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Browsing For 3-D Data On the Web

For those of you struggling with how to share large 3-D files with non-CAD users when collaborating on design projects (seriously, who hasn’t), here’s something fresh to check out. Aftercad Software  has just announced a beta signup for its 3D Workspace tool, available as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which is designed to facilitate such collaboration specifically for digital prototyping or Building Information Modeling (BIM) projects.rnWith Aftercad 3D Workspace, everyday business users, not just CAD jockeys, can upload, view, mark-up, manage and publish large and complex 3-D CAD files onto the Web without the need for proprietary viewers. The goal of the software according to Aftercad CEO Chris Boothroyd, is to make it easier for companies to visualize and annotate what they’re trying to build–be it, a mechanical design or a building–for better collaboration with partners and clients. Each 3D Workspace has its own secure online file system, event notification capabilities and sharing tools to facilitate collaboration.rnUsers set up a 3D Workspace within the familiar browser environment, and the software sends invites and login instructions to all participants via email. Participants can also upload relevant documentation and 3-D models into the workspace and convert those 3-D files into visuals that don’t require special visualization software for viewing or annotation purposes, officials say. Members are also notified of the workspace events of interest so there is minimal effort to stay on top of changes, they add.rnAftercad Online is in good company in its efforts to make complex 3-D data accessible and viewable over the Web. Dassault Systemes’ 3DVIA Virtools is being touted for developing interactive, online 3-D content for design reviews, simulation-based training and sales configurators, among other applications, while Google Labs recently released O3D, an open source Web API for creating interactive 3-D applications in the browser.

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