The Khronos Group announced the release of a new COLLADA specification, which includes new features and expanded functionality designed to "further broaden the applicability" of the 3D digital asset standard.
COLLADA 1.5 adds new B-rep and kinematics functionality, which enables COLLADA to be adopted by the AutomationML group, a consortium of automotive industry leaders that includes Daimler and ABB, as the intermediate language for CAD automation workflows.
The update provides a new OpenGL ES 2.0 effects profile and enhanced support for external shader effects systems, which allows for a wider range of content authoring tools for developers using frameworks such as Microsoft XNA with DirectX.
COLLADA 1.5 also includes georeferencing of geospatially defined assets, enabling GIS applications to blend real and virtual 3D assets. Working with Google, the COLLADA team added a new file format extention called .ZAE (Zipped Asset Exchange) assets, often created in Google’s SketchUp 3D modeling tool, to be distributed through the Google 3D Warehouse. SketchUp version 7, due out later this summer, is expected to support this functionality.
Khronos intends to support COLLADA 1.4 for existing users in parallel with its COLLADA 1.5 development. The group announced the release of the COLLADA 1.4.1 2nd Edition specification, which includes corrections, clarifications, and minor additions to COLLADA 1.4’s documentation, as well as enhanced explanations for transparency, animation, lighting, splines, and skinning.
In addition, the company is planning a fourth-quarter release of the Conformance Test Suite for COLLADA 1.4. The suite comprises a complete GUI and scripting framework that integrates testing methodology with authoring tools and rendering applications. It also contains up to 500 COLLADA-based content test cases.
Said Khronos president Neil Trevett: “COLLADA 1.5 is a very significant release as it contains new functionality that enables completely new industries to use COLLADA – as well as expanding the use of this widely used standard in its traditional content-creation markets. The industry momentum of COLLADA has now reached a critical tipping point – it has become a genuine lingua franca for 3D designers everywhere.”