Navigation in 3D and 2.5D

Navigation in 3D and 2.5D

Most objects can be viewed in one of two modes: 3D and 2.5D. Each one of these modes has its specific advantages and disadvantages. In 3D, you can freely rotate a model. The size of 3D model files can be quite large and internet bandwidth is often limited. That's why the resolution of our 3D models is limited. If you zoom in too close, you will start seeing artifacts, just as you start seeing individual pixels if you enarge a digital 2D image.

To circumvent this, we added an additional viewing mode: 2.5D. In this mode, you need to chose one of six preset viewpoints. You can either view a model from the front, back, left, right, top or bottom. So you give away free navigation, but gain additional resolution. 2.5D views are highly detailed, and you can enlarge details up to 16x.


 The navigator panel on the top right allows you to switch seamlessly between 3D and 2.5D views. Click on the 3D cube  1  to activate 3D mode. Now you can drag the cube or directly the object to change your point of view.

Pressing one of the buttons of the unfolded cube  2  activates the 2.5D mode with a top, left, front, right, back or bottom view.

Should you get lost, use the home button   3  to reset the point of view to its default.

For some models, an additional "more" button appears  4. Tapping this button brings up a menu with additional views. Try it with the Cosmic Buddha. For this object, the "more" button holds a fascinating view of the unwrapped drawings.

Navigating Guided Tours

All objects in the Smithsonian X 3D Explorer come with comprehensive guided tours. Each tour tells an interesting story about an object of the Smithsonian X 3D Collection. Tours are similar to PowerPoint presentations, but are always "live". At any time during a tour, you can interact with everything you see in the viewer.

To select and start a tour, go to the tour browser and chose your favorite tour. You can also select a tour for the currently loaded model by clicking the globe button at the top of the toolbar. During the tour, the tools of the tour navigator allow you to step forward or backward.

Tour Navigator

Use the next  4  and previous  3  buttons to move forward and backward in the current tour.

Use the jump buttons  1  to jump to the start or end of the tour.

The exit button  2  terminates the current tour and closes the tour navigator.