WebGL for technical visualisation

There's been a muted revolution in 3D graphics. WebGL - the ability to embed 3D models in web pages - has, over the last 18 months, finally become viable, stable and well supported. 3D artists working in games and entertainment will wonder what the fuss is about; they've been populating online galleries such as Sketchfab for years. But it's in the field of technical illustration that I'm most excited about the possibilities of WebGL.

Recently I've been able to persuade clients to try embedded 3D models rather than static images or traditional animations. Product designers, architects and engineers have all become excited by the possibilities of Web 3D. In fact, for any client with a "thing" to show off, promote or share then embedded 3D models are a brilliant way to do so. The advantages are numerous:

  • Embedding a 3D model on your website needs only one line of embed code - that's it. It's entirely analogous to sticking a YouTube video on your site. Easy and pain free.
  • The technology just works on all modern browsers and most devices: a 3D scene can be viewed on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles.
  • The 3D model is VR-ready meaning that it will display properly inside all of the consumer VR headsets.
  • Sharing tools are built into the 3D player. Your audience is able to share the model with one click.

Previously, to publish and display navigable 3D models meant that you had to make an app. And, moreover, you'd have to make an app for every device you intended to support. Embedded 3D models do away with this fuss entirely.

Please get in touch if you'd like to discuss this approach further.

Check these examples out. There are more here.