I'm back from an inspiring day in Cologne where I was lucky enough to participate in one of the workshop days of FFK09. Jens Brynildsen did a really excellent job going over the basics of the Away3D engine.
He started out covering some of the history of 3D in Flash, what engines are available and compared their features. One of the first things I noted was a rather nifty feature that allows Away3D to export models out to an ActionScript 3.0 class.
We moved on to discuss and play around with some different camera types and lenses, the HoverCamera3D seemed particularly useful and want to experiment with the SpringCam (essentially seems to be a TargetCamera3D with some spring physics applied, ideal for scenarios where you're chasing a moving 3D object).
Next up was playing with primitives that come with Away3D -- Sphere, Torus, Cone, Cube, etc. not forgetting the lovely pet SeaTurtle. We looked at some different renderer options that allow you to set how precise you want to render things like intersecting objects.
Its obviously not easy doing a workshop with people with various levels of experience using ActionScript 3.0 and using a variety of IDE's (I can only imagine the pain of those trying to code along using the ActionScript panel in Flash).
Think Jens handled it perfectly, giving us all the necessary information to get started and experiment further when we're done while allowing those that need more time the opportunity to get the example working.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Away3D, had some limited experience working with Papervision3D but have to honestly say this felt a lot easier to get started with. One pretty important advantage is also the state of the documentation:
After today I'm sure I'll be using Away3D quite a bit and experiment with the various features. Wish I could've stayed on for the following few days -- Marc, Sascha and the rest of the Flashforum.de crew are doing a fantastic job with the event!