VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language, pronounced vermal or by its initials, originally—before 1995—known as the Virtual Reality Markup Language) 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.
Collada (COLLAborative Design Activity) is an interchange format for interactive 3D applications. Originally developed by Sony Computer Industry, now it is managed by the Khronos Group, a member-funded industry consortium, which now shares the copyright with Sony, Recently Collada has been well adopted by ISO as a publicly available specification, ISO/PAS 17506.
It is an XML-based schema that allows data exchange among 3D Digital Content Creation tools, such as SketchUp, Maya, 3ds Max, and Rhino. COLLADA files have the *.dae file extension, which stands for digital asset exchange.
In the seventh part of the series, we explore two open formats aimed at putting 3D data on the web, which found use in the CAD spaceRead more