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X3D — Extensible 3D Graphics
Filename extension
  • .x3d, .x3dv (plain text)
  • .x3db, .x3dz, .x3dbz, .x3dvz (compressed)
Internet media type
  • model/x3d+xml
  • model/x3d+binary
  • model/x3d+vrml
Latest release
3.3, 3.2, 3.1, 3.0[ when? ]
Type of format 3D computer graphics
Extended from VRML, XML
Standard ISO/IEC 19775/19776/19777
Website www.web3d.org/x3d/what-x3d/

X3D is a royalty-free ISO/IEC standard for declaratively representing 3D computer graphics. File format support includes XML, ClassicVRML, Compressed Binary Encoding (CBE) and a draft JSON encoding. X3D became the successor to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) in 2001. [1] X3D features extensions to VRML (e.g. CAD, geospatial, humanoid animation, NURBS etc.), the ability to encode the scene using an XML syntax as well as the Open Inventor-like syntax of VRML97, or binary formatting, and enhanced application programming interfaces (APIs).

Royalty-free (RF) material subject to copyright or other intellectual property rights may be used without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use, per each copy or volume sold or some time period of use or sales.

ISO/IEC JTC 1 is a joint technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its purpose is to develop, maintain and promote standards in the fields of information technology (IT) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

3D computer graphics graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data

3D computer graphics or three-dimensional computer graphics, are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images. Such images may be stored for viewing later or displayed in real-time.


The X3D extension supports multi-stage and multi-texture rendering; it also supports shading with lightmap and normalmap. Starting in 2010, X3D has supported deferred rendering architecture. Now X3D can import SSAO, CSM and Realtime Environment Reflection/Lighting. The user can also use optimizations including BSP/QuadTree/OctTree or culling in the X3D scene.

X3D can work with other open source standards including XML, DOM and XPath.

Document Object Model Convention for representing and interacting with objects in HTML, XHTML and XML documents

The Document Object Model (DOM) is a cross-platform and language-independent interface that treats an XML or HTML document as a tree structure wherein each node is an object representing a part of the document. The DOM represents a document with a logical tree. Each branch of the tree ends in a node, and each node contains objects. DOM methods allow programmatic access to the tree; with them one can change the structure, style or content of a document. Nodes can have event handlers attached to them. Once an event is triggered, the event handlers get executed.

XPath is a query language for selecting nodes from an XML document. In addition, XPath may be used to compute values from the content of an XML document. XPath was defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).


X3D defines several profiles (sets of components) for various levels of capability including X3D Core, X3D Interchange, X3D Interactive, X3D CADInterchange, X3D Immersive, and X3D Full. Browser makers can define their own component extensions prior to submitting them for standardisation by the Web3D Consortium. Formal review and approval is then performed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The Web3D Consortium is an international not-for-profit, member-funded industry consortium, originally founded in 1997. In the Web3D Consortium members from governmental, nonprofit and research organizations worldwide, working alongside individual professional members, collaborate in a consensus process encouraging development and implementation of open standards for 3D content and services.

International Organization for Standardization An international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national organizations for standards

The International Organization for Standardization is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

Liaison and cooperation agreements are also in place between the Web3D Consortium and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) and the Khronos Group.

World Wide Web Consortium web standards organization

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web. Founded and currently led by Tim Berners-Lee, the consortium is made up of member organizations which maintain full-time staff for the purpose of working together in the development of standards for the World Wide Web. As of 29 May 2019, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has 444 members. The W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.

Open Geospatial Consortium standards organization

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), an international voluntary consensus standards organization, originated in 1994. In the OGC, more than 500 commercial, governmental, nonprofit and research organizations worldwide collaborate in a consensus process encouraging development and implementation of open standards for geospatial content and services, sensor web and Internet of Things, GIS data processing and data sharing.

The Khronos Group, Inc. is an American non-profit member-funded industry consortium based in Beaverton, Oregon, focused on the creation of open standard, royalty-free application programming interfaces (APIs) for authoring and accelerated playback of dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. Khronos members may contribute to the development of Khronos API specifications, vote at various stages before public deployment, and accelerate delivery of their platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.

