to X3D Scene Authoring Hints

X3D Resources

to Web3D home page

Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics is the royalty-free open standard for publishing, viewing and archiving interactive 3D models on the Web.

Applications | Authoring Tools | Authoring Support | Books | Conformance | Conversions | Examples | Export | Feedback | License | Mobile | Model Search | PowerPoint | Quality Assurance (QA) | References | Security | Showcase | Tooltips | Training and Tutorials | Videos | VRML and Open Inventor | Wish List | X3D‑Edit | X3D Scene Authoring Hints | Contact

Numerous resources are available to support both X3D Graphics and its compatible predecessor, the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML).

Applications, Players and Plugins for X3D / VRML Viewing to top

Extensible 3D (X3D) is the third-generation successor to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), providing full backwards compatibility and adding functionally equivalent XML and compressed-binary file encodings.

X3D players and plugins from Web3D Consortium members:

Other X3D players, not (yet?) Web3D Consortium members:

Legacy and unsupported X3D players:

Authoring Tools for X3D Scenes to top

Many authoring tools have emerged since X3D can be used for any purpose without royalty fees.

Tool support for X3D components provides a feature comparison of major X3D authoring tools, for each player and each X3D component.

Legacy and unsupported X3D authoring tools:

Authoring Support for X3D to top

Numerous other resources provide support for authoring X3D.

Additional authoring support includes the following assets.

Books about X3D and VRML to top

Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics

X3D Graphics is the international standard for real-time 3D communication.

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) 97 Books

VRML design began in 1994 and the language became a stable International Standard in 1997. Of interest: X3D is a third-generation design that is fully backwards-compatible with the second-generation VRML 97 standard. Thus all design guidelines and technical details in the following textbooks remains relevant.

Also available: VRML Resources.

Conformance Testing for X3D to top

There are three conformance test suites to help improve the quality of X3D and VRML players.

The Web3D Consortium offers compliance certification of this last suite. X3D Conformance Testing Program describes details.

The Web3D Consortium also supports the Conformance working group mailing list which includes list archives.

Of related interest: Quality Assurance (QA).

Conversions and Translation Tools to top

Numerous conversion tools are available for the various encodings of X3D and VRML.

X3D is a direct superset of VRML with three encodings: XML encoding (.x3d), Classic VRML encoding (.x3dv) and VRML97 encoding (.wrl). X3D is designed so that all three encodings are equivalent, you can choose to use any of them.

Converting X3D scenes to/from VRML (.wrl) also works well, since X3D is 3rd-generation VRML. The functionality provided by the VRML97 specification matches the X3D Immersive Profile.

