COLLADA, the standard 3D interchange format, makes it much easier to translate complex animated 3D models across Google Earth, Google Sketch-Up, Adobe Photoshop, Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3, Autodesk Maya, and many other applications. COLLADA integrates 3D geometry, textures, complex material, complex skeletal and facial animation, physical simulations, and many more aspects. With such power comes complexity: integrating COLLADA from scratch in your application is not for the faint-hearted. Luckily developers have created reusable libraries to simplify this process, including FCollada, which is open-source, well tested, can import all versions of COLLADA and has been integrated into many applications.

We've worked on development of FCollada over the past two years, thanks to support from Google's Open Source Progams Office. Until recently, the library was only offered for Windows; it is now available for Mac OS X and several Linux distributions.

Google's sponsorship also enabled us to distribute and support two additional tools for Linux and Mac OS X enthusiasts:
  • ColladaMaya, a complete COLLADA translator designed for Autodesk Maya. It's now available for all three major platforms under the MIT license.

  • Feeling Viewer, a reference viewer for COLLADA content, supports all standard COLLADA features. A stand-alone version of the viewer is available for free on Linux and Mac.