In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Rashmi Mohan hosts Neil Trevett as they discuss Neil’s career, the evolution of computer graphics, and his role at NVIDIA, where his work focuses on helping developers make good use of GPUs. He also explains the benefits of standardization in industry and how open standards can enable innovation and interoperability. Neil also discusses how 3D is changing the landscape of e-commerce and online shopping and gives his perspective on the Metaverse and how it can leverage other disruptive technologies.
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.
WebGPU takes WebGL to the next level, providing a common abstraction over Vulkan, Metal and DirectX to leverage modern GPUs capabilities. W3C announced they have published the first public working drafts of the WebGPU Specification and WebGPU Shading Language.
WebGPU is derived from modern 3D/compute concepts but isn’t based directly on APIs like Vulkan or Direct3D, unlike WebGL which is based on OpenGL ES. WebGPU at this stage has broad industry support and interest and can be supported across all major platforms.
The GSN Composer is a free online tool for node-based visual programming. It is especially intended for educational purposes, such as computer graphics courses and tutorials.
The built-in shader editor allows rapid prototyping of GLSL shaders. Importantly, the created GLSL code is generic and can be used directly in other OpenGL/GLSL applications. Custom data for the shader’s UNIFORM and IN variables can be easily supplied via the visual interface, which is the main advantage compared to other web-based shader editors.
The shader editor was now upgraded to WebGL2 and supports GLSL ES 3.0 code. WebGL2 allows shaders with multiple render targets (MRT). For each additional OUT variable in the shader code, the interface automatically creates a corresponding output image. This facilitates G-buffers and deferred shading. Furthermore, examples for physical-based rendering (PBR) and HDR environment lighting are provided.
WebGL recently 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, give an update on the latest WebGL progress along with some “Cool WebGL Stuff.” After the update, guest speakers from Google, Sketchfab, BlackSmithSoft, xeolabs.com, Playcanvas, Unfolded and Microsoft gave individual updates on WebGL implementations.
At the end of the Meetup, the audience submitted questions for the speakers during a live Q&A. As this dialogue benefits the whole community, we’re sharing the answers in this blog.
The Khronos Group sessions from SIGGRAPH Asia are now available. Watch to hear:
- Khronos President, Neil Trevett, give an Open Standards Update
- glTF’s Ed Mackey shows off next-generation PBR materials for glTF
- Nathaniel Hunter from DreamView discusses 3D Commerce’s Asset Creation Guidelines
- OpenXR Chair, Brent Insko, gives us an informative OpenXR update
- HTC’s, Tony Lin, demonstrates the Vive Cosmos OpenXR developer preview
- WebGL Chair, Ken Russell gives an in-depth update on WebGL
- Vulkan Chair, Tom Olson, updates us on Vulkan’s latest deliverables and future directions
- Followed by Neil Trevett who gives us the latest from the ANARI Working Group’s work on an analytical rendering API for the scientific community
Come and hear the latest from The Khronos Group!
Safari Technology Preview Release 114 is now available for download for macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina. Included in this release are a few WebGL improvements, including:
- Enabled WebGL2 by default
- Added WebGL and WebGL2 context support to OffscreenCanvas
- WebGL goes in a bad state where
glContext.createProgram() returns null
The new release brings a redesigned geometry pipeline with focus on efficient zero-copy loading of binary assets such as glTF; new OpenGL debugging, visualization and profiling tools, and several WebGL examples including fluid simulation and raytracing.
Laval Virtual asserts its expertise and its role as a facilitator in virtual reality with 6 conference cycles: VRtical, TransVRsal, ConVRgence, Virtual World, Art and Tech Talk. There will be two talks this year that are Khronos related:
- Unifying Reality: Building Experiences with OpenXR - Ryan Pavlik (Collabora)
- Building the Metaverse one open standard at a time – Khronos APIs and 3D asset formats for XR - Neil Trevett (President, The Khronos Group)
Learn more about this event and register.
3D Tiles is widely accepted by companies in the geospatial industry. Support for glTF and WebGL means that applications using 3D Tiles can be accessed in all browsers. The reliance on accepted standards means that developers have access to a wealth of open source resources.
WebGL is a complicated API, and it’s often not obvious what the recommended ways to use it are. The new Mozilla page tackles recommendations across the spectrum of expertise, and not only highlights dos and don’ts, but also details why. You can rely on this document to guide your choice of approach, and ensure you’re on the right track no matter what browser or hardware your users run.
This article describes the implementation of soft particles in pure WebGL / OpenGL ES without any 3rd party library or engine used. This tutorial is based on a WebGL port of Android live wallpaper 3D Buddha Live Wallpaper. Source code is available on GitHub.
Founder and CTO of Third Dimension Technologies (TDT) recently gave a SMPTE webinar for members titled “Streaming Model for Field of Light Displays” (SMFoLD). The webinar focused not on the displays themselves, but the technology needed to stream real-time field of light video with synchronized sound over more-or-less ordinary network connections. TDT is working on this problem along with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in a project managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The title of the project is “Open Standard for Display Agnostic 3D Streaming” (DA3DS). The DA3DS project has taken the approach of transmitting not the images but the OpenGL primitive graphics calls over the network along with the data needed by the OpenGL calls. Learn how the DA3DS project is using OpenGL and how OpenXR plays a part.