glTF is the “JPEG for 3D”, it describes 3D scenes in a standard format optimized for the Web. The file extension is .gltf or .glb.
While it is still not well know, lots of software already supports it and in this article I am gonna showcase some of them.
Try it yourself, download an example glTF file (Mont blanc valley) that was created on https://maps3d.io
On the web
You can preview glTF files on the web:
- https://sandbox.babylonjs.com/ (using Babylon.js)
- https://gltf-viewer.donmccurdy.com/ (using Three.js)
- and many more…
All those viewer use some 3D engine to render the glTF file in WebGL on your browser. Similarly to those “online viewer”, you can also use those 3D engines to embed a glTF on your website / blog, here is an example using model viewer of Google based on Three.js (but you could also use Babylon.js viewer, Cesium.js , Aframe, …)
Directly on facebook
Facebook gives you the possibility to share glTF files directly, pretty cool isn’t it 😎 ?
Aside from being able to directly open you mobile browser and use the methods described above, several apps offer support for the glTF format, I am gonna feature glTFShowCase which is available on both iOS and Android
After installing the app, open this link in your mobile browser and choose to open with glTFShowCase.
With this app you can save and view your file offline
And even view it in Augmented reality (AR) 🤯 !
Microsoft is part of the glTF Working group and is making glTF very easy to work with, on Windows 10 you can directly view your files with the 3D Viewer app.
Even better than this, the Office suite is already supporting glTF, for example you can add a glTF file directly on a powerpoint presentation.
At the time of writing this article, macOS is still lagging behind for first class glTF support, but some third party app exists to preview them.
glTF is very well supported across platform and that is why it is also the export format for https://maps3d.io.
For some reason if you need to convert it to another 3D format (OBJ, STL, COLLADA …), you can do it with blender > 2.80 (currently in beta) which has a built-in importer for glTF.