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.
glTF (derivative short form of GL Transmission Format) is a file format for 3D scenes and models using the JSON standard. It is an API-neutral runtime asset delivery format developed by the Khronos Group 3D Formats Working Group. It was initially intended to be an efficient, interoperable format with minimum file size and runtime processing by apps.
Being called ‘JPEG of 3D’, GLTF is indeed a star of 3D model formats. Standard for many 3D applications and game engines, it is especially prominent as a common publishing format for 3D content tools and as the format of choice for web apps.
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