Evaluating 3D thumbnails for virtual object galleries
Virtual 3D object galleries on the Web nowadays often use real-time, interactive 3D graphics. However, this does usually still not hold for their preview images, sometimes referred to as thumbnails. We provide a technical analysis on the applicability of so-called 3D thumbnails within the context virtual 3D object galleries. Like a 2D thumbnail for an image, a 3D thumbnail acts as a compact preview for a real 3D model. In contrast to an image series, however, it enables a wider variety of interaction methods and rendering effects. By performing a case study, we show that such true 3D representations are, under certain circumstances, even able to outperform 2D image series in terms of bandwidth consumption. We thus present a complete pipeline for generating compact 3D thumbnails for given meshes in a fully automatic fashion.