  1. X3D players providing file-menu conversions (Save As) include BSContact, OctagaVS(pro), view3Dscene, and Xj3D.
  2. Xj3D Open Source for X3D/VRML97 includes command-line and file-menu X3D translators between all three encodings. Xj3D can also import Collada files.
  3. X3D-Edit exposes all of these Xj3D conversion capabilities via a conversion panel embedded under the X3D...Import and ...Export menus. X3D-Edit can further import, export and also edit, validate Collada files.
  4. XSLT Stylesheets convert .x3d scenes into alternate formats and encodings. These slidesets (and corresponding batch files) are bundled in X3D-Edit.
  5. 3D PDF Converter includes support for X3D export. This capability allows users to easily visualize, validate and then export CAD data in a suitable format for import into a 3rd Party System.
  6. Accutrans 3D by MicroMouse Productions provides accurate translation of 3D geometry between the file formats used by many popular modeling programs.
  7. Anark is able to export product data into high-precision B-rep and lightweight mesh formats including SolidWorks, Inventor, ACIS, CATIA V4/V5, Parasolid, STEP, NX (formerly Unigraphics), IGES, COLLADA, DWF, X3D, and VRML.
  8. Ayam is a free open-source 3D modeling environment for the RenderMan interface with X3D import and X3D export.
  9. BaconXJF open-source 3D Web Formats Import-Export Tool for Maya and Maya LT includes X3D support. "It's a work in progress, but a good start..." Created by Aaron Bergstron, original author of the RawKee X3D Exporter for Maya. Demonstration videos also available.
  10. BitManagement capabilities include BS Converter for 3ds max and BS Converter for Blender.
  11. Blender provides excellent top-level import/export support, as described by Blender Model Export To X3D using X3D-Edit.
  12. CAD Exchanger is a product family aimed to help CAD professionals in a well known yet challenging problem: 3D CAD data conversion. Supported formats currently include IGES, STEP, ACIS-SAT, Parasolid-XT, STL, VRML, X3D and BRep.
  13. Chisel VRML Optimisation Tool with new version autoinstaller and documentation provided by Halden Virtual Reality Centre. Originally built by Trapezium and maintained by NIST.
  14. can be used to create or import models, animate them and render online. Support is provided for multiple import/export data exchange formats.
  15. InstantReality X3D encoding converter is an online translator between ClassicVrml or XML (.wrl) encoding, and can also convert into X3DOM outputs (HTML5 or XHTML5). Free for non-commercial use.
  16. MeshLab is an open source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes.
  17. Modo by Luxology is a sophisticated authoring tool that includes X3D export.
  18. NIST VRML to X3D Translator was originally written by Qiming Wang. An updated version of the source (and a .zip distribution) are maintained on SourceForge. The translator is also bundled in X3D-Edit under the X3D/Import/VRML97 menu.
  19. Okino Polytrans/NuGraf is the premier industry translation tool that can convert many many different file formats (including Collada) to and from X3D, VRML97 and VRML 1.0. Their original 2002 press release describes the central value of the VRML/X3D scene graph as a detailed, extendable design used in the Okino converter architecture.
  20. PMOD 3D Imaging Rendering Tool (P3D) enables interactive investigation of volumetric medical data and imagery as part of modeling tool suite.
  21. Project Rawkee: Open-Source X3D Plugin for Maya by the Archaeology Technologies Laboratory (ATL) of North Dakota State University (NDSU).
  22. SteelVis (CIS/2 to VRML and IFC Translator, aka CIS/2 Viewer) by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  23. SwirlX3D Translator is an enhanced version of the Viewer that permits Collada and 3DS files to be imported into VRML or X3D (Windows) (support).
  24. Unreal Realm of Concepts: Unreal to X3D Exporter by Dave Arendash
  25. view3dscene supports VRML/X3D, Collada, OpenInventor 1.0, 3d Studio Max 3DS, Quake 3 MD3, Wavefront OBJ and Videoscape GEO.
  26. Vivaty has utilities and converters for Google Earth KML/Sketchup, Autodesk 3DS Max, Autodesk Maya, and Unreal. Vivaty Studio also includes Collada import.
  27. VRML 1.0 to VRML97 Converter by Octaga
  28. XIOT X3D Input Output Tool library provides an open source generic C++ toolkit to import and export X3D in its different XML encodings: ASCII and binary. A special development was done to provide a Fast Infoset (FI) based X3D encoding.

Examples: Scene Archives for X3D to top

The X3D Examples Archives demonstrate how X3D nodes and scenes work. Thousands of scenes are provided in all X3D encodings. You can browse them individually online or download fully complete, separately installable .zip archives.

Links to additional X3D example scenes are also available below.

A simple example test scene is HelloWorld.x3d provided in a variety of X3D encodings: .x3d XML .x3dv ClassicVRML, .wrl VRML97, .html listing, .xhtml X3DOM, .json JavaScript Object Notation, .x3db compression, C14N canonicalization, and .png image

Quick Links X3D for Web Authors X3D for Advanced Modeling Basic Conformance Nist Vrml2.0 Sourcebook Savage SavageDefense
Archive examples: Online Online Online Online Online Online Online
Local examples: Local Local Local Local Local Local Local
3864 total X3D scenes: 260 76 767 732 415 1234 395
Catalog metadata XML: Content catalog Content catalog Content catalog Content catalog Content catalog Content catalog Content catalog
Ant build scripts: build.xml build.xml build.xml build.xml build.xml build.xml build.xml
Build console logs: build.out.txt build.out.txt build.out.txt build.out.txt build.out.txt build.out.txt build.out.txt
Full download: zip (MD5 checksum) .zip (MD5 checksum) .zip (MD5 checksum) .zip (MD5 checksum) .zip (MD5 checksum) .zip (MD5 checksum) .zip (MD5 checksum)
Additional details: see below see below see below see below see below see below see below

Special testing distribution. A comprehensive collection of all JSON example scenes is available at (MD5 checksum) plus current output from the X3D JSON build process at build.json.out.

Production notes:

Example scene archive details:

  1. X3D for Web Authors Examples Archive (license, README.txt) to top
  2. X3D for Advanced Modeling Examples Archive (license, README.txt) to top
  3. Basic X3D Examples Archive (license, README.txt) to top
  4. ConformanceNist Test Suite X3D Examples Archive (license, README.txt) to top
  5. VRML 2.0 Sourcebook X3D Examples Archive (license, README.txt) to top
  6. Savage X3D Examples Archive (license, README.txt) to top
  7. SavageDefense X3D Examples Archive (restricted access) (license, README.txt) to top

Source version control is available for developers wanting to track or contribute to these X3D example archives.

