One of the great headaches of developing interactive graphics applications for online deployment is covering every base. Your targets likely include a near-infinite combination of browser vendors, browser versions, and graphics hardware. The Khronos Group created WebGL to slice through this Gordian knot, rendering high-performance interactive graphics in any compatible browser, and on any graphics processing unit, without the need for plug-ins. Now, with support for WebGL 2.0 in Safari 15 for both macOS and iOS, we’re happy to report that “compatible browsers” includes pretty much all of them.
On November 18, 2020, WebGL held an engaging and informative virtual WebGL Meetup. Co-organizer of the event, Damon Hernandez, led the discussion and kicked off the meeting by having the Chair of WebGL, Ken Russell, giving an update on the latest WebGL progress along with some “Cool WebGL Stuff.” After the update, the guest speakers addressed several topics.
As the “JPEG of 3D,” glTF™ from Khronos® has made a big impact in the world of 3D, enabling the efficient transmission and loading of 3D scenes and models by applications. Cesium, a platform for creating 3D applications that are fast, flexible, and based on real-world geospatial data, has used glTF extensively to further its mission of empowering developers and data providers to build web-based 3D map experiences, and now Cesium has teamed with Uber to continue expanding its 3D Tiles ecosystem, built on glTF.
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?
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 glTF and WebGL, Mr. Claus’s delivery route was much harder to trace.
In early August the team was at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, where we celebrated OpenGL’s 25th anniversary at the BOF Blitz Party. We also announced a new website, as well as OpenGL 4.6, a growing glTF ecosystem, and the Vulkan Portability Initiative.
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?
Adobe announced on July 25, 2017 that it will “end-of-life” Flash Player in 2020 and named WebGL— a widely-deployed, royalty-free web API standard for 2D and 3D graphics—as a successor to enable the next phase of rich interactive applications in your browser.
If you are going to be at the 44th SIGGRAPH, the largest conference and exhibition in computer graphics and exhibition techniques, from July 30 – August 3, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, don’t miss the opportunity to eat, drink, and learn about all things Khronos!
Khronos hosted a WebGL 2.0 webinar on April 11, 2017. We covered the new features in WebGL 2.0, and even saw a few demos. WebGL 1.0 was released in 2011, introducing plugin-free 3D rendering to the Web for the first time. Since then it’s been widely used for all kinds of web-based 3D applications both on the desktop and iOS and Android phones — especially for web gaming. WebGL is integrated into all the major browsers, including Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge, Safari, and Firefox. “WebGL just works for everyone.” WebGL is available on 92 percent of browsers globally, and 96 percent of browsers in the U.S. - enabling truly write once, run everywhere 3D applications.
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.
WebGL 2.0 is a long-awaited feature upgrade which delivers the OpenGL ES 3.0 feature set, bringing the browser’s graphical capabilities closer to the state of the art. WebGL 2.0 is shipping now in the Firefox and Chrome browsers, and all WebGL implementers have declared intent to support it.