UX Lab 013: ThreeJS Battery

It’s been a bit quiet in the lab of late, and for that I apologise. To make up for it I thought I would have a dabble with something small in ThreeJS. I’ve played with it before, but never put out anything production-ready.

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3D artwork has become pretty common place these days. But generally you’ll see it flattened, and in turn, unable to be interacted with. ThreeJS opens the web up to a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to gaming and immersive experiences. But what about the little things?

Here’s a little experiment from the lab, demonstrating just how easy it is to bring a bit of excitement to the web. As uptake of WebGL grows, so does the opportunity to liven up the web. I’m not impressed when you can build an entire iPhone with CSS using a single HTML element. I’m actually impressed when you design something awesome, you build it without compromise, and it’s not a completely flat, static experience.

So with that in mind, here’s a shitty battery I built :)

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You can go about building things in different ways with ThreeJS. The ability to export existing 3D objects from popular programs like 3DSMax, Maya or Blender is the sole reason this technology is remotely useful in the real world. Strangely enough, I chose to create the battery with primatives, by hand, and not import any objects. No 3DSMax. No Photoshop (aside from a reflection map, oops). Just ThreeJS.

That meant it took a couple of hours one night to create the geometry and camera tracking, and a couple of hours the next night to create all the materials. That’s not long. I really don’t see why more people can’t build stuff like this.

So check it out, the source code is on Github.

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