Re: LANG: Text in VRML

Len Wanger (lrw@SDSC.EDU)
Fri, 24 Feb 1995 14:19:14 -0800 (PST)

I disagree with the proposals to do all text through texture mapping.
Lots of hardware does not support fast rendering off textures. also,
there are applications where I really do want 3D text.

There is an excellent set of fonts available in the Dore package (which
was just put into the public domain). It contains polygonal
representations of several fonts including serif and sans serif, bold
text, mathematical and musical symbols, etc. Leveraging this would give
a common polygonally based set of fonts for all viewers. Anyone
interested in using a different fonts could provide their own either by
creating a new font in the format or by providing text as polygons
geometry for an object, but having the basic capability available is
very important.

Another text feature that I think is important is to support annotation text.
Annotation text is text that is drawn legibly (i.e. left to right and
rightside up) regardless of the camera and viewing transforms. This is
very useful for examples such as axis on graphs.

Len Wanger -- LRW@SDSC.EDU
Project Sequoia 2000
San Diego Supercomputer Center


On Fri, 24 Feb 1995, Anthony Parisi wrote:

> Mark,
> >
> >Yes, TEXT is undoubtedly a major oversight :-o, for the following reason; we
> >need to have a standard methodology in place for the display of text data
> >inside of VRML worlds. Without this standard there's no guarantee that a
> >VRML environment will look the same from one browser to another. That would
> >be bad.
> >
> Well, no more or less bad than the lack of standards for text display in
> HTML. We know that situation is a mixed bag.
> I haven't been plugged in to this lately-- how go the efforts to standardize
> text attributes/layout within W30 or IETF? We should follow their lead(s),
> because they are farther along and have many more people thinking about the
> problem.
> >I'm using RenderMorphics' (er, I mean, Microsoft's) Reality Lab rendering
> >engine. It doesn't have any facilities for TEXT right now - their solution
> >is to use 2D text as "decals" on top of polygons as a texture map. There
> >is, as such, no control for font type or size, both of which are important
> >(although, like HTML browsers, perhaps they should be handled inside of the
> >VRML browser).
> >
> >As far as 2D text is concerned, do we want to have a common library of
> >gifs/ppms/tiffs/jpegs/??? which can be (perhaps in a commonly created and
> >shared library) concatenated into texture maps which can then be applied to
> >polygons? Is this too much work? (Features like kerning and leading
> >probably are.)
> >
> I think it would be much better if the renderers subsume 2d text-like
> features into their APIs. We (as a community) don't want to be in this
> business. And there are font companies out there who are in the business of
> making fonts. The renderers should be able to display popular 2d fonts.
> The key technical problems here are doing the transformation math and
> pumping out the bits to the display, both of which, presumably, the
> rendering vendors know how to do really well. Our job should be, simply, to
> define standards for the data types and presentation information.
> >What about text formatting? It seems reasonable that we should recapitulate
> >all of HTML's features (as heinous as that may sound, they *are* a standard)
> >into any text formatting that VRML can do. And there's a fair amount of
> >public domain source code which can help people get up to speed on this.
> >
> I agree. As I intimated above, if we do no better then HTML does for text,
> and we follow its lead as style standards develop, we wouldn't be in that
> bad shape.
> tony