Recently, we covered how 3D content can transform the way your brand communicates with everyone. Plus, we discussed how you can get started with 3D content. A part of that was explaining the different 3D file formats available. Briefly, we shed light on the powers of glTF 2.0 aka the JPEG for 3D. Now, it’s time to give it the attention it deserves.
Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Oculus are just some of the moguls supporting glTF 2.0 as a 3D file format. Interestingly, a few of them, such as Facebook, even uses it exclusively for 3D. Also, the world’s most renowned source for 3D files, Sketchfab, recommends glTF. For sure, these are massive accomplishments for a format that has existed for less than two years. Right now, you’re probably asking how exactly glTF 2.0 won the hearts of proficient 3D developers everywhere. Well, let’s take a look.
In 2017, Khronos Group, a non-profit that’s almost like the Professor X of 3D, launched glTF 2.0. To make it clear what makes their format special, I’ll leave the mic to the good people of Khronos:
“glTF™ is a royalty-free specification for the efficient transmission and loading of 3D scenes and models by applications. glTF minimizes both the size of 3D assets and the runtime processing needed to unpack and use those assets. glTF defines an extensible, common publishing format for 3D content tools and services that streamline authoring workflows and enables interoperable use of content across the industry.”
Alright, I can tell that didn’t help much. For nontech geeks, I’m half sure it wasn’t fun getting through that definition. But, worry not; for I know the perfect approach to deciphering glTF 2.0’s strengths. We’ll dissect the chunky definition into separate digestible perks and delve into each individual.
– glTF 2.0 is a lightweight champion
Needless to say, for any 3D initiative to be successful, it must be light for users to indulge. A lagging 3D experience can be an instant killer to any budding brand-customer relationship. Fortunately, glTF 2.0 takes that into consideration and facilitates 3D lightness and speed like no other format. It does that by combining node hierarchy, animations, camera angles, textures, and geometry in single files.
Then as a lightweight champion, it knocks out the 3D file’s size to a minimum. Consequently, it delivers that same knockout to runtime (the executed instructions while a program is running) and loading speed. Together, these ensure smooth lightning-fast flow as well as a consistent rendering of models. And that’s just one reason this champion is undefeated.
– glTF 2.0 promotes physically-based rendering
glTF is the go-to format for physically-based rendering. PBR is a groundbreaking 3D technique. It simulates how light interacts with objects in a mathematically and physically accurate manner. Accordingly, this leads to 3D models, either static or animated, that react to their environments super realistically. glTF adopters establish this by adjusting each object’s metallicness, roughness, and base color.
– glTF 2.0 is highly intuitive
When considering the aforementioned features, it makes perfect sense that glTF is easy to use. Yet, to make this argument more sound, I did some research. It didn’t take me long to come across this great testament. “I don’t have any 3D format implementation experience, and I implemented glTF 2 in a day or less.”
– glTF 2.0 is just getting started
Brilliantly, one aspect Khronos paid attention to while developing glTF was future growth potential. That’s why we’re regularly seeing new features added to the non-proprietary file format. At Khronos, they also maintain a solid line of communication with developers for continuous feedback.
With all that said, glTF 2.0 becomes the ultimate file format for AR and VR projects. These disruptive techs need a format that’s just as disruptive and glTF easily gets that job done. Here at Augmania, we invite our users to use glTF 2.0 for 3D models on the Augmania platform. It makes campaign crafting way easier. Moreover, the campaigns themselves will be all the more fun to experience that way.
What if you already have 3D models of different formats, though? No worries. There’s a bunch of ways you can convert them to glTF. Arguably, the most convenient of these is using Sketchfab. You can upload your models on Sketchfab, then easily download them as glTF.Magic! Alternatively, you can opt for online converters. Examples of these include black thread and Model Converter.