRML scene graph works. The less expensive Platinum VRCreator does not support so many nodes, but does have a more intuitive interface, with the drag-and-drop behaviours library an especially useful feature. Another plus point for VRCreator is that its Learning Edition is freely available.
However, incompatibility is still a major problem with all the VRML modelling tools, despite VRML 2.0 now being an international standard. We encountered many difficulties whilst transferring VRML 2.0 files between applications and found that the appearance of a model would sometimes be inconsistent between modeller and VRML browser. "Fine-tuning" with a text editor is still sometimes necessary.
Graphics Multimedia Virtual Environments Visualisation Contents