Flash Gurus (Pt IV) Carlos Ulloa
The man who brought and continues to bring an extra dimension to Flash design with Papervision3D
One of the greatest things about any technical development community is that some of the people involved don’t just accept what they are given – they extend things somehow. By spotting a shared need and working extremely hard to push their chosen toolset that one bit further, the boundaries are redefined for all of us forever. Carlos Ulloa epitomises this category for his work in pioneering Papervision3D. Web Designer first encountered it at Barcelona’s Adobe MAX 2007 conference when creator Carlos held an engaging session on what could be achieved with it. By projecting live awe-inspiring examples from his own Papervision playground at www.carlosulloa.com, he had the room spellbound. So what is it, you may be asking, and what’s the story of its conception? Essentially, Papervision3D is an open source 3D engine for Flash, distributed under the MIT licence and free for users to use on commercial projects. By introducing support for Collada, the industry-standard XML schema for sharing assets between leading 3D packages, Papervision gives designers a collection of objects that can map to models produced in packages like Maya, Swift 3D, Blender and 3ds Max. The possibilities, such as those found on sites like www.redbull.com/flightlab and www.canon-europe.com/eos400d are truly groundbreaking, and crucial to delivering a more immersive web experience.
Virtual world echoes
It is no coincidence, therefore, that 38-year-old Spanish-born developer Carlos Ulloa Matesanz has drawn inspiration for authoring the platform from an earlier career in games design. During the Nineties, he enjoyed roles at Psygnosis and Sony, working on various areas of development on key PC and PlayStation titles. From 1999, his career moved online and specifically, Flash-based web design, with spells at Ogilvy Interactive Madrid, DoubleYou Barcelona and finally Hi-Res! in London. It was in this time that experiences involving typographic effects and interactivity were fused with the lessons learned within motion graphics and 3D to prompt the first experiments with Papervision just under three years ago. The first debut of the platform can be viewed on version three of Ulloa’s portfolio site at www.noventaynueve.com, which remains as fresh an example of the technology as you’ll see.
In terms of what the Papervision story and Carlos Ulloa means to the Flash community, you have to think how much of an impact such advancements have universally. We can assume that the web will continue to evolve into a much more immersive experience for work and play. Serving up 3D graphics will be integral to that, and it’s thanks to innovators like Carlos Ulloa that we’re able to dream today.