Universal Media

Media-rich content for bandwidth-starved devices

 

Table of Contents

Overview
Industry Buzz: What The Experts Are Saying
Quick Course: How To Use Universal Media
Recommended Practice Proposal
View Textures

Visit the Seaside world to see a demo of Universal Media application.

Copyright(c) 2000 All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Universal Media Element Library (UMEL) Overview

"The Web3D Consortium's Universal Media Working Group was established in June of 1997 with a charter to increase the realism of Web3D worlds and decrease network downloads by defining a small, cross-platform library of locally resident media elements (textures, sounds and 3D objects) together with the mechanism by which content creators can incorporate these media elements into their worlds.

Universal Media increases the realism of online Web3D worlds (VRML, Java 3D, and other online 3D technologies) and decreases network downloads by defining a small, cross-platform library of locally resident media elements (textures, sounds and 3D objects) and a uniform resource name (URN) mechanism by which Web3D content creators can incorporate these media elements into their worlds. Universal Media allows content authors to create media-rich worlds that can be instantly loaded over even the slowest dial-up modem Internet connections. Content created using Universal Media loads, on average, 20 to 50 times faster then it would otherwise.

Specifically, the Web3D Consortium's Universal Media Working Group defined cross-platform media libraries comprised of textures that reside on the client (end user computer systems). Universal Media is distributed freely through the Web3D Consortium. At the time of this writing version 1.0 of the Textures library ("Textures 1.0") was scheduled for immediate release, while sounds and 3D objects were scheduled for later release.

Because Universal Media is stored on the user's hard drive (or other local storage), content authors can use Universal Media just as they do "local" resources, without concern for downloading each media element over a network connection.

In this respect, Universal Media can be thought of as a locally resident suite of 3D media primitives, or media building blocks, that enable Web3D content developers to construct realistic looking and sounding worlds without the penalty of network transfers typically associated with media-rich worlds. And, since the media elements that will ultimately make up the Universal Media are expected to be of extremely high quality, Web3D content developers will be able to build compelling worlds in considerably less time and at an overall lower cost than if they were to create such media themselves.
 
 
 

Compared to Fonts

Universal Media is to Web3D worlds what fonts are to plain text documents: Authors can greatly enhance their work with very little effort by using professionally developed elements designed to increase the appeal of their documents. Similar to fonts, Universal Media resides locally on end user systems, eliminating the need for media to be distributed along with the 3D world. As a result, authors can incorporate any number of textures, sounds and 3D objects into their worlds without increasing the time it takes the world to download -- only the world definition itself (.wrl files) is sent over the wire, while media is retrieved from the user's local hard drive. 

The Universal Media system works in a similar fashion to that of fonts. A library of commonly used textures, sounds and 3D objects is installed on end user systems, allowing authors to reference any number of these elements in their worlds without concern for file sizes and download restrictions. Since the Universal Media resides on the end user's hard drive, only the 3D world itself (and any custom media elements it requires) is downloaded over the network. Universal Media savvy tools and browsers realize that references to Universal Media elements are actually references to locally resident media, and so load the appropriate media elements from the user's local hard drive rather than attempting to download them over the network.

NOTE: Properly constructed Universal Media worlds are backwards compatible with standard VRML browsers. Universal Media can therefore be used without concern for browser support of URNs or Universal Media.


 
 

Media Primitives

Universal Media can be thought of as a locally resident suite of 3D media primitives, or professional media building blocks, that enable content developers to construct realistic looking and sounding worlds without the penalty of network transfers typically associated with such worlds. Since the media elements that make up the Universal Media are of extremely high quality, authors can build compelling worlds in considerably less time and at an overall lower cost than if they were to create such media themselves.

Although the positive impact Universal Media has on network traffic may be immediately apparent, bandwidth efficient, rapid access to media-rich 3D worlds is only one of the many benefits the system offers to authors and software vendors. Authors can substantially increase the appeal of their worlds using Universal Media's professional, pre made content, while browser and tool vendors are able to increase the value of their products by making them Universal Media savvy with very little effort.

NOTE: Properly constructed Universal Media worlds are backwards compatible with standard VRML browsers. Universal Media can therefore be used without concern for browser support of URNs or Universal Media.


 
 
 

Industry BUZZZZZZZ: What The Experts Are Saying

"Universal Media will change your Vespa web page into a Lamborghini"

Chris Marrin, Universal Media Technical Advisor
Senior Software Architect, Sony Corporation
 

"Universal Media promises to allow us to spend our time exploring online worlds, rather than waiting for them to download."

Mitra, Universal Media Technical Advisor
Mitra Internet Consulting
 

"Universal Media is one more brick in a growing foundation as VRML supports the creation of a useful cyberspace."

Sandy Ressler
 

"Whether the Next Big Thing in multimedia is a descendent of VRML or ChromeEffects or something yet glimmering in the corner of a lab, it'll live or die depending on whether the content can be downloaded within a 7th grader's attention span. Universal Media is completely unspectacular and completely necessary. It's the sesame seed bun that's going to make all the difference to the next Internet Big Mac."

Bob Crispen
The Boeing Company
 

"Building the Universal Media library can provide a great leap forward. Why? Most technical folks understand that the core challenge in all Web technology is scalability. But remember: you turn the corner towards true scalability when things get easy, not when they're difficult. If Universal Media succeeds, compelling 3D graphics content with great multimedia sounds & imagery can scale up and show up everywhere. Send in your best nuggets to Universal Media; let's build the world's greatest content palette."

Don Brutzman
Technology Vice President, Web3D Consortium
Assistant Professor, Naval Postgraduate School; educator & world builder.
 

"Universal Media is what most perfectly resembles a paintbrush and color paints, bringing to life the outlined sketch on the canvas, all becoming the great work, from which colors and sound emerge, turning Web3D into the symphony of Art and Science."

Gerardo Quintieri
3D CG Artist/Animator
 

"Universal Media saves oodles of time compared to hunting for content out on the web.  And versus creating content from scratch...  Don't get me started!"

Mike Wren
PSW Technologies


Those who control the past, control the future;
Those who control the future, control the present;
Those who control the present, control the past. ~George Orwell

Lauren Gauthier
3D Net Productions