3Defy: Turn Photos Into Interactive 3D Scenes

While there’s a bit of a learning curve, 3Defy is a great demo of, at the very least, the latest in Flash programming. It’s basically a site that lets you add 3D effects to 2D photos that you upload or link. Using a fairly rudimentary set of brushes and tools, you set an object in a scene and try your darnedest to push, pull, and bend it until it looks realistic.

It’s a bit wonky right now and there’s a ridiculous sign-up process just to play around, but the resulting images are fairly striking and you can embed them in web pages or link them out to friends and neighbors. I made this one. It’s horrible.

The site isn’t very feature-rich but it’s an interesting exploration of what you can do with a Flash interface and, more important, what HTML 5 apps will be up against. The founders built the app as a demo in order to build potential business and they’re actively accepting application updates in their forums and are considering a full open source release of their code. If you’ll recall, YouTube was supposed to be a test of Flash’s video capabilities and this is clearly a test of its on-the-fly image editing facilities.

The founder, Chris Wallace, writes that it’s mostly about the technology.

“I’m sure you’re aware that Flash Player 11 will be launched very soon. Flash 11 provides GPU-accelerated 3D graphics rendering capabilities, making it possible to deliver sophisticated 3D experiences directly in the browser. We believe that these capabilities have the potential to transform the web, and we took full advantage of them in 3Defy. Our software works fine with the current Flash Player versions, but it really accelerates under Flash 11,” he said.

Obviously this site offers limited utility but if you’re into exploring 3D vision it may be a good trinket to play around with while your ray traces render.