Monthly Archives: February 2018

3D in your web pages

How to put interactive 3D images on a web page? What technical solutions for them to be visible by a maximum of Internet users, in other words supported by a wide range of browsers? How to implement them?

Several solutions exist, but none has yet emerged: technologies, equipment and standards are constantly changing in this area, so the choices are not obvious. To schematize, there are solutions that have proven themselves but which do not seem to have a future (Flash 3D, Java3D) and promising solutions based on standards but which are not yet universally supported (WebGL, CSS3 3D).

Flash 3D: proprietary solution (Adobe), user side requires the Flash plug-in, design side a good knowledge of ActionScript or go through a dedicated 3D Flash engine (Away3D, CopperCube …).

Java3D: open-source solution, Java API (not included in the JDK), user side requires the Java virtual machine, design side some knowledge of 3D programming or go through software like WireFusion.

The Flash plug-in and the JVM are installed on almost all (98%) desktop computers.

WebGL: open-source solution, port of the OpenGL standard for web browsers, user side requires compatible graphics card, driver and browser (more and more widespread, 70% at the time of writing this newsletter, updated info on WebGLstats), design side some knowledge of 3D programming and Javascript or go through a rendering engine exporting WebGL (CopperLicht, CopperCube …). It is actually a Javascript API that allows browsers to use the power of calculating graphics cards to display images and animations in real time via the <canvas> tag of HTML5.

SKETCHFAB: AN ALTERNATIVE FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE THE TIME TO LEARN …

Recently, a very practical solution has emerged that will meet the immediate needs of some people: the Sketchfab gallery.

It is a 3D model hosting service designed on the same principle as YouTube or Vimeo. You import your file in its native format and the service is responsible for posting on the Internet. You can then publish, share and integrate it into your web pages. The service is based on the WebGL standard and an alternative solution for users whose hardware configuration is not compatible.