Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

An Uncommon Route to a Finished Product

Developers of software tools look to satisfy and exploit new standards
RealWorldz
Graphic: 3Dlabs
A new demonstration program, RealWorldz, based on the OpenGL standard allows users to create other worlds. It is can also being used in other arenas such as visualization applications.
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Standardization has become a mantra. From process standards like ISO, that European wellspring of standardization, and quality standards like TQM, to the JPEG 2000 compression standard, and OpenGL, an imaging API, that trend continues, and that, in some respects, is a good thing.

In today's computerized and intertwined world, standards can level playing fields. They can set guidelines and establish rules that allow interoperability -- computers and controllers can talk, software can interface, tools can enhance productivity.

As standards develop, a vacuum in supporting software is created and business, like nature, abhors a vacuum. The vacuum does not last long as products that satisfy and exploit the standard's requirements are soon introduced.

Two examples are OpenGL and JPEG 2000. These two standards are vastly different in scope and utility, but both are similar in that new tools are emerging to aid in their implementation. "It is up to the software developers to think about how to take advantage of the incredible computing resources that are now available," says Randi Rost, director of developer relations for 3DLabs Inc. (Milpitas, CA).

Developers are doing just that. One recent example is 3DLabs and ATI Technologies Inc. (Markham, ON, Canada) collaborating on the RenderMonkey shader development tool suite to create shader programs in 3-D applications.

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