Adobe has announced a brand new product for creating 3D worlds and objects for the Internet. Based around the Viewpoint format (formerly known as MetaStream), Adobe Atmosphere allows immersive online worlds to be created , authored in the package or by a wide variety of 3D applications. Although not shipping until late summer, a public beta of the Windows version of the product can be downloaded from the Adobe Web site from today. Atmosphere uses conventional Web metaphors to power the creative process. Worlds are connected using URLs with users moving between scenes by clicking on images or text. JavaScript is used to animate objects and provide sound. This is created with a conventional Adobe-style interface. Objects can be imported from other 3D applications using the Viewpoint format. Tools capable of outputting the format, using a plug-in, include 3D Studio Max, Maya, Poser and the Viewpoint CAD tool. It’s also designed to work with other Adobe products including Photoshop and Illustrator. Other features of worlds created by Atmosphere include distributed hosting, so a world hosted on one server could directly connect to another world on another server. The world also load sequentially, so there are no long waiting times when visitors enter a world. Atomsphere has been the subject of much speculation since Adobe licensed the technologies behind MetaCreation’s Carrara and Canoma 3D tools last year (which were based around the MetaStream format). The two products were in the hands of German developer Eovia at that point (which recently merged with Amapi developer TGS) – as MetaCreations divested itself of its product line to concentrate on licensing the MetaStream technology to others. This lead to the change of name to MetaStream and then to Viewpoint as it acquired that CAD company – and changed the named of the technology as well. Until this announcement Adobe had kept quiet on whether the two technologies would see the light of day in a new product or whether they would be used to add 3D capabilities to other packages. With the announcement of Atmosphere and the recent addition of 3D layer capabilities to After Effects it seems that both were true. Pricing for Atmosphere will be announced much nearer to the release date.