Saturday, 18 September 2010

It's all 3D now!

In the last post I explained that, as you might expect, 3D was the big topic at IBC. Even the featured movies were 3D with a special 8 minutes more version of Avatar and the chance to see Toy Story 3 (or is that Toy Story 3D?) ... good movie by the way.

The jury is still out as to whether 3D in the home will take off; and they may be away for some time. But I don't doubt that 3D is a key thing for Hollywood, and it's noticeable that the 3D look of movies is getting more subtle. We were shown a trailer for Tron Legacy, which was 3D but didn't wave it in your face. I'm very happy with that: it's like the early days of stereo records, when table tennis games were a common demonstrator. It wasn't called ping pong stereo for nothing.

So how is 3D doing on the desktop? If you have the right graphics card it can be already here for some games, and for CAD systems. Since the 3D movies are assembled and edited on computers 3D has made it there too. I wonder what would happen when 3D is so ubiquitous that we are expected to use 3D techniques and metaphors for real on the desktop. Of course we have been using 3D elements in a 2D desktop world for years. It started with the idea that one window was in front of another, moved through drop shadows and eventually reached immersive environments like Second Life.

Should we be thinking now about this? What are the three-dimensional equivalents of and extensions of our two-dimensional desktop and interface? Are there any brand new things we could do to help users with more space at our disposal?

Have you any thoughts ... or is this just another temporary fad or even a preliminary phase on the way to something better? Holographic desktop anyone?

Talking of temporary fads, or at least those things known as internet memes ... here's a little light relief to either encourage you to put your baby photos on line ... or perhaps not!