3D Modeling in the Cloud

Creators of 3D digital graphics have a new cloud-based software option thanks to an applied research project undertaken by Seneca College researchers in partnership with Ottawa tech company Exocortex Technologies.

Seneca’s Centre for Development of Open Technology (CDOT) worked closely with Exocortex to produce Clara.io, a high-quality online 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software. Clara.io was built with many open source technologies, including three.js, a popular JavaScript library for 3D web development. As is the pattern in the field of web development, Exocortex has lent their experience in 3D graphics to enhancing the three.js library.

The development of Clara.io built on Seneca’s extensive work using WebGL, a JavaScript API for hardware accelerated 3D graphics. Clara.io significantly reduces cost barriers for 3D digital creators while offering performance comparable to traditional workstation-based 3D applications. It requires no installation and is entirely cloud-based with no need to install plug-ins. The tool is accessible to users with modest hardware set-up because the rendering engine and project assets are cloud-based.

Clara.io now has more than 94,000 registered creators with average editing sessions of over 70 minutes, a 100% increase in less than eight months. A large gallery of user-generated 3D models is already available. In the near future, Clara.io will open source a component of their software so that users can also enhance the tool.

“We are creating many, many jobs for highly skilled computer scientists, marketing and business people… revolutionizing the creation of digital media right here in Ontario.” says Ben Houston, CEO of Exocortex.

Funded by: Innovation Enhancement (IE) Grant

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