When I first started to write about PaperVision it was slightly off the subject for discussions of the metaverse, unable at this time to support multiple AVs. But rapid development makes it clear that it’s an application that will have legs, and in combination with the work being done over at Metaplace it’s worth bearing in mind that Flash is likely to become the platform of choice for 3D “thin clients”.

The evolving Metaverse will include overlays of virtual information on the real world (HUDs in “RL” cars and information shadows viewed through your sunglasses or on your iPhone), little 3D environments attached to “2D” Web sites, and then worlds within worlds.

With PaperVision, for example, there are applications that graph a Twitter stream in 3D…if you imagine this same information was ported into SL and displayed as objects, that those objects had links to in-world avatars, then you can start to imagine how the Web/3D and immersive worlds will start to talk to each other and information will have different froms of expression depending on which platform its expressed in.

Because I’ve posted on this in a number of places, I thought I’d aggregate it here.

First, a little test of Papervision augmented reality to show where this is all taking us:

Papervision – Augmented Reality (extended) from dpinteractive on Vimeo.

The use of 3D in Flash, a video by bringing us 6 months of 3D Flash in 10 minutes:

6 months of 3D in flash in 10 minutes from Galdric on Vimeo.


One of the best all-in-one resources is by Mr. Doobs. Topics covered include:

1. Preparing your tools
2. Getting the source
3. Creating a Papervision Base Template
4. Basic Template Usage
5. Basic Texturing
6. Loading Complex Models
7. Basic Mouse Interaction
8. Keyboard Interaction (To move the camera)
9. Basic Interactivity
10. Advanced Interactivity
11. Advanced Interactivity 2
12. Animation using Tweener

Mad Vertices Tutorials
“Core training” tutorials include:
PV3D “Setting Up”
PV3D Intro – Hello World (I)
PV3D Material Basics (II)
PV3D Primitives (III)
Swift 3D & PV3D (IV)
PV3D Collada (DAE Files (V)
PV3D Object Properties & Interactivity (VI)
Animation using Tweener (VII)
Applying Shader Materials (VIII)
Applying Viewport Filters (IX)

Other Sources

Over on Nabble, the discussion forum is a good place to post specific Papervision questions – and you’ll generally get a response.

Computer Arts put a nice little Papervision tutorial together here.

A nice tutorial on cleaning up text in PPV.

Two tutorials in Portugese and provides a nice intro with a follow-up more advanced discussion.

A tutorial “from the ground up” includes screen shots and does a great job of describing the integration to 3DS etc.

Flash Enabled Blog also has a list of tutorials and resources.

Some of the Best


Following has beautiful art, smooth transitions between ’spaces’, and subtle use of the 3D effect. One of the best Papervision uses out there. By Mccann Erickson Japan. Visit site here.

Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific gives a 3D tour of their new cabin, including movie trailers – a nice mix of Papervision and Flash.

Jump to source.

This example partly for look and feel and partly because the code is open source.


From the good people at Blitz who are real pioneers with Papervision:



White Void, a nice piece of navigation and much discussed, blogged about, and considered perhaps a premiere example of the power of Papervision: (Source)


Reaction Plus has released a ‘rework’ of the White Void premise, including source code.

Papervision as 3D navigation for branding:.



Integration with Web Data

Moving on to data integration, a beautiful piece of work that pulls images from Flickr into a 3D rotatable space. If only it would allow selection of which Flickr stream!


Which reminded me of this Firefox plug-in for viewing images across a variety of sites:

Papervision “cover flow” (think iPod) using a Flickr stream:


And then this astonishing example of mixing Papervision with Adobe’s new AIR, which creates a visual search as described:

I just did a little experiment with AIR and Papervision. This app grabs all the overview thumbs from, saves them together with the corresponding tags in a local database and lets you search through them. It also generates checkboxes for each tag so you can filter them. The search result is visualized with papervision. It´s really fun to type and see all the items fly around and rearrange.


n the meantime, a spherical version of the previous Flickr box I previously posted:



The Eye Project is astonishing. Have a look. Based on user-posted photos, beautiful blippy loops of music, a feast for the eyes. But is it Papervision? Um, I can’t remember, but who cares, it’s beautiful. (NB: May 2009, link no longer active, sorry).


One more Papervision sample for the day, so I don’t lose it, a mash-up of Yahoo news and a 3D world:


As quoted from the developer:

The NewsGlobe consists of three basic pieces: a Yahoo! News Top Stories RSS feed, a geo-encoding web service from Yahoo! Maps, and a free, open-source library of 3D classes for ActionScript 3 called Papervision3D. The application loads the Y! News RSS feed every few minutes and extracts the dateline for each story. It sends this descriptive textual information off to the Yahoo! Maps service to find a matching location, and return latitude and longitude coordinates for it. The rest is simply a matter of using the 3D classes in ActionScript to create a visually engaging experience that’s either automated or interactive.

Papervision3D makes it incredibly easy to create a 3D scene, add 3D objects to it, and specify where the camera (i.e., the user’s viewpoint) should be located. For each story location where we are able to discern a lat-long coordinate, we draw a marker object and place it in the proper position on a sphere representing the Earth. The display is calculated and drawn in real time. This allows us to animate the view over time and even lets the user change the view by interacting with the objects in the scene.

Tag Galaxy takes tags from Flickr and maps them as a galaxy of terms. Each planet is a tag – and if you click each planet it becomes a new mini solar system.

All that’s missing is the ability to click through to the photos themselves, but it demonstrates a sort of intuitive mapping of information from a massive stream of information.

Code and Snippets

Papervision as particle generator, an example of dynamically generating objects, with sliders shifting the particle stream:


Showing ambient occlusion:



Then comes the first use of Papervision in a multi-player environment:

A few samples of 3D environments:


3D House building tool

DO check this out and move your mouse around – and check out the download and render times. Not a 3D world but shows where 3D could be. The demo is built in Papervision.


PaperWorld is an open source project looking to build virtual worlds/multi-user environments on the Papervision platform. It promises the delivery of games such as the following:


According to the PaperWorld site:

PaperWorld3D is an open-source Flash/Java project which provides MMOG functionality for PaperVision3D projects.
“If you can do it in Papervision, you can do it multiplayer over the network with PaperWorld.”

Coverage of a presentation in Amsterdam gives a little more detail of the MMO framework:

The Paperworld framework relies on precalc’d 3d transformations on the server that are pushed to the client – partly for speed reasons and partly to maintain coherence in multiplayer movement. The Flash client smooths server proxy positions and the current local position of your avatar to give a motion that is a little more robust to fluctuations in latency. To get round the problem of larger 3d environments choking on download bandwidth, the Paperworld server does not use sharedobjects, but has relevant set selection – a technique which checks how far away an object is from each player, taking into account direction of movement, to intelligently load content

Here’s an alternative to Papervision built by a team of Russians at Alternativa 3D.

(Click photo):

Two more samples of the 3D engine in full effect are at the Alterniva Platform blog.


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