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Web3D Royalty-Free Standard

X3D Open Web3D Standard Now Available

Adoption by MPEG-4 Group, Cooperation With World Wide Web Consortium, and Open Source Implementation to Propel Commercial Adoption of Royalty-Free Standard

Orinda, California. February 26, 2001.

The Web3D Consortium today announced the availability of the draft version of the X3D ("Extensible 3D") standard to bring state-of-the-art 3D graphics to the Web and broadcast environments for a wide variety of applications and devices. The draft specification was unveiled on Sunday, February 24, 2002 at the Web3D Symposium in Tempe Arizona, the industry's annual technical conference, and will form the basis for commercial implementation and evaluation of this open, royalty-free standard in preparation for submission to the International Standards Organization (ISO) in August of this year. The specification is available at

X3D enables new opportunities for the creation and deployment of state-of-the-art 3D graphics on small, lightweight web clients, and the integration of high-performance 3D into broadcast and embedded devices. X3D satisfies these demanding requirements with an advanced componentized architecture that enables compact client players with add-on components, as well as a set of profiles designed to meet the demands of sophisticated applications, including: an Interchange Profile for exchanging X3D content among authoring and publishing systems; an Interactive Profile to support delivery of lightweight interactive animations; an Extensibility Profile to enable the development of add-on components and robust applications; and a VRML97 Profile to ensure interoperability between X3D and VRML97 legacy content.

"X3D provides a flexible, open platform for delivering the highest quality 3D graphics and integrated multimedia," said Tony Parisi, president of Media Machines and co-editor of the X3D specification. "It combines the best of 3D graphics and the latest Web standards within a modular architecture, enabling the development of a range of compelling applications to meet a variety of platform and market needs."

In related news, the Web3D Consortium announced today that the X3D Interactive profile has been accepted by the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) as the basis for lightweight, interactive 3D graphics in the MPEG-4 multimedia standard. The X3D Interactive Profile defines a small footprint subset of X3D that enables interactive 3D functionality for MPEG-4 Systems. By enabling interactive 3D for devices with limited processing power, the X3D Interactive Profile defines a standard for 3D destined for low-power computers, set-top boxes, mobile phones, and personal digital assistants as well as more capable devices such a desktop devices and gaming consoles. The Interactive Profile will enable interoperability between X3D and MPEG-4 content, providing a consistent platform for 3D graphics and application development across Web and broadcast environments.

"The X3D Interactive Profile for MPEG-4 is the direct result of close collaboration between the Web3D Consortium and MPEG over the past year to establish a standard profile for interactive 3D content that would not only scale across a wide range of networks and playback devices, but also across our respective standards," said Aaron E. Walsh, chairman of the Web3D-MPEG Working Group and Web3D Consortium liaison to MPEG. "Having succeeded, we now look forward to helping Web3D and MPEG-4 vendors add support for the X3D Interactive Profile to their products, delivering on X3D's promise of '3D Anywhere.'"

The Web3D Consortium, as an active member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is tightly integrating X3D with other W3C standards, including the Extensible Markup Language (XML), the Document Object Model (DOM) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). Tight integration of these standards will allow developers to combine text, audiovisual content, graphics, animations and data to deliver a seamless and compelling end user experience.

"W3C and Web3D share an exciting set of technical goals for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), X3D and Web graphics in general," stated Ivan Herman, head of offices, World Wide Web Consortium. "Continued collaborative work between W3C and Web3D activities holds great promise for Web authors and users."

"The X3D effort includes dozens of contributors solving the hard interoperability challenges facing the 3D industry," commented Don Brutzman, Ph.D., X3D Task Group chair and co-editor of the X3D specification. "Deliverables include a royalty-free specification, open-source and commercial implementations, a conformance suite, scripting interfaces, and multilingual capabilities. We're showing how the Extensible Markup Language (XML) can seamlessly integrate with real-time graphics playback technology to make 3D graphics interchange a first-class citizen in the new Web."

The X3D standard is being developed with an accompanying sample open source implementation, Xj3D. Xj3D is a java-based X3D toolkit that allows companies to rapidly support the new standard. The source code is available under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), and so can be used by companies as a library without restrictions. X3D will also ship with a rich repository of sample content, over 2,000 files, to facilitate conformance testing and to educate content developers.

"Yumetech sees open standards and open source code as key components in the success of a Web-based 3D technology," declared Alan D. Hudson, president of Yumetech, Inc., the principal developer of the Xj3D browser. "X3D will provide a level of consistency across multiple platforms that is currently unavailable through proprietary technologies. Xj3D open source code provides developers with the tools they need to rapidly develop exciting 3D graphic applications using X3D."

The X3D specification has been created by members of the Web3D Consortium. Any company, university, organization or interested individual is able to become a member to influence the future direction of X3D and the Consortium's other standardization activities. When ratified by the Consortium membership, the X3D specification and sample implementations will be made freely available for any company wishing to implement state-of-the-art Web3D applications.

"With the X3D open standard, the Web3D Consortium is fulfilling its role as the standards organization for the Web3D industry by cooperatively creating non-proprietary technology and working closely with other standards organizations to weave 3D graphics into the very fabric of web and broadcast applications," said Neil Trevett, president of the Web3D Consortium and vice president at 3Dlabs. "The Consortium welcomes the participation of any company or organization that wishes to develop, adopt or use X3D, either standalone or together with proprietary technologies and products."

Web3D Consortium

The Web3D Consortium is the only non-profit organization with a mandate to develop and promote open standards to enable 3D Web and broadcast applications. The Consortium is comprised of many leading corporations and educational institutions including 3Dlabs, ATI Technologies, blaxxun, Naval Postgraduate School, Nexternet, OpenWorlds, ParallelGraphics, US Army STRICOM, and SGDL Systems. There are also over 75 individual Professional Members contributing their expertise to Consortium activities. Web3D Consortium members provide technical and marketing expertise for the continued evolution of open 3D standards while gaining early access to ongoing technology and commercial opportunities. More information on VRML, the Consortium's ongoing X3D and VRML standards activities and Consortium membership is available at

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See references in the news item and in the topic document "VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) and X3D."

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