3D interoperability around the Collada mesh format

3D interoperability is a key element for collaboration and data exchange in the world of 3D design. The COLLADA mesh format is an XML exchange file standard for 3D applications that was originally developed by Sony and is now managed by the Khronos consortium. The COLLADA format has become an ISO standard under the ISO/PAS 17506 specification.

The COLLADA file format uses the extension .dae (digital asset exchange) and was designed to be used by a wide audience. Graphics companies such as Alias Systems Corporation, Criterion Software, Autodesk, Inc., and Avid Technology collaborated with Sony from the beginning of the COLLADA project to create a tool that would be useful for everyone. Since then, many commercial game companies and game engines have adopted this standard format.

The COLLADA format allows content creators to define various physical characteristics in visual scenes. This includes defining surface properties such as friction, as well as defining physical attributes for scene objects by defining rigid bodies that must be linked to visual representations. Version 1.4 of this file format added physics support to allow different tools and middleware to exchange physical data in a standardized manner.

Physics support for the COLLADA format has been adopted by several middleware products such as the Bullet physics library, Open Dynamics Engine, PAL, and NVIDIA's PhysX. These products can read the abstraction found in the COLLADA file and transfer it in a form that the middleware can support and represent in a physical simulation. This also allows different tools and middleware to exchange physical data in a standardized manner.

The Physics Abstraction Layer (PAL) also provides COLLADA Physics support to several physics engines that do not natively provide COLLADA support, including JigLib, OpenTissue, the Tokamak physics engine, and True Axis. PAL also provides COLLADA support to physics engines that also have a native interface.

CAD Interop distributes several software solutions for preparing, viewing, and converting COLLADA files. Below is a list of our solutions that are compatible with the COLLADA format: