Its incredible what the Papervision3D guys have been doing -- pushing ActionScript to the limits in creating a powerful 3D engine for Flash that we could only have dreamed of. Another example of how the community drives the evolution of the Flash platform. Although their API was easy enough for any developer to get started with, John Grden has now announced a component set for the Flash authoring environment that actually shows you the rendering at design time. You basically just browse to a Collada file, set up your scene and camera rotation, zoom, focus and you're all set.

The component even allows you to assign new materials (bitmap or movie clip). Unfortunately that doesn't give you a live preview because the library items are not accessible for the component, but they've handled that nicely by just applying a color fill so you can see what material you've used.

Read John Grden's blog post for more information on the Papervision3D components and be sure to check out the video below!