General Software

First Look Review: Kaon vSpace Master

10 Feb, 2006 By: Ron LaFon

Create interactive sales and marketing tools with access to product knowledge and 3D animated demonstrations.


Kaon Interactive is known for its Web-enabled applications that create interactive sales and marketing materials that include real-time
Kaon vSpace Master
Pros: Flexible and capable; moderately priced; good file format support and tools.
Cons: None significant.
Phone: 978.823.0111
Price: $495
www.kaon.com
access to product knowledge and 3D animated demonstrations. Among its offerings are tools such as Kaon vSpace Master that target the CAD user.

Kaon vSpace Master turns standard 3D models into reusable master models. The 3D content can come from CAD systems (AutoCAD, Pro/ENGINEER, Inventor and SolidWorks), industrial design tools (Alias Studio and Rhino), visual effects packages (3ds Max, Maya) or any other tool with VRML97 or DWF export capabilities.

The Master Model (XMM) concept is central to vSpace. It's a way of describing 3D product models that a company can use throughout the organization — fulfilling the needs of small companies, yet scalable to larger endeavors. Uses range from a simple Web-based product tour to stills or video for Flash applications to PowerPoint presentations and 3D PDF files that don't require any special viewers or plug-ins, only the free Adobe Reader 7.0 for viewing and manipulation.

figure
Kaon's vSpace Master creates an animation script for a 3D model of a video camera. The user has just right-clicked the eyepiece of the camera and can now manipulate its state to add a keyframe to the animation script.

Kaon Interactive recently announced its induction into the Autodesk DWF Partner Program and now supports the DWF file format in vSpace Master. You can import DWF files directly into vSpace Master and use them in your presentations.

Though it imports 3D geometry, texture and animations from a variety of authoring systems, vSpace Master is far more than a translation tool because you can enhance the imported content. vSpace Master can handle models with hundreds of megabytes of texture or millions of polygons; the program compresses and optimizes them for reuse.

Software installation is simple and straightforward, as is the vSpace Master interface. Even though vSpace Master is easy to use, it contains a wealth of sophisticated and powerful tools that allow you to:

  • automatically extract geometry, appearance and animation;
  • copy or paste parts between different models;
  • scale or rotate and move mesh data;
  • adjust scene lighting and orientation; and
  • edit material properties such as color, texture and lighting.

These tools, among many others, provide great flexibility in creating your final presentation, which you then can save and export in a variety of formats.

Kaon's vSpace Master is currently available for $495 for a single-user license for commercial use. A 14-day demo version is available for download from the Kaon Web site, as are tutorials to get you started. As noted, the vSpace family of products is scalable and includes a server product, vSpace Server, if your projects need the ease and flexibility that a server facilitates. For models with megabytes of texture, Kaon's vSpace Texture tool augments vSpace Master, giving fine control over compression and optimization techniques specific to texture imagery. vSpace Master is available for both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Because the vSpace family of products focuses on publishing 3D interactive content, perhaps the best examples of what the products can do is found on the Kaon Web site, which features links to real-world examples. If you need to repurpose your 3D CAD and design work for interactive use for applications such as sales, marketing, presentations and training, Kaon vSpace Master is a capable solution that is well worth investigating.


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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