VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) was originally known before 1995 as the Virtual Reality Markup Language. It is a standard file format for representing 3-dimensional (3D) interactive vector graphics, designed particularly with the World Wide Web in mind.
VRML is a text file format where, e.g., vertices and edges for a 3D polygon can be specified along with the surface color, UV mapped textures, shininess, transparency, and so on. URLs can be associated with graphical components so that a web browser might fetch a webpage or a new VRML file from the Internet when the user clicks on the specific graphical component. Animations, sounds, lighting, and other aspects of the virtual world can interact with the user or may be triggered by external events such as timers. A special Script Node allows the addition of program code (e.g., written in Java or ECMAScript) to a VRML file.
VRML files are commonly called "worlds" and have the *.wrl extension (for example island.wrl). VRML files are in plain text and generally compress well using gzip, useful for transferring over the internet more quickly (some gzip compressed files use the *.wrz extension). Many 3D modeling programs can save objects and scenes in VRML format.
glTF is an open standard file format for 3D scenes and models. It's designed to be compact and efficient, making it easy to distribute and render 3D content on various platforms and devices.
glTF files contain information about the 3D scene, including geometry, materials, animations, and more. They can be used in different applications, from gaming and virtual reality to augmented reality and web-based 3D experiences.
CAD Exchanger can import and export glTF 2.0 files in binary (.glb) and text (.gltf) format. Such support includes:
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All the basic data (vertices, triangles, normals, UV coordinates, etc.) are contained in binary form and can also be further compressed. Besides, the file structure is carefully organized to ensure that there is no extra or redundant data. Thus, the file contains only the necessary information to define the 3D scene, without any unnecessary clutter. By eliminating redundant data, glTF files become more lightweight and easier to process.
It is an open standard supported by a wide range of platforms and applications. This allows for seamless integration between different software, making it easier to share and view 3D models across various devices. Whether it's a web browser, a virtual reality headset, or a mobile device, glTF ensures that your 3D content can be experienced on different platforms without any compatibility issues.
glTF has seen rapid development and improvements over the years, which means that older versions may not be fully compatible with newer software or engines. This can be a challenge if you are working with older files and need to use them in a newer environment.
For more advanced usage scenarios it may be important that this format has limitations in the areas of animation and lighting. In particular, there is inadequate support for keyframe animation with cubic interpolation, animation of rotation angles, and tension-continuity-bias animation curves. glTF also doesn't support lights and multiple attenuation models.
glTF files typically have the extension ".gltf" or ".glb". The ".gltf" extension is used for the textual representation of the glTF file format. It is a human-readable JSON file that contains all the necessary information to define the 3D scene structure, including geometry, materials, animations, and more.
The ".glb" extension represents the binary version of the glTF format. It is a binary file that contains all the data, including the scene hierarchy, geometry, textures, and more, in a compact and optimized manner.
To open this file, you will need a compatible software application, for example, CAD Exchanger Lab. Launch the software and navigate to the 'New file' option. Browse your computer's directories and locate the .gltf file you want to open. Then select it and click "Open". Once the import process is complete, the .obj file should be loaded into the software, allowing you to view and interact with the 3D model and associated data.
This format was initially introduced by Khronos Group in 2015. The initiative aimed to create a common, royalty-free specification for efficient transmission of 3D content, with a focus on real-time applications and web delivery.
The first version, glTF 1.0, was released in 2015, providing a foundation for 3D asset transmission. Building upon the success of glTF 1.0, the Khronos Group released glTF 2.0 in 2017, which brought significant improvements and expanded capabilities. glTF 2.0 introduced a more efficient binary file format, enhanced support for physically-based materials, skeletal animations, and more advanced rendering features. It also introduced a clear separation between the JSON scene description and binary data, allowing for more efficient transmission and loading.
Since then, glTF has gained widespread adoption and support across the industry. Numerous software tools, engines, and platforms have embraced glTF as a standard for delivering 3D content. The format continues to evolve with regular updates and extensions, addressing new requirements and advancing the state of 3D content transmission.
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