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GPU Texture Container Format

KTX (Khronos Texture) is an efficient, lightweight container format for reliably distributing GPU textures to diverse platforms and applications. The contents of a KTX file can range from a simple base-level 2D texture to a cubemap array texture with mipmaps. KTX files hold all the parameters needed for efficient texture loading into 3D APIs such as OpenGL® and Vulkan®, including access to individual mipmap levels


KTX 2.0 adds support for Basis Universal supercompressed GPU textures. Developed by Binomial, this compression technology produces compact textures that can be efficiently transcoded to a variety of GPU compressed texture formats at run-time. Additionally, Khronos has released the KHR_texture_basisu extension that enables glTF to contain KTX 2.0 textures, resulting in universally distributable glTF assets that reduce download size and use natively supported texture formats to reduce GPU memory size and boost rendering speed on diverse devices and platforms.

Comparing KTX with Basis Universal to Image Formats

Basis Universal provides two compression options. The ETC1S mode achieves significantly smaller transmission and GPU memory sizes than JPEG and PNG textures. The UASTC mode delivers higher quality textures than ETC1S while still achieving significant memory savings. Click the image below for higher resolution comparison.

Realtime 3D Comparisons

Using JPEG and PNG Images for Textures versus versus KTX 2.0 Textures with Basis Universal.

KTX Basis-U UASTC/ETC1S mode vs. JPEG/PNG Texture Compression

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KTX Basis-U ETC1S mode vs. JPEG/PNG Texture Compression

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Industry Support for KTX

“KTX 2.0 supercompressed textures complement glTF’s Draco geometry compression to enable beautiful, compact and efficient 3D assets for everyone. I want to acknowledge the hard work by many companies in the Khronos 3D Formats working group to get this significant technology into the hands of developers everywhere, and a special thank you to Binomial for the royalty-free contribution of the Basis Universal technology that makes KTX 2.0 universal GPU compressed textures possible.”

“KTX 2.0 enables compressed textures for both transmission and runtime use across GPU vendors, enabling versatile optimizations reducing memory, bandwidth, and power usage. We are especially excited to apply this to 3D geospatial, where imagery captured via satellites and drones is creating an explosion of textures at global scale.”

Patrick Cozzi
CEO at Cesium

“Every millisecond counts in ecommerce. At Shopify, we are thrilled with the dramatic improvements in file transfer sizes and device optimization that KTX 2.0 brings to 3D on the web and mobile. Shopify plans to adopt this technology across the platform so that every merchant can provide customers with delay-free 3D experiences.”

“This extension enhances glTF in one of its key design features: smaller asset sizes for quick transmission as well as optimal GPU usage. We are excited about this feature and are supporting it from day one in our visual glTF editor Gestaltor.”

“3D is increasingly becoming an effective way to merchandise products in retail. At Wayfair, we strive to provide customers with true-to-life experiences using emerging visual computing technologies such as AR & VR, as well as 3D-rendered product imagery. KTX 2.0 is another step toward delivering high quality 3D virtual product experiences in an optimized way, letting developers and content creators further unlock the potential of 3D. We’re excited to contribute to such capabilities and continue this joint effort to push the industry forward”


Get Involved!

3D graphics community: Share your feedback via GitHub and Twitter , including input on how the glTF Working Group can continue to address barriers to cross-platform portability of 3D assets.

If you’d like to get involved, visit the "Ways to contribute to glTF" page in the main glTF project on GitHub.