Web3D Consortium Standards Strategy

The Web3D Consortium's fundamental objective is to enable the open publishing of interactive 3D graphics models on the Web, enabling real-time 3D communication. We carefully improve and evolve our Recommended Standards while maintaining long-term archival stability.

Extensible stability.  Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics and Humanoid Animation (HAnim) include a coordinated set of steadily evolving ISO standards which are publicly available and royalty free (RF) for any use. This Strategy carefully improves and evolves our standards while maintaining long-term archival stability making X3D exports and publications of interactive 3D models a first-class media type suitable for any use. Steady progress provides forwards and backwards compatibility for archival interoperability.. These standards are developed, tested, maintained and updated by Web3D Consortium members. Following public comment and approval by the Web3D Consortium, changes are submitted to International Standards Organization (ISO) as part of a series of annual reviews. The X3D Working Group proceeds collaboratively at the best speed possible for achieving rigorous quality, with progress supported by member and public contributions.

Steady progress.  Stable progress is paramount: we only advance standards when they are ready. Backwards compatibility is maintained to the fullest extent possible, and so older versions of the X3D (and even VRML97) remain consistently correct and validatable in the latest version 3.3 of the X3D International Standard. The Web3D Consortium Standards Adoption Process describes how members accomplish this important work.  Specification development is supervised by the Web3D Consortium members participating in the X3D working group, with periodic opportunities for public comment.

Member contributions are critical for continued progress. Currently active X3D work includes multiple standardization initiatives:

  • X3D Version 4.0. HTML5 integration to deploy X3D in any Web page, using X3DOM and X_ITE as candidate exemplars, maximizing interoperability between X3D standards and W3C standards.
  • X3D Version 4.1. Mixed and Augmented Reality (MAR) for emerging VR-AR devices and user interfaces.
  • Humanoid Animation. H-Anim models that include hands, feet, face and motion animation, supports motion capture (mocap) outputs, also suitable for medical use.
  • Shape Resource Container (SRC). A flexible and efficient format for progressive transmission and compositing of arbitrary 3D asset data. SRC is aligned with binary glTF and includes meshes, textures, and arbitrary vertex attributes, thus no longer needing Web3D standardization.
  • X3D Efficient Binary Encoding (EBE). Smaller file sizes, faster decompression, and streamable deployment of animation using standards-based Efficient XML Interchange (EXI) for better compression and performance, applied in combination with SRC.
  • X3D Javascript Object Notation (JSON) Encoding. Represent any X3D scene using JSON technology.
  • X3D C/C++/C# Language Binding. New support for X3D Scene Access Interface (SAI) using C/C++/C# programming languages.
  • X3D Python Language Binding.  New support for X3D Scene Access Interface (SAI) using Python programming language.
  • Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML97). X3D aims to maximize backwards compatibility with VRML.

To achieve these goals, Web3D has multiple Liaison Partnerships with other standards development organizations. Our Standards Submission Policy describes how to propose a new technical contribution, as highlighted by use of Frauhofer's X3DOM as a prototype for the X3D V4.0 standard. Initial implementations will be followed by extensive improvements, conformance interoperability testing, and formal standardization.

Interested in participating? Great, please contact the Executive Director with your thoughts! All feedback is welcome.