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Nicholas Polys Contributes to ACM Web3D Conference 2021

November 15, 2021

Nicholas Polys, Affiliate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Director of Visual Computing for Virginia Tech Advanced Research Computing, is serving on the Steering Committee and presenting a research paper at the ACM Web3D Conference 2021 to be held November 8th-12th, 2021 in Pisa, Italy and virtually worldwide. 

The annual ACM Web3D Conference, sponsored by ACM SIGGRAPH, is a major event which unites researchers, developers, entrepreneurs, experimenters, artists and content creators in a dynamic learning environment. Attendees share and explore methods of using, enhancing and creating new 3D Web and Multimedia technologies such as X3D, VRML, Collada, MPEG family, U3D, glTF, and other technologies.

Nut Grove scan on location: captured #D model of a researcher using the PlantShoe app at a Ramps patch, with photosphere a context ([Polys et at. 2020])
User travels to a site from the 2018 Agroforestry Conference with an HMD on the conference show floor.

Nicholas Polys is presenting “X3D Field Trips for Remote Learning” which he co-authored with Kathleen Meaney in the School of Visual Arts, and John Munsell and Benjamin Addlestone in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. Their paper aligns with the conference theme,“A Shared 3D Workspace” which emphasizes the increasingly global scope and wide impact of working together online. The sudden switch to remote teaching/working/interacting raised many urgent requests for new tools, systems, and paradigms. These new needs also touched the 3D world, prompting the Web3D community to foster and support the increasing development and use of 3D content in a shared online environment. “X3D Field Trips for Remote Learning” will be published and indexed in the ACM Digital Library.


Combinations of immersive media and graphic portrayals can enable the human subjective sense of Presence. This paper collects our experiences and evaluations from six projects that use Extensible 3D (X3D) interactive graphics to deliver spatial experiences across the WWW. X3D enables the combination of spherical panoramas with 3D models and maps to visually transport users to a specific real location at a specific time. Remote users have access to these worlds through a Web-browser or other immersive device; local users in a CAVE can collaborate with natural physical gestures; . We reflect on the graphical and interactive requirements of these projects and provide guidance for future applications. In the face of physical lock-downs and distancing due to the CoVID pandemic, such platforms illustrate the opportunities and challenges in the design and delivery of spatial visualizations, especially for remote learning.  

Polys is also leading the workshop, “Web3D Geospatial Summit” and coleading the workshop, “SIGGRAPH History Considerations for 3D Model Archiving”. In addition, he will present part of the tutorial on evaluation techniques in “User Experience (UX) when Creating Web3D Scenes”.

Workshop title: Web3D Geospatial Summit


Building on the dialogues and successes from recent SIGGRAPH Carto-BOFs, we propose a more focused workshop on applications, interoperability, and technical roadmaps including OGC and Web3D Standards. We have confirmed attendees from Web3D Geospatial WG, Cesium, and ESRI to hold a workshop on geospatial data and workflows for Web3D publishing. Several stakeholders including facilities (UD Gov) and practitioners (lidar, photogrammetry) will discuss the requirements and challenges to processing and publishing Geospatial data for WWW applications.

Workshop title: SIGGRAPH History Considerations for 3D Model Archiving


The SIGGRAPH History Project has made much progress at archiving a wide variety of memorabilia documenting the storied history of 3D. Despite many decades of tremendous advances in 3D graphics, archival capabilities are not available for interactive 3D graphics models themselves. Screenshots of sophisticated models are insufficient to convey their breadth and depth. Numerous reasons have led to such a gapped state of affairs. This workshop hopes to consider requirements and goals that might help to eventually increase the scope of the SIGGRAPH History project to include 3D models. Necessary requirements include preservation of original models, adapted conversion and presentation of results when possible, viewing, 3D printing, and carefully curated sharing (if allowed by relevant license). Linked metadata can enable connections to all relevant assets so that query might support further investigation. Better understanding of diverse community needs, persistent blocking factors, and available knowledge assets is likely to encourage better shared insight about long-term goals and requirements for success. Progress is expected to be gradual but adoption of good practices can be encouraged as part of current modeling efforts to facilitate eventual sharing, insight, credit to contributors and searchability. This workshop will solicit point papers, encourage multiple points of view, and record both presentations and group discussion to facilitate continuing progress. We hope such activity can lead to improved support for the mission, vision and purpose of SIGGRAPH.

  • Mission. ACM SIGGRAPH’s mission is to nurture, champion, and connect researchers and practitioners of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.
  • Vision. Enabling Everyone to Tell Their Stories Through Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.
  • Purpose. Our purpose is to foster a membership community of people whose core values help them to catalyze the innovation and application of computer graphics and interactive techniques.

Tutorial: User Experience (UX) when Creating Web3D Scenes

Session Objectives

One of the goals of the Web3D standard is to support an easy user experience for end-users. Another goal is to support entry-level programmers to learn to build 3D scenes with a scripting language. This tutorial gives a platform to discover the learning obstacle for making 3D technology available to typical users. It offers audiences an interactive lab experience for creating the very first Web3D object/scene within one of the web browsers followed by a usability study. This working tutorial is also a platform to encourage researchers to share their most recent studies on the user experience (UX) with 3D technology and showcase the best use cases of user experience with 3D technologies on a diverse set of platforms. It also aims to call attention to UX to programmers and UI designers while they develop the 3D technology.