Web3D Consortium 2021 Annual Report

Web3D Consortium had another successful year with new collaborators and proven allies to venture the crossroads of 3D on the Web. From new members to successful outreach and continued development of our Standards, there has never been a better time to engage with the Web3D Consortium and to build out new dimensions for 3D graphics on the World Wide Web. This report highlights some of our 2021 activities! Be an influencer, get involved, join this innovative global 3D community.

Web3D Consortium 2021 Annual Report 

Web3D Consortium had another successful year with new collaborators and proven allies to venture the crossroads of 3D on the Web. From new members to successful outreach and continued development of our Standards, there has never been a better time to engage with the Web3D Consortium and to build out new dimensions for 3D graphics on the World Wide Web.

New Members: Web3D members include industry, government, academia, research organizations and professionals. In 2021 we had new members!  Versar, Threedy and IVN have joined to continue adopting, applying and promoting Web3D Consortium ISO standards. The consortium continued its liaison relationships with 3D related standards organizations to improve interoperability and convergence. The Consortium thanks its members and Board of Directors who influence the development and adoption of Web3D standards, while providing valuable industry expertise to support the forward-thinking market strategy of the consortium.

Conferences: Web3D Conference was a virtual event where over 300 people attended the research paper, workshops, tutorials, industrial use cases and the new Cultural Heritage track sessions. Web3D 2021 Summary describes the power and scope of these activities. Twenty-six years of proceedings are available in the ACM Digital Library with nearly a quarter-million downloads… we are having an impact.   These outreach events are not only educational but also give the 3D community an opportunity to network and build relationships with experts and industry leaders. Web3D Conferences have been sponsored by ACM SIGGRAPH in co-operation with the Web3D Consortium since 1995. These are community-driven events bringing together the brightest minds in virtual reality and related technologies.

Outreach: The Communications team meets weekly and has continued Tweeting to our community all around the world. To stay current on Web3D activities follow us on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, the Web3D Consortium YouTube Channel has recently been repopulated and organized, showing the many applications of X3D. In 2021, there has also been significant outreach in varied fields as our members represent X3D in communities ranging from WebXR to 3D printing and scanning. Several particular applications in medicine to astrophysics emerged this year with X3D projects and references continuing to grow in academic journals.

Website: There was continued development of the Web3D Consortium website design and content. Our marketing website Webx3d.org launched in 2020 continues to add examples and educational content. Both websites continue to outreach to the Web3D community and showcase technical work, events and case studies from members demonstrating interoperability of Web3D standards. Send us your Project and we are happy to publicize it further. 

Wish List: There are many interesting projects on the Web3D project wish list with potentially broad impact. This list is periodically updated. Organizations or individuals with 3D experience are welcome to develop any of these candidate projects. The Consortium has launched a public Web3DConsortium/BlenderX3DSupport Github project to improve Blender capabilities in X3D.  There are some great opportunities here.

Working Groups: 2021 has also seen the Web3D Consortium Working groups continue the advancement of X3D standard in two major ways: extending and improving the current V3.3 standard, towards the new X3D V4.0 integrated into HTML specification and ISO standard. The X3D Graphics Working Group addresses all X3D specification issues and coordinates the technical development of future improvements. Goals for this year working-group coordination, technology stabilization and adaptation, wide-scale adoption and deployment of X3D4.

X3D: The most important work for 2021 has been the research into the integration of X3D into HTML web pages. A significant advance has been the introduction of the HTML5 Integration with Javascript APIs using either of our open-source implementations, X3DOM and X_ITE. Multiple file formats and programming languages:  As shown in the X3D Graphics Standards Relationships diagram, X3D 4.0 brings forward our X3D Unified Object Model (X3DUOM) which enables authors to create, validate, and manipulate X3D content in a large number of file encodings (XML, JSON, Binary, ClassicVRML) and programming-language bindings (Javascript, Java, C#, C++, C, Python).

glTF Support: X3D 4.0 models can compose scenes with glTF 2.0 assets. Inlining glTF and mapping to the underlying technical structure of X3D. X3D is a higher level scene graph that describes many geometry types, lights, interactions, animations, etc. X3D provides a broader value proposition than glTF, including Metadata and Security. X3D provides a robust presentation layer when combining 3D models, geospatial and imagery into one system. Physically Based Rendering (PBR) and materials upgrade:  X3D4 includes a new material node (PhysicalMaterial) to describe the surface using the "material-roughness" physical lighting model. Web Audio: Full integration of the Web Audio API (now a Candidate Recommendation by World Wide Web Consortium, W3C) is adding high-fidelity sound propagation, rendering and mixing techniques together with advanced sound processing capabilities: X3Dv4 Sound: Tutorial #1, Modeling Examples Extending X3D Realism with Audio Graphs and 3D Spatial Sound X3Dv4 Summary Tutorial #2, X3D Graphics International Standard: Design Considerations and Version 4 Update 

