2011: the year of Web3D?

Some time ago I checked the state of WebGL and it looked not too great. This changed dramatically recently, so I dare to say that the next browser generation coming up will change the 3D capabilities of the web this year.  In the current generation (as of January 2011) there is no regular browser WebGL enabled.

Consequently, to see any WebGL demo you need a so-called nightly build. Here’s a webpage that describes where you can get nightly builds of browsers that already support WebGL (namely Webkit/Safari, Firefox and Chrome).

There are a number of 3D ‘engines’ making it easier on the web developer to include 3D artifacts in their sites. I especially came across MrDoobs outstanding blog and the three.js engine.

It fancies the ‘Or so they say…‘ WebGL Demo (video preview – must see!):


Other ways to create WebGL is to do it directly in JavaScript, of course. You will want to check out the resources on the Learning WebGL pages if you go this way.

The Cubic VR 3D engine is about to be ported to WebGL, with the fantastic (albeit somewhat older) ‘Flight of the Navigator’ demo video:

For Blender users, GLGE might be the path to take.

Also the Google Code WebGL samples are worth a look, featuring the Aquarium example that sports a winning software combination IMHO, that might make web3d finally arrive in 2011:

node.js, socket.io and WebGL.

4 Responses to 2011: the year of Web3D?

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dan Brickley. Dan Brickley said: RT @dirkk: 2011 – the year of Web3D? https://web3dblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/2011-the-year-of-web3d/ #webgl #nodejs […]

  2. Dear All,

    The 2011 Web3D ACM Conference will take place in Paris, France, 20-22 june.

    The Call for Papers is published on http://www.web3d2011.org

    Alain CHESNAIS, president of ACM is Keynote Speaker.

    The 16th edition of ACM International Web3D Conference will address a wide range of research topics related to online 3D Graphics. Topics include: representation and modeling methods, content analysis, rendering, distributed virtual environments, large-scale databases, Web-wide human-computer interaction, and innovative tools and applications. Of particular interest are issues regarding the interoperability, durability or delivery of 4D assets.

    The annual ACM Web3D Conference is a major event which unites researchers, developers, entrepreneurs, experimenters, artists and content creators in a dynamic learning environment. Attendees share and explore methods of using, enhancing and creating new 3D Web and Multimedia technologies such as WebGL, X3D, VRML, COLLADA, MPEG family, U3D, Java3D and HTML5. The conference highlights capabilities and trends in interactive 3D graphics across a wide range of applications and devices from mobile devices to high-end immersive environments.

    Authors are invited to submit their work (short or full papers) for review by the international Program Committee. Both research and applications papers are of interest to Web3D 2011. The papers must be innovative, original, and contribute to the advancement of 3D technologies and their uses in the Multimedia and Internet space. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

    – Modeling, processing, analysis and rendering of complex geometry, structure and behaviours
    – Interaction methods for online 3D content
    – Mixed and augmented reality
    – 3D search, shape matching and indexing
    Remote rendering
    – Agents, animated humanoids and complex reactive characters,
    – Online virtual environments
    – Stereo and multi-view visualization of 3D graphic interfaces
    – High-performance 3D graphics for distributed environments, tele-presence and tele-operation
    – Interactive 3D graphics for mobile devices
    – New and proven applications using 3D graphics on the Web/Multimedia in industry, science, geospatial, digital cities, health and medical, cultural heritage and learning
    – Web, multimedia and standards integration and interoperation

    See you in Paris and join the KHRONOS, Web3D, MPEG communities and the W3C incubator on “Declarative 3D” for HTML5.

  3. Cathy says:

    WebGL is now available in Firefox 4 (not the nightly) and on Chrome. There are some blacklisted video cards that do not conform to specs that might require you to turn it on explicitly but it is no longer just a nightly thing.

    • Dirk says:

      Exactly, thanks for pointing that out.

      Shortely after I wrote this article the first versions of WebGL enabled browsers showed up as standard editions.

      It will take some time until it propagates through the offices esp. of big corporations but for the home user with somewhat decent hardware everything is set for the next revolution.

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