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3D Graphics Technology: VRML Part I - Introduction

Virtual reality modeling language provides the graphics capability to let you create 3D objects, even whole worlds, which you can upload to your website. Visitors can then interact with these virtual items. VRML has many applications. In this first article in a series, Eliana Stavrou explains the basics and provide examples.

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By: Eliana Stavrou
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February 14, 2005
  1. · 3D Graphics Technology: VRML Part I - Introduction
  2. · History of VRML
  3. · Producing VRML
  4. · Examples

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3D Graphics Technology: VRML Part I - Introduction
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Computers are getting faster and faster, with enhanced graphic capabilities providing the resources for graphic technologies to develop. Specifically, 3D technologies have been getting more and more attention the last few years, moving art design into a new dimension. The transition from 2D to 3D space created the need to develop appropriate Web 3D technologies to introduce 3D graphics for the Internet.   

VRML (the Virtual Reality Modeling Language) is a standard used to describe 3D models and worlds on the Internet. VRML can be used in a variation of categories such as virtual museums, interactive environments for education, entertainment, building entire virtual cities and many more. The applicability of VRML in so many situations, and the fact that it is easy to learn, contributes to its popularity.

In this article I will introduce you to the basic concepts of VRML 2.0. In the next articles I will try to cover the syntax of VRML and appropriate examples that will show you the capabilities of the language.

What is VRML?

VRML is a description language that defines 3D scenes, giving the user the ability to navigate within the scene. The VRML files use .wrl as a file extension, and can be browsed with special VRML browsers, most of which are plug-ins for Netscape or Internet Explorer. The browsers provide controls that help the users move around and explore a 3D scene interacting with the environment.

VRML is standardized in ISO / IEC 14772, offering the ability to access a 3D visualization of a model over the Internet.

The VRML offers many benefits, including:

  • Easily models 3D Web based worlds.
  • 3D complex objects are the result of the combination of simple primitives such as blocks, cylinders, spheres, cones, triangulated surfaces etc.
  • Small file sizes can be used effectively for Web delivery.
  • Hierarchical programming features that help in learning the language easily and quickly.

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