Cultural and Natural Heritage: The Cultural and Natural Heritage (heritage@web3d.org) Working Group is exploring the generation, handling, and display of digital 3D data for cultural and natural heritage. We continue building a connection between the Web3D world and CH front-line developers. Emphasize the strengths of X3D standard - sustainability, accessibility, archivablity, repeatability and security. This year at Web3D Conference we had a special track for Cultural Heritage - Session link: Online Legacies and Cultural Heritage

Design Printing and Scanning: The Design Printing and Scanning working group participated in ISO JWG 16 projects supporting collaboration and visualization with product data. The working group supplied X3D and VRML visualizations created as a web service from STEP files. With the Web3D Consortium Semantics working group we developed methods to embed XMP packets in X3D files using the X3D Metadata Component nodes. The working group also participated in the review of an ISO document on Requirements for Data Visualization which led to the proposal to update this document to reflect progress in both product standards and computer graphics applications.  Conference Video: Tutorial #3, Collaborative 3D Visualization Authoring using X3D, Python, and Jupyter Notebooks

Geospatial: The Geospatial (formerly X3D-Earth) Working Group uses the Web architecture, XML languages, and open protocols to build a standards-based X3D geospatial specification usable by governments, industry, scientists, academia, and the general public. This is an opportunity for active working-group leadership and engagement with OGC.- Workshop #1, Improving 3D Site Characterization: Driving Innovations that Improve 3D Rendering of Natural and Manmade Environments Workshop #2, Web3D Geospatial Summit

Humanoid Animation (HAnim): The HAnim Working group develops and demonstrates the Humanoid Animation (HAnim) International Standard. HAnim2 released in 2020 supports a wide variety of articulated figures, including anatomically correct human models, incorporating haptic and kinematic interfaces in order to enable sharable skeletons, bodies and animations.  Future work includes facial animation and modeling internal organs providing support for medical records. 

Medical: The Medical Working Group for X3D develops and demonstrates open interoperable standards for the representation of human anatomy based on a wide variety of imaging modalities. Engagement with the IEEE 3D body parts working group continues where shared issues with human body clothing/fitting and model security are addressed. Progress continues to apply HAnim and X3D in concert with HL7 and DICOM standards

Mixed Augmented Reality (MAR):  Immense amounts of technical progress with X3D4, WebXR, OpenXR and related technologies has occurred.  This working group is reviewing it’s goals, WebVR to WebXR support is do-able now.  Stable X3D4.0 can be basis, ISO Health and Safety considerations.  Web3D members are developing an omniverse/metaverse white paper highlighting the strengths of X3D. 

Web3D User Experience (Web3DUX): The Web3DUX working group develops and demonstrates best practices for X3D support of rich user experiences using a variety of Web3D technologies and content-delivery platforms. Conference Workshop Video : Tutorial #4, User Experience (UX) when Creating Web3D Scenes

X3D Semantic Web: The X3D Semantic Web Working Group mission is publishing X3D models to the Web in order to best gain Web interoperability and enable intelligent 3D applications, feature-based 3D model querying, and reasoning over 3D scenes

All Working Group Charters were renewed this year. 

2022: Perhaps the year of the Metaverse! It’s imperatives and priorities. Many capabilities are possible with functional and shareable virtual spaces. Many ideas are emerging,  however  Metaverse can only arrive when we can communicate and share 3D content with each other. Web3D Consortium’s mission is to provide 3D standards for communication. X3D can help make 3D models that last, and help you be ready for a communicateable Metaverse! Web3D international open standards provide tools and framework for such communication.

Going forward, our focus of attention will be outreach to the industry, academia, and developers, increasing X3D adoption. Concentrate our efforts on growing our community that is looking for solutions for publishing in 3D. Connect with educators, developers and leaders of various domains and demonstrate the strengths of X3D. 

2022 is indeed going to be a busy and exciting year! We invite the 3D community to engage as we continue work towards X3D V4, and share research work at the 27th Web3D Conference currently succeed for the first week of November, 2022. 

Thank you to all our Web3D Consortium members for contributing towards the innovation and excellence of Interactive 3D Graphics. Web3D would not be a leader in open interactive 3D graphics standards without these contributions. We sincerely hope for continued partnership in 2022 as we bring new dimensions for 3D graphics on the World Wide Web.

Anita Havele Executive Director, Web3D Consortium



Press Release: 
Release Date: 
Wed, 2022-01-19