Since the 20th century, the screen has imposed an “analogous to paper” way of thinking, which is flat and restricted to the limits of a rectangle. The way we conceived information, media and especially web interfaces, has also remained flat, restricted and sometimes frozen.
Although the recently developed languages, like HTML5, allow the integration of animation in web pages, they remain limited in their possibilities and far from being ideal. As for the need of interaction with interfaces, video is not an adequate solution either to bring life to the web.
” Without leaving their browsers, users can now access a 3D experience”
Since the standard 3D OpenGL, known asWebGL, was integrated to the web, the browser now has endowed with the same capacity as the OS to use the processor and the graphics board to display in 3D. Thus, without leaving their browsers, users can now access a 3D experience. If mini-games similar to flash games from the early 2000s, or artistic experimental websites come to mind, the 3D scale in the browser is certainly much broader: there are more users of web browsers, across all platforms (about 3 billion), with the Web and its standards as a common language, than any other operating system, software or platform. The browser has become the privileged window to get access to information, communication, media (photos, videos, music, etc.), and to integrated web applications like Google Docs, Evernote or Microsoft Office… One might therefore imagine that the browser will also become the first choice interface, whether for 3D experiences or software.
One might therefore imagine that the browser will also become the first choice interface, whether for 3D experience or software.
“The integration of 3D gives the ability to create not only web interfaces but also real physical product models.”
And the implications are even wider: while images are frozen and videos are not interactive, the integration of 3D gives the ability to create web interfaces, or even real physical product models for the automotive, real estate, or ready-to-wear fashion sectors. With this new revolution, users can now not only check all the angels of a 3D object, but they can also customize it in real-time.
They can interact more fluidly with the proposed or displayed objects, and get a realistic and personalized experience. The web interface then becomes a genuine virtual space for the brand image, its creator or for existing locations translated into 3D whether it’s a shop, a showroom or even an advertising landscape.
3D will accelerate this transformation by offering unique co-creation tools that can turn anyone from a simple actor into a full-fledged creator. With 3D tools, you can customize a product and visualize the results in real-time, for example. And now you can also co-create using the tools proposed by different brands.
There is no doubt that there is a new trend emerging and quickly gaining ground. Internet-users are no longer happy with just commenting, but also want to participate, act, and share their vision of the world.
Digital creation has always followed its own special path, and for the last few years flat design has held the line as the industry standard. It is based on a clean and simple layout made up mainly of flat colors and eye-catching typography and icons. The main advantage of this type of design lies in the clarity of the layout it offers, but it does have one major shortcoming: it tends to standardize digital production and lessen the impact and the unique “look & feel” of each individual project.
As the name so aptly suggests, “flat design” is all about the X and Y axes. The Z-axis is still unchartered territory. However, Google has already begun to explore this option with its Material Design that proposes 3D animations.
WebGL: Dynamic 3D on browser
WebGL is a programming language, which allows users to put up, to create and to manage complex graphic elements in 3D on browser (source: Wikipedia). It uses the graphic card performances without overloading the processor of your computer or mobile. The language uses all the elements that compose a 3D image: scene, 3D forms and objects, textures and materials, lights, virtual cameras… It allows for a great deal of interactivity with a given scene: 360, in and out zooming, animation, angles switching, etc.
Material Design: An introduction to the Z Axis
That’s why Google has just proposed new digital creation style, known as Material design.
”We challenged ourselves to create a visual language for our users that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science. This is material design.” Google Material Design specifications.
This new visual language offers an approach to the interface based on animations and perspectives that give more personality and depth to the user experience.
When we refer to perspective and depth, we mean the addition of a third dimension: the Z axis.
Space can be defined along three axes: X, Y and Z. While Flat Design only progresses through two axes, Materiel Design offers users the opportunity to explore the Z axis.
This is an interesting first step, but, in the end, it does not really use that Z axis, contrary to the possibilities WebGL offers.
Thank you Z!
…and OS is still 2D! god damn it!