A subset of X3D is XMT-A, a variant of XMT, defined in MPEG-4 Part 11. It was designed to provide a link between X3D and 3D content in MPEG-4 (BIFS).

The Extensible MPEG-4 Textual Format (XMT) is a high-level, XML-based file format for storing MPEG-4 data in a way suitable for further editing. In contrast, the more common MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4) format is less flexible and used for distributing finished content.

MPEG-4 is a method of defining compression of audio and visual (AV) digital data. It was introduced in late 1998 and designated a standard for a group of audio and video coding formats and related technology agreed upon by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) under the formal standard ISO/IEC 14496 – Coding of audio-visual objects. Uses of MPEG-4 include compression of AV data for web and CD distribution, voice and broadcast television applications. The MPEG-4 standard was developed by a group led by Touradj Ebrahimi and Fernando Pereira.

MPEG-4 Part 11Scene description and application engine was published as ISO/IEC 14496-11 in 2005. MPEG-4 Part 11 is also known as BIFS, XMT, MPEG-J. It defines:

The abstract specification for X3D (ISO/IEC 19775) was first approved by the ISO in 2004. The XML and ClassicVRML encodings for X3D (ISO/IEC 19776) were first approved in 2005. [2]


There are several applications, most of which are open-source software, [3] which natively parse and interpret X3D files, including the 3D graphics and animation editor Blender [4] and the Sun Microsystems virtual world client Project Wonderland. [5] An X3D applet is a software program that runs within a web browser and displays content in 3D, using OpenGL 3D graphics technology to display X3D content in several different browsers (IE, Safari, Firefox) across several different operating systems [6] (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux). However, X3D has not received as wide acceptance as that of other, more notable software applications.

In the 2000s, many companies such as Bitmanagement improved the quality level of virtual effects in X3D to the quality level of DirectX 9.0c, but at the expense of using proprietary solutions. All main features including game modeling are already complete. They include multi-pass render with low level setting for Z-buffer, BlendOp, AlphaOp, Stencil, [7] Multi-texture, [8] Shader with HLSL and GLSL support, [9] real-time Render To Texture, Multi Render Target (MRT) and post-processing. [10] Many demos shows that X3D already supports lightmap, normalmap, SSAO, CSM and real-time environment reflection along with other virtual effects. [11]

Striving to become the 3D standard for the Web, X3D is designed to be as integrated into HTML5 pages as other XML standards such as MathML and SVG. X3DOM is a proposed syntax model and its implementation as a script library [12] that demonstrates how this integration can be achieved without a browser plugin, using only WebGL and JavaScript. [13]


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><!DOCTYPE X3D PUBLIC "ISO//Web3D//DTD X3D 3.2//EN"  "http://www.web3d.org/specifications/x3d-3.2.dtd"><X3Dprofile="Interchange"version="3.2"xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"xsd:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="http://www.web3d.org/specifications/x3d-3.2.xsd"><Scene><Shape><IndexedFaceSetcoordIndex="0 1 2"><Coordinatepoint="0 0 0 1 0 0 0.5 1 0"/></IndexedFaceSet></Shape></Scene></X3D>


See also

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VRML is a standard file format for representing 3-dimensional (3D) interactive vector graphics, designed particularly with the World Wide Web in mind. It has been superseded by X3D.

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  1. Paul Festa and John Borland (19 May 2005). "Is a 3D web more than just empty promises?". CNET News.com. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009.
  2. X3D FAQ – "What is the status of the X3D specification?" Archived July 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved on November 30, 2007.
  3. "X3D Open Source Projects". Web3d.org. Retrieved 2010-02-23. Archived February 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine .
  4. Blender Model Export to X3D
  5. "Project Wonderland". Research.sun.com. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2010-02-23. Archived July 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine .
  6. "X3D applet". Members.shaw.ca. Retrieved 2010-02-23. Archived September 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine .
  7. DrawGroup & DrawOp
  8. Multitexturing Archived July 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. Programmable shaders component Archived July 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. Scene postprocessing support
  11. VRML X3D and Realtime Web3D
  12. X3DOM JavaScript library
  13. X3D and HTML5: X3DOM proposal, Web3D wiki. Archived October 26, 2016, at the Wayback Machine .