GlTF tagged stories

In 2016, the Uber Visualization team released an open source version of deck.gl and luma.gl, two Khronos Group WebGL™-powered frameworks for visualizing and exploring huge geospatial data sets on maps. Since then, the technology has flourished into a full-fledged suite of over a dozen open source WebGL and GPGPU data visualization libraries and tools, known collectively as vis.gl. loaders.gl, the newest addition to the vis.gl family, adds support for loading and rendering glTF™ assets across the tech stack. This unlocks the ability to include rich 3D content within data visualization applications built using luma.gl and deck.gl, enabling a variety of interesting new use cases. In this post, we’ll show some applications and walk through how you can use deck.gl and glTF, Khronos’ open standard 3D file format, to quickly create a geospatial data visualization that renders tens of thousands of 3D models.

Earlier today, Google and Binomial announced that they have partnered to open source a sophisticated texture compressor and a high-performance transcoder for Binomial’s cross-platform Basis Universal texture format. This format can help solve a long-standing problem in the 3D ecosystem: how can 3D textures assets be efficiently packaged or transmitted for an application in a way that is both compact AND can be efficiently processed by the wide diversity of GPU hardware texture engines - each of which has a preferred native format?

To jointly advance accessibility of 3D geospatial content, The Khronos Group recently formalized a liaison with the Open Geospatial Consortium(OGC). One of the first victories of this collaboration between the computer graphics and geospatial communities is a new OGC Community Standard addressing massive scale 3D pioneered by longtime Khronos contributors, the Cesium team.

The demand for 3D content is growing quickly across markets. New formats, applications, and tools are being developed to keep up with the demand . TurboSquid has been eagerly watching the development of the glTF 2.0 specification and has now added full support for the format for its StemCell initiative, which standardizes how 3D models are built and makes buying a 3D model as easy as buying a stock photo.

Facebook’s recent adoption of glTF 2.0 enables its users to place and see 3D content in their News Feeds, underscoring the social media platform’s plan to enable users to bring 3D objects and assets with them across AR, VR, mobile, and web experiences — using open standards. Facebook’s prominent support for glTF is already stimulating the creation of innovative tools to generate glTF content, such as Sony 3D Creator, Oculus Medium, and Foundry Modo.

Standards make life easier, and we depend on them for more than we might realize — from knowing exactly how to drive any car, to knowing how to get hot or cold water from a faucet. When they fail us, the outcome can be comical or disastrous: non-standard plumbing, for instance, can result in an unexpected cold shower or a nasty scald. We need standards, and the entire computing world is built on them.

Authoring content for a new file format can be exciting, liberating, and at the same time scary. To be the most efficient and avoid frustration, it helps to understand the format's requirements. To help achieve that, I am going to walk through several paths for authoring content in the glTF format as well as outline specific settings to maximize your success. I will touch on both free and commercial software packages to ensure everyone has a path into glTF, but first let's outline a few important concepts.

Every year in December, millions of people get in the holiday spirit with NORAD Tracks Santa, the website that lets you track Santa’s magical midnight voyage through the sky on Christmas Eve. Part of what makes the NORAD Tracks Santa website possible are Khronos standards WebGL and glTF. Today, over 22 million people follow Santa’s journey on a 3D map built with Cesium. Before gITF and WebGL, Mr. Claus’s delivery route was much harder to trace.

As part of the ongoing work to ensure glTF meets the needs of the developer community the Khronos™ 3D Formats working group is working on a new glTF compression extension to greatly improve transmission efficiency of texture assets while providing efficient, cross-platform transcoding into a wide range of GPU hardware-accelerated texture formats.

Following the successful release of glTF 2.0, Khronos’ 3D asset transmission format continues to gain strong industry momentum, including support from Microsoft and Google. Today, Khronos has revealed that Google has released a new draft extension to use Draco geometry compression to make glTF files significantly more compact, that the Blender Exporter for glTF 2.0 is now complete and in beta, as well as Microsoft continuing to use glTF 2.0 to bring 3D capabilities to Paint 3D and Microsoft office. So – what is glTF? And why is it gaining so much adoption throughout the industry?

New for us this year, we participated in VRDC, which was an engaging event that put us in front of a lot of partners and potential new members and gave our members a chance to network as well. We also had over 1,000 attendees at our 3D Graphics Developer Day with people returning to attend sessions such as “Vulkan Game Development on Mobile,” “VR Innovation – Standards for API development,” and “When Vulkan was One: Looking Back, Looking Ahead.” Lastly, our booth at GDC was wildly busy, with talks around the clock. In case you missed any of our GDC talks, videos, presentations, and photos are available on our website.

It’s been just over a year since the glTF™ 1.0 specification shipped, and this open standard format for real-time delivery of 3D assets has already been widely adopted by the industry. Now Khronos is finalizing glTF 2.0. Here we discuss the path that has lead us to glTF 2.0, what the new specification contains, and how your company can get involved to provide your feedback and take full advantage of this major glTF upgrade.