OpenSim makes for a good, and free, tool for 3D animation work. I have spoken at conferences and webinars on the use of Second Life for creating video for branched scenario-based eLearning because it is a relatively easy tool to use. My focus has shifted to our current endeavor for secondary education but I still use OpenSim for eLearning and more and more as a presentation tool. Especially with OpenSim installed on a USB drive since I no longer need to worry about our corporate firewall or about installing any software on my work station (http://simonastick.com).
As a presentation tool, it works well for doing space visualization by allowing fairly rapid creation of a space, especially when a CAD illustration can be imported in as a tracing element. In this use, the space is “filmed” with Fraps, touched up with Virtual Dub, and deployed as a either a standalone video or as part of a Flash-based project.
OpenSim would also work very well to create static images or video for use in Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements.
Granted, the finished video from OpenSim is not as polished as that created in Blender 3D, but speaking from my experience, I can create and render out an OpenSim scene in perhaps 20% the time it would take otherwise. That certainly comes into play whenever ROI is an issue (and for my day job, that would be all the time!).
I find OpenSim as a 3D application inching ever more into the top tray of my multimedia toolbox thanks to its stability and ease-of-use. A big thank you and genuine gratitude extend to the OpenSimulator developers and administrators for creating such a useful application.
Here is a test video to see if a popular technique of doing 3D floating text would look okay done with OpenSim. The words are simply transparent PNGs and seem to work okay (if not a bit of a ripoff from the first Spiderman movie’s starting credits).
(Article reprinted with permission from subQuark blog.)