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Alias FBX SDK to Support COLLADA

Alias announced that its FBXsoftware development kit (SDK), the most widely used and supported file interchange platform in the digital entertainment content development community, will soon incorporate support for third party file formats, including COLLADA. As an XML based, multi-vendor exchange format launched by Sony Computer Ent. Inc., COLLADA was recently adopted as an open-standard initiative by the Khronos Group and is used by game content developers, particularly those developing art assets for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and wireless handheld devices. The announcement to support COLLADA, and other third party formats commonly used by the CG industry, marks the beginning of a new development strategy for the FBX SDK.

FBX is already the most widely used 3D interchange format in the entertainment market and support continues to skyrocket thanks to our free, downloadable SDK, said Michel Besner, vp of business development, emerging markets, Alias. Now, by opening up our FBX SDK to handle multiple file formats, including COLLADA, .obj and .3ds, we are paving the way for it to become the standard API to read/write 3D data across all markets.

Alias and Khronos share the vision of enabling 3D software developers to easily share content and assets across multiple authoring applications, and to enable deployment of that content across a wide diversity of platforms, said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group. More than 2,500 content developers will gain support for the COLLADA file format through this significant update to the FBX SDK, creating new opportunities for both the growing COLLADA developer community and the wider graphics industry.

While FBX has been the most widely used and supported file interchange platform in the digital entertainment content development community for quite some time, its popularity took a leap forward this past spring when Alias made the powerful, easy-to-use FBX SDK available free of charge. To date, there are more than 2,500 registered developers using the FBX SDK developers that represent the majority of 2D & 3D software companies on the market, including Autodesk Inc., Avid Technology Inc., Maxon Computer Inc., NaturalMotion Ltd., NewTek Inc. and Strata, as well as Alias.

Reasons the FBX SDK is so popular with the 3D development community include the fact that it is easy to use, offers robust conversion capabilities, including data parsing and the ability to convert animation and geometry data across multiple data structures, and is available for use on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. Now, above and beyond these advantages, the SDK will have the ability to read/write multiple formats (.FBX, .3ds, .obj and COLLADA) without additional plug-ins. For FBX SDK developers this means that they will have access to these formats without having to learn a new API.

Maxon has been a long time supporter of the FBX initiative, said Marco Tillmann, product manager for Cinema4D, Maxon Computer. The FBX SDK has contributed very positively to our business, and we were very pleased to learn that there is potential to see an even greater return on our investment as we gain direct, instant access to other file formats such as COLLADA.

The Alias FBX SDK is a free, easy-to-use C++ software development platform and API toolkit that provides conversion utilities allowing application and content vendors to transfer their existing commercial and demonstration content into the FBX format with minimal effort.

Alias FBX is a platform-independent 3D authoring and interchange format that provides access to 3D content from most 3D vendors and platforms. The FBX file format supports all major 3D data elements, as well as 2D, audio, and video media elements.

The Khronos Group (www.khronos.org) is a member-funded industry consortium focused on the creation of open standard APIs such as COLLADA, OpenGL ES, OpenMAX, OpenVG, OpenSL ES and OpenML to enable the authoring and acceleration of dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices.

COLLADA (COLLAborative Design Activity) is an XML based file format to enable the lossless interchange of digital assets. COLLADA has been adopted by the Khronos Group as an open-standard initiative for the interactive entertainment industry.

Alias (www.alias.com) develops software for the film and video, games, web, interactive media, industrial design, automotive, architecture and visualization markets. Alias is headquartered in Toronto with a custom development center in Santa Barbara with offices worldwide.

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