Eyebeam’s Production Studio has developed a free open-source tool for converting models from the popular computer animation modeling program Maya (now from Autodesk which bought Alias). They call the tool simply enough Maya2GoogleEarth. Since Maya has been used by TV and movie production studios for special effects, this means all kinds of interesting models could be made available for viewing in Google Earth. The folks at Eyebeam had previously released a tool called OGLE (Open GL Extractor) which allows you to take models from Windows 3D Applications (for example 3D games) and extract them into a model which can be used in Google Earth (see story at OgleEarth). The example here (5.7 Mbytes) is of some replicated giant female “gnomes” in a park in New York City.
Highly detailed models like these…
Highly detailed models like these take up a fair amount of memory. And my experience with GE is that it is not optimized for these kinds of models at ths point. In other words, it can slow down the use of the application. But, you could certainly set up some interesting screenshots. The Maya2GE tool was developed by Theodore Watson, Cathy Shive and Evan Harper, with help and inspiration from Michael Frumin and Rob O’Neill. Great work guys!
I would have written this sooner, but the examples Eyebeam had posted were not downloading properly due to a minor glitch in server set up. Which they promptly fixed yesterday when I contacted them. You can also read interesting comments by Stefan at OgleEarth on this.