Apple Computer Enhances QuickTime VR to Integrate Image-Based Virtual
Reality With 3D, Movies, Animation and Sound
QuickTime VR 2.0 for Mac Ships: Endorsed by Wide Range of Innovative Developers
MacWorld — January 7, 1997 — Apple Computer, Inc. (Cupertino, CA) today
launched QuickTime VR(R) 2.0 for Mac(TM) OS — a major update that bridges
the gap between multimedia and image-based virtual reality.
QuickTime VR 2.0 incorporates the feature most desired by developers since
the initial release of QuickTime VR, a C API. This allows developers to do
more than add virtual reality scenes to their CD-ROM titles, games, and Web
pages — it enables the creation of lively virtual worlds with 3D objects,
movies, audio and animation. With the new C API, QuickTime VR can easily
be integrated with Apple’s other QuickTime Media Layer (QTML) technologies,
QuickTime and QuickDraw(TM) 3D, on both Mac OS and Windows. Through
QuickTime VR, media-rich VR content may be authored once and easily
deployed across Mac OS, Windows and the Net.
QuickTime VR (QTVR) is the acknowledged standard for creating and viewing
photo-realistic environments (panoramas) and real-world objects on Mac OS
and Windows computers. Users interact with QuickTime VR content with a
complete 360 degree perspective and control their viewpoint through the
mouse, keyboard, trackpad or trackball. Using a QTVR-enabled authoring
tool, panoramas and objects are automatically ‘stitched together’ from
digitized photographs or 3D renderings to create a realistic visual
“With QuickTime VR 2.0, Apple continues to deliver the best in
open-architecture multimedia solutions,” said Carlos Montalvo, Vice
President, Interactive Media Group, Apple Computer, Inc. “Our goal is to
make Apple’s name synonymous with not just the Macintosh(R), but with the
best in multimedia technology on all platforms — QTVR 2.0 brings us
another step closer to that goal.”
Developer support for QuickTime VR has been enthusiastic since the
technology’s launch 2 years ago, and this support will increase with
QuickTime VR 2.0. Leading vendors who have already built QuickTime VR
capability into their applications include Microsoft (Redmond, WA),
Macromedia (San Francisco, CA), Strata (Saint George, UT), mFactory
(Burlingame,CA), and MetaTools (Carpinteria, CA). Netscape Communications
Corporation (Mountain View, CA) also provides QuickTime VR support through
its bundled QuickTime Plug-in for Netscape Navigator 3.0 and Netscape
In the multimedia space, one of the best-selling CD-ROMs of all time —
Star Trek(R), The Next Generation Interactive Technical Manual — used
QuickTime VR 1.0 to stunning advantage in recreating the starship
Enterprise. In games, the exciting and award-winning new title,
SafeCracker, from Time-Warner is entirely QuickTime VR-based.
In total, vendors of over a dozen software tools presently include or plan
to include QuickTime VR in their upcoming Mac OS and Windows tools (see
complete list in press release appendix). To enable Mac and PC users to
easily and inexpensively create photo-based QTVR environments, Apple is
cooperating with Be Here, Inc. (Los Gatos, CA) in promoting a revolutionary
new panoramic camera for capturing QuickTime VR panoramas (see press
release from Be Here for more information). And Apple is working with eVox,
the leading service bureau for photographic virtual reality, to launch Clip
VR, the first ever collection of virtual reality clip art. (See press
releases from Apple and eVox for more information.)
QuickTime VR on the web:
Tens of thousands of Macintosh and Windows users have already downloaded
QuickTime VR 1.0. Apple estimates over 5,000 sites are currently using
QuickTime VR, including leading companies and institutions such as NASA,
CNN, General Motors, Tower Records, Warner Brothers, MTV, BMW, and Atlantic
In recognition of the growing number of QuickTime VR-enabled Web sites,
Version 2.0 has also been optimized for the Internet. An upcoming
QuickTime VR release for the Internet will support progressive rendering of
JPEG on Macintosh and Windows, speeding the viewing of QuickTime VR virtual
worlds on the Web; and in the future, wavelet and fractal decompression
technology from OLiVR will be integrated into QuickTime VR 2.0. (See
attached press release on strategic relationships.)
Features and Benefits of QuickTime VR 2.0:
QuickTime VR 2.0 has many new features that deliver much-needed benefits to
developers and users. The full range of capabilities will only become
clear, however, as tool, title, and Web site developers move to take
advantage of QuickTime VR 2.0.
Programmer’s API. The most-requested feature for QuickTime VR has been a
full-fledged API, and QuickTime VR 2.0 delivers it. The API allows C
programmers to control playback and functionality of QuickTime VR panoramas
(QTVR’s 360-degree environments) and objects. The API is free to
registered Macintosh developers and is fully documented in the new book
“Creating Virtual Programming With QuickTime VR”, available for about $39.
Using the API, developers will be able to:
* Display and manipulate panoramas and objects
* Incorporate specialized transitions between panoramas
* Composite QuickTime movies and QuickDraw 3D objects with QuickTime VR
* Incorporate directional sound and speech input
* Override QTVR default behavior relative to event handling, cursors, and more
* Incorporate specialized hot spot information unique to an application
* Manipulate QuickTime VR memory usage
The benefits of the API are many. It will allow more multimedia authoring
tools to integrate QuickTime VR content, and more 3D content creation tools
to save 3D content in QuickTime VR format. Multimedia and games developers
will be able to include QuickTime VR in their products, either as the basis
for the complete environment (as in the SafeCracker game), or seamlessly
integrated in other kinds of presentations (as in Sumeria’s Ocean’s Below
titles). Like QuickTime in time-based media, QuickTime VR can become the
technical underpinning for new kinds of creativity in virtual reality.
System extension. QuickTime VR 2.0 is a system extension for both Macintosh
and Windows. This allows QuickTime VR content to be played back in most
applications that support QuickTime, including the QuickTime MoviePlayer
application, SimpleText, and others. QuickTime VR is expected to be fully
integrated with future versions of QuickTime for Macintosh and Windows,
eliminating installation and compatibility concerns.
Ease-of-use features. Adding to its award-winning ease of use, QuickTime VR
now includes a new control strip that makes it easy to pan and zoom and
find hot spots for both panoramas and objects. The control bar teaches
users the appropriate hotkeys as well, eliminating the need to explain
QuickTime VR’s capabilities to first-time users.
Object improvements. QuickTime VR objects now have features that match and
in some ways exceed those of panoramas, including full support for zooming
on objects; panning and rotating a zoomed-in object; and object hot spots.
A museum can actually allow Web users to see more pieces of art, more
closely, than is possible in real life.
Object animation allows motion to be seamlessly integrated with objects in
new and exciting ways. New training applications abound in sports,
medicine, industry, and other areas are now possible. With these
improvements, objects too can now serve as interactive interfaces and rich
sources of information.
Better compression. QuickTime VR 2.0 benefits in many ways from closer
integration with QuickTime, including support for all QuickTime compression
technologies. This will give developers many more ways to deliver QuickTime
VR content, especially over the Internet, where high-quality, interactive
content in a small file size can now be much better delivered in QuickTime
Tool improvements. The QuickTime VR 2.0 Authoring Tools Suite, available
for $395 from the Apple Developer Catalog, includes support for the new
features described above, plus better integration, improved documentation,
lower memory requirements, and greater robustness.
Industry support for QuickTime VR 2.0 is very high. Among key multimedia
authoring tool and 3D content tool developers looking forward to the new
release, several are particularly enthusiastic in their support for
“The new version 2.0 of Strata Studio Pro is expected to include a
QuickTime VR rendering option which automates the process of producing both
panoramas and objects from any StudioPro 3-D model created. We look forward
to taking advantage of the new capabilities of QuickTime VR 2.0 and
allowing our users to integrate Strata-generated QuickTime VR content into
fully interactive virtual worlds.”–Heidi Rosenberg, product marketing
manager, Strata Studio Pro, Strata Inc.
“Apple and Macromedia have been working together for a long time to fully
synchronize the capabilities of new versions of QuickTime VR with Director
and other Macromedia tools,” said David Lasner, senior director of product
management, multimedia and Shockwave authoring at Macromedia. “The launch
of QuickTime VR 2.0 opens the doors for a Macromedia Open Architecture
Asset Xtra, that will enable easy integration of QTVR into Macromedia
Director and Shockwave productions.”
“MetaTools has always worked closely with Apple to take advantage of its
latest and greatest technologies. QuickTime VR 2.0 opens doors for us to
improve the robust QuickTime VR support we already offer in Bryce 2 and
extend it to more of our products.”–John Wilczak, Chairman and CEO of
“We got rave reviews for the QuickTime VR features in mTropolis 1.1, which
opened new doors for developers and end users — but getting there took a
lot of extra work with the QuickTime VR team because of the lack of an API.
Now, with Version 2.0 and its fully documented API, we can offer our users
much greater creative freedom in using and integrating additional QuickTime
VR content in a future version of mTropolis.”–Jeff Dill, mTropolis product
marketing manager, mFactory.
The Mac(TM) OS version of the QuickTime VR 2.0 system extension is
scheduled to be available for Web download within two weeks, and a version
for 32-bit Windows is expected to be available in the second quarter of
1997. The QuickTime VR Authoring Tool Suite 2.0 for Mac OS, $395, and the
book/CD-ROM package, Creating Virtual Worlds with QuickTime VR 2.0, $39, is
expected to be available shortly after the system extension. A Macromedia
Director XTRA for Mac OS and Windows will be available in the second
quarter of 1997. More information on QuickTime VR 2.0 may be found on
Apple’s Web site at: http://quicktimevr.apple.com.
Apple Computer, Inc., a recognized innovator in the information industry
and leader in multimedia technologies, creates powerful solutions based on
easy-to-use personal computers, servers, peripherals, software, personal
digital assistants and Internet content.
Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple develops, manufactures,
licenses, and markets solutions, products, technologies and services for
business, education, consumer, entertainment, scientific and engineering
and government customers in more than 40 countries.
Horizon Public Relations for Apple Computer, Inc.
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Appendix — Third Party Support for QuickTime VR on Mac OS and Windows
Adobe Systems, Inc. (PageMill) – Supports QuickTime VR 1.0 now.
Apple Computer, Inc. (Apple Media Tool, HyperCard) – Support for QuickTime
VR 1.0 now, support for QuickTime VR 2.0 in upcoming versions.
Byte By Byte (Sculpt 3D for Mac, SoftF/X Pro for Windows) – Support in
upcoming versions of Sculpt 3D and SoftF/X Pro.
Electric Image (Electric Image) – Save as QuickTime VR now. Support for
QuickTime VR 2.0 in an upcoming release.
Roger Wagner Publishing (HyperStudio) – Supports QuickTime VR 1.0 now.
QuickTime VR 2.0 support in an upcoming release
GraphiSoft (ArchiCAD) – Currently supports multi-node panoramas using
QuickTime VR 1.0; support for QTVR 2.0 in upcoming version.
MacroMedia (Director) – Support QuickTime VR 1.0; will support QTVR 2.0
through XTRAS. QTVR v2.0 Asset XTRAs in development.
MetaTools (Bryce 2) – Support for QuickTime VR 1.0 now; spport for
QuickTime VR 2.0 in a
mFactory (mTropolis 1.1) – Supports QuickTime VR 1.0 now. Support for
QuickTime VR 2.0 in a future release.
Specular (Infini-D) – Supports QuickTime VR 1.0 now.
Strata (Studio Pro) – Supports QuickTime VR 1.0 now. Support for
QuickTime VR 2.0 in an
VIDI (Presenter 3D) — Supports QuickTime VR 1.0 now and will support
QuickTime VR 2.0 in a