WHAT IS WEBGL?
WebGL is a powerful programming interface that allows gamers and web-surfers to view 3D graphics right inside their browser. It’s short for Web-based Graphics Library, and it enables web graphics and animations to run in real time, creating the kind of dynamic user experience we’ve come to expect.
Collectively run by Opera, Mozilla, Google, and Apple, WebGL is designed and maintained by the non-profit tech association The Khronos Group. You used to need special versions of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari to experience its effects, but now the most current version of your browser should automatically support the language. Smart phones are also equipped to display 3D graphics in apps like Autodesk’s 123D Catch, which transforms your photos into sharable 3D models. Best of all, this platform is free to use at will. Because it was started as part of the open source movement, The Khronos Group is dedicated to keeping WebGL royalty-free and widely functional.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
WebGL is not like ordinary programming languages. Since its prototype appeared in 2006, it has grown into a cross-platform web standard. That means it works directly through scripts that are already built into a website’s code, eliminating the need for a plugin. With WebGL, you can write your exciting, interactive, 3D design once, and then publish it anywhere, again and again. That’s a giant leap forward for developers, who were previously limited by competing platforms and incompatible plugins.
WHERE CAN YOU SEE IT?
WebGL is most commonly used to create 3D games, music videos, and interactive consumer applications like My Robot Nation, a site that lets you design your own mini robot to be 3D-printed and shipped to your doorstep. You may have already used MapsGL, a Google Maps experiment involving 3D buildings and a thrilling “swoop” effect when transitioning to Street View.
These tools are also widely used by architects, engineers, mechanics, etc. to virtually sketch a prototype of their idea and have it sent to a 3D printer. There are also a number of other applications and experiments of WebGL that take place to bring us things like 3D music visualizers, piano keys you can play on your screen, and virtual tours of far-flung ruins. This is also a great tool to use to create 3D virtual marketing tools.
HOW CAN YOU INCORPORATE WEBGL INTO YOUR WEBSITE?
WHAT IMPACT WILL WEBGL HAVE IN THE FUTURE?
WebGL basically eliminates the barrier between browsers and operating systems by bypassing plugins to run on your computer’s processing power - so it opens a lot of doors to possibilities with new similar functioning technologies. The importance of this emergence is in that 3D is likely to soon become the norm when it comes to graphics on most websites. And since it’s still not yet widely seen on most websites, ATAK Interactive can help you get ahead of the curve and update your graphics to give your users an impressive and cutting-edge presentation.