Amazon launches cloud-based 3D editor

Amazon pitches Sumerian as a way to build 3D-powered apps and games that can run on some VR headsets like the Rift and HTC Vive, as well as on Apple products like the iPhone or iPad. It includes a web-based editor for constructing 3D scenes, a library of pre-built objects and templates, a selection of customizable 3D characters that can serve as narrators for your scene, an asset import tool that lets you upload your own 3D components, and more.

Amazon announced a new service at the AWS re:Invent Midnight Madness event.

It's created to eliminate the need for specialized tools for tasks like 3D modeling, environmental design, animation, lighting effects, and audio editing, as well as the additional step of adapting AR and VR applications for different hardware platforms.

Developers will also be given access to a set of "hosts", these are 3D characters that can customer to interact with a user.

The public cloud computing giant took the wraps off its new Amazon Sumerian service, which provides a platform for developers to create realistic virtual environments that can be populated with animated characters and other 3D objects.

Amazon's press release states specifically that "specialized skills and the use of multiple different tools for disciplines such as 3D modeling, environmental design animation, lighting effects, audio editing and more" will not be required to use Sumerian. That includes mobile devices, web browsers and head-mounted displays such as Facebook Inc.'s Oculus Rift. Subscribers can embed their own objects, choose from a pre-loaded library, or use third-party offerings from repositories including Sketchfab and Turbosquid.

Naturally, you can drag and drop assets directly into the scene.

"Customers across industries see the potential of VR and AR technologies for a wide range of uses-from educating and training employees to creating new customer experiences". "For instance, we integrated Mapbox's points of interest and global terrain maps with Amazon Sumerian so data is delivered and rendered in real-time". These hosts integrate with Amazon Polly and Lex to provide natural language capabilities similar to those underpinning the Alexa virtual assistant.

It requires no software install or upfront costs - with developers only paying for the storage used for 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated to access scenes - and can be accessed via the AWS management console.

  • Latoya Cobb