What is X3D Graphics

 X3D is a royalty-free open standards file format and run-time architecture to represent and communicate 3D scenes and objects. The X3D family of standards is ratified by the International Standards Organization (ISO) to ensure archival stability and steady evolution.  X3D graphics provides a system for the storage, retrieval and playback of 3D scenes in multiple applications, all within an open architecture to support a wide array of domains and user scenarios.

X3D™ is a trademark of The Web3D Consortium.

X3D has a rich set of componentized features that can tailored for use in engineering and scientific visualization, CAD and architecture, medical visualization, training and simulation, multimedia, entertainment, education, and more.

The development of real-time communication of 3D data across all applications and network applications has evolved from its beginnings as the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) to the considerably more mature and refined X3D standard. 

Want to learn more? Please see Getting Started with X3D, the X3D Examples Archives, and the flyer What is X3D.  The latest features are supported by multiple open-source players, with specification details found in X3D Version 4.0 Standard Overview.

X3D Features at a Glance

  • XML Integrated: the key to integration with:
    • Web Services,
    • Distributed Networks,
    • Cross-platform, inter-application file and data transfer.
  • Componentized: allows lightweight core 3D runtime delivery engine,
  • Extensible: allows components to be added to extend functionality for vertical market applications and services,
  • Profiled: standardized sets of extensions to meet specific application needs,
  • Evolutionary: easy to update and preserve VRML97 content as X3D,
  • Broadcast/Embedded Application Ready: from mobile phones to supercomputers,
  • Real-Time: graphics are high quality, real-time, interactive, and include audio and video as well as 3D data,
  • Well-Specified: makes it easier to build conformant, consistent and bug-free implementations.

X3D Supports

  • 3D graphics and programmable shaders - Polygonal geometry, parametric geometry, hierarchical transformations, lighting, materials, multi-pass/multi-stage texture mapping, pixel and vertex shaders, hardware acceleration
  • 2D graphics - Spatialized text; 2D vector graphics; 2D/3D compositing
  • CAD data - Translation of CAD data to an open format for publishing and interactive media
  • Animation - Timers and interpolators to drive continous animations; humanoid animation and morphing
  • Spatialized audio and video - Audio-visual sources mapped onto geometry in the scene
  • User interaction - Mouse-based picking and dragging; keyboard input
  • Navigation - Cameras; user movement within the 3D scene; collision, proximity and visibility detection
  • User-defined objects - Ability to extend built-in browser functionality by creating user-defined data types
  • Scripting - Ability to dynamically change the scene via programming and scripting languages
  • Networking - Ability to compose a single X3D scene out of assets located on a network; hyperlinking of objects to other scenes or assets located on the World Wide Web
  • Physical simulation and real-time communication - Humanoid animation; geospatial datasets; integration with Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocols