An Open Letter about the future of Collada from the Khronos Group

The growing use of Collada as an open, non-proprietary file format for 3D asset exchange presents new challenges and opportunities.

[Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter from the Khronos Group Board of Directors about the future of Collada. GraphicSpeak is publishing the letter as a service to the 3D digital content industry.]

March 2nd, 2012

Dear Friends of COLLADA,

Since finding its home with Khronos Group in 2005, COLLADA has received the full support and backing of the Khronos Board and member companies. However, we realize that for many in the industry COLLADA is not currently providing reliable import/export capability from key authoring packages such as 3ds Max, Maya and Blender – significantly diminishing its value in enabling authoring pipelines.

Khronos firmly believes that there is a vital place for an open, non-proprietary file format that is responsive to community needs, but it is clear we need richer cooperation between the 3D community and the Khronos working group for COLLADA to truly thrive.

Discussions at Khronos have highlighted that OpenCOLLADA is perhaps the best potential vehicle to create a rock-solid import/export capability that many developers will find genuinely useful – but the momentum behind this open source project has stalled.

Consequently, Khronos proposes that it host a COLLADA forum, open to all, to provide input into COLLADA projects and priorities. Additionally, Khronos has committed funding to kick-start work on OpenCOLLADA by fixing currently recognized bugs, and to run the conformance test suite and publish results for 3ds Max, Maya and Blender import/export to create a baseline for directed improvement. We suggest we initially focus on COLLADA 1.4 features used in practice in everyday workflows and we would invite community involvement in OpenCOLLADA and support an OpenCOLLADA maintainer from the community.

But we need your feedback! Are these the right steps?

The start the discussion, and further underscore our commitment to COLLADA, Khronos is hosting a series of COLLADA Community Meet Ups to get your input and feedback. The first COLLADA Meetup is being held concurrently to GDC in San Francisco on March 7th, please sign-up to attend if you want to have a voice in COLLADA’s future:

There is a lot of positive COLLADA momentum in the industry: Apple now natively supports COLLADA in MacOS Lion and iBooks, Google uses COLLADA in Google Earth and SketchUp, Adobe and many others provide extensive COLLADA support. AutomationML and the CAD industry are investing in COLLADA 1.5 and we are pushing forward to make COLLADA an ISO standard. There are extensive COLLADA conformance test resources publicly posted here: free for anyone to use. Khronos will continue to provide a forum for industry participation and evolution of the COLLADA standard.

There is also a growing synergy between COLLADA and the development and deployment needs of the WebGL community – an exciting new wave of opportunity.

We welcome participation in COLLADA from all companies large and small. We believe the 3D community has a mutually shared interest in making COLLADA thrive. Please let us know what you think – we value your feedback and participation to make sure COLLADA continues to evolve for the benefit of all of us in the 3D industry!

On behalf of the Khronos Board of Directors,

Neil Trevett, Khronos Group President
Ed Plowman, Khronos Group Treasurer
Elizabeth Riegel, Khronos Group Executive Director

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Khronos Open Letter to COLLADA Community
Invitation to COLLADA Meetup at GDC San Francisco