/ Export master Kimmo tells us where he's
kindly allowed us to "interview"
him on the 20th December 2002. This is the
full transcript from the conversation:
B: Kimmo, tell us a little
K: My name is Kimmo Pekkola and I'm 27
years old Sofware Engineer from Tampere,
Finland. I graduated couple of years
ago from Tampere University of Technology
with Software Systems as my major.
B: Are you a Real 3D user
from way back or new to the 3D arena ?
K: I had my first contact with Real3D
during the Amiga
era, so I've been around quite a long time.
Though, I'm not an artist myself so I don't
actively use these kind of programs like
But I've always been very interested in
computer generated artwork so I do follow
the what's happening in the scene.
B: You were responsible
under the name of Soft Artist for writing
many of the import/export plugins for Realsoft
3D. You have since moved onto a full time
position - what sort of work have you got
into now ?
K: I'm working in a company called Octaga
if anyone is interested :-), which is making
a MPEG-4 compatible virtual reality browser.
So, I'm nowadays more involved with real-time
3D graphics than the precalculated kind.
B: What prompted this
move ? Do you still have any plans / time
to do any further plugins for RS3D ?
K: I do have some plans (related to real-time
VR models), but unfortunately currently
I have so many other projects going that
I don't think I have time for it at the
B: Soft Artist - is the
company that you setup ? Whats the status
on this now ? Is it still current ?
K: I was just an employee in that company.
It is not very active anymore since the
owner has a full-time job teaching in the
university and he's not that involved with
the company anymore (and I was also his
only employee :-). I do still work on the
plugins now and then.
B: Your plugins best known
to people are: The IGES in/out, Illustrator
import & VRML in/out. Have these been
K: I don't know about the sales numbers,
but most of the feedback that I receive
is about the IGESplugin. And luckily most
of it has been quite positive, so at least
that plugin has been useful for some people
B: Other plugins that
perhaps people have not heard about were
Slicer and Reducer. Do you have any other
little applications that you care to tell
us about ?
K: The Slicer
were something I did for my MSc thesis.
We had some plans to create a set of tools
to help to create virtual worlds with Realsoft3D,
but we never got around to implement them.
I might have some old pieces of code laying
around somewhere, but I don't think there
is anything useful. At least nothing that
is worth releasing.
B: What prompted you to
write plugins for Realsoft 3D ? Were you
contacted directly from Realsoft ?
K: The owner of Soft-Artist
had some previous contact with the Realsoft
guys so we knew that they were creating
a completely new version of their wonderful
software and we had the opportunity to get
involved in quite early stage of Realsoft3D.
B: And why write import
/ export plugins ? What was the impetus
behind that ?
K: Well, support for 3rd party file formats
is something that every 3D modeling software
package needs and that was the thing that
was missing. So, we decided to implement
a few importers & exporters that we
thought would be useful for the users.
B: Do you have any more
plans for more modules ? (I'm sure you know
that people are screaming for good import/export
capabilities - in particular 3ds with textures
/ LW / Max files etc)
K: Creating importers and exporters is
really not that interesting job. Especially
since most of the formats are not specified
very well and everyone tends to interpret
the specs as they please. Usually it doesn't
take too much time to make a simple importer,
which supports most of the key features
of the format, but to make it compatible
with all kinds of files exported from various
different applications takes a lot of work.
B: Your plugins are currently
for sale directly through Realsoft.
Is this a good way to do it and has it worked
for you ?
K: Don't know much about this since I'm
not too involved with the business side
of the things. But I guess it works quite
well for us. There is no need to set up
webshops or handle the marketing since Realsoft
does that for us.
B: How hard is it to develop
plugins for Realsoft 3D ?
K: It does take some time to get to know
the API, but generally it's not too difficult.
There are a lot of example code that comes
with the SDK and that helps a lot. My experience
is mostly on importers and exporters, which
are not that hard to implement depending
of course on the file format in question.
The IGESplugin was a real pain since the
format is so awful. I probably have never
started to implement the plugin if I'd known
about all the details of the file format
(and seen how other applications think IGES
files should look like :-).
B: And finally, is there
anything you wish to say to the RS community
K: I'm involved in few quite different
communities (or well watching from distance
:-) and I have to say that the RS community
is definitely among the best ones.
Kimmo, thank you very much for taking time
out to talk about SoftArtist
with us. We all wish you the best of luck
for the future.