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ISO Blesses X3D

The X3D has achieved landmark support, as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) this week approved the run-time standard that will allow 3D content to be shuttled across networks as a service.

X3D is the Web3D Consortium's open, XML-based file format for allowing 3D communication in real-time across networks and among applications. 3DLabs, HP and Sun Microsystems support the specification

According to X3D creator, the Web3D Consortium, X3D has been branded International Standard ISO/IEC 19775 and will be formally published in October 2004.

Fourteen national committees within the ISO unanimously approved X3D. Web3D/ISO specs for X3D, which are royalty-free standards, may be found here.

One of X3D's charms is that it is extremely extensible and interoperable, supporting several file format encodings and programming languages. X3D also uses the latest advances in graphics hardware to provide the best performance and visual impact in an extensible architecture.

"The advancement of X3D as an ISO standard is a significant milestone for the 3D industry," observed Tony Parisi, president of Media Machines and co-chair of Web3D's X3D Working Group. "Now developers, solutions providers and customers alike can rest assured that their investments in real-time 3D content and applications will be preserved."

Unveiled in February 2002, X3D is already being extended by the Web3D Consortium with developments to be packaged as Amendment One. These will include "programmable shaders" to provide cinematic rendering effects; advanced texturing support for 3D and cubic environment textures; and improved text support and the CAD Distillation Format (CDF) for CAD data re-use.

X3D extends the prior Web3D/ISO standard, VRML 97, which is still widely supported by numerous content models and software tools. X3D retains backwards compatibility with Classic VRML Encoding.

X3D has also enjoyed other momentum of late. Sun Microsystems and Web3D last week formed a working group to develop a binary file format encoding for X3D. This will provide advanced compression of 3D data to shorten the transmission time of models and scenes across a network and a data encryption scheme to protect sensitive model information.