  1. Use Netbeans, X3D-Edit or some other subversion client (such as TortoiseSVN or Collabnet) to check out the version-control source and project information.
  2. Decide whether to use anonymous access or else a personal sourceforge account.
  3. Check out
    usually to a local directory such as
  4. Further links and information available via the x3d sourceforge project.

Additional Example Scene Archives to top

Additional X3D example scene collections designed to demonstrate VRML/X3D capabilities include the following.

Export by Applications to top

The following applications are known to have X3D or VRML output capabilities. Additional entries are welcome. Also see Conversions and Translation Tools on this page.

  1. Chemistry Markup Language (CML) examples in the public X3D Basic Examples Archive show how to covert CML models into X3D using a simple stylesheet.
  2. Chimera by UCSF is a highly extensible program for interactive visualization and analysis of molecular structures and related data. Chimera exports X3D and VRML97.
  3. ESRI ArcScene with 3D Analyst extension can export an assembled GIS scene to VRML and optionally GeoVRML.
  4. Jmol is an open-source Java viewer for three-dimensional chemical structures, with features for chemicals, crystals, materials and biomolecules. Jmol can illustrate most molecular-model features via VRML97 and X3D (XML) export.
  5. Maple provides powerful math-oriented technical computing software for engineers, mathematicians, and scientists. Maple 13 exports X3D.
  6. Mathematica is a powerful computational tool for numerics of any precision, symbolics, or visualization. Mathematica can export X3D and VRML.
  7. Live Interior 3D Pro includes export to VRML and X3D.
  8. Rhino includes VRML export and apparently X3D export as well.
  9. SketchUp Pro by Trimble can export VRML files
  10. SOLIDWORKS by Dassault Systemes includes VRML import and export
  11. VMD is a molecular visualization program for displaying, animating, and analyzing large biomolecular systems using 3D graphics and built-in scripting. VMD is designed for modeling, visualization, and analysis of biological systems such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipid bilayer assemblies, etc. and may be used to view more general molecules. Export features include support for X3D, VRML97 and VRML 1.0.
  12. VRMLout for AutoCAD and VRML Translator for Inventor can publish AutoCAD 3D models and Autodesk Inventor assemblies on the Web.

Feedback to top

Get involved! Feedback is welcome on any X3D topic. Scene authors and interested users are always welcome to participate in the X3D Graphics community.

Need something else? You can contact Web3D Consortium or else contact X3D Working Group cochairs for any direct or private inquiries.

Questions, suggestions, additions and comments regarding this X3D Resources page are also welcome. Please see the Contact section below.

License to top

Mobile Support to top

There is a mobile subset of the X3D vocabulary called the X3D Interactive Profile. Conversion tools are likely to emerge that can down-convert scenes using the X3D Immersive Profile or VRML97 for lightweight mobile and embedded applications.

There has been a lot of dialog about X3D Mixed and Augmented Reality (MAR) and whether a new X3D Mobile Profile is possible that harmonizes capabilities for lightweight scenes running with HTML5 on mobile devices, possibly including essential AR and GPS capabilities. How can such X3D capabilities best be aligned with HTML?

Join the X3D Graphics public mailing list to join the discussion and learn more.

Model Search to top

The X3D Examples archives include thousands of open-source models contributed by Web3D Consortium members.

You can also search for X3D models at these sites:

PowerPoint Support to top

TODO: we need a more up-to-date way to install X3D plugins for PowerPoint.

Quality Assurance (QA) to top

X3D Quality Assurance (QA) identifies errors and warnings in order to make X3D scene content more portable and reliable.

The X3D Scene Authoring Hints: Validation describes DOCTYPE (DTD) and XML Schema validation of X3D scenes in detail.

The X3D Specifications are the authoritative reference for determining correctness of X3D scenes.

Of related interest: Conformance Testing.

References to top

Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics

Security to top

Open security by design, as specified by W3C's XML Security Recommendations, provides the strongest approach for secure Web documents used internationally on the Web.

The .x3d encoding is XML based, which means that the full power of Web Security can be applied to X3D Graphics models.

X3D model security supports multiple existing and emerging capabilities:

Most of these capabilities are demonstrated and formalized already. Several are already working-group efforts in progress. Therefore, this emerging combination of capabilities can be considered low risk, with high probability of full convergence eventually occurring.

Vulnerabilities. X3D security vulnerabilities are relatively few but deserve attention. XML/HTML security resources follow.

X3D player and tool support for security:

The Web3D Consortium X3D Working Group participates in the W3C Security Activity and EXI Working Group to continue aligning X3D with ongoing developments.

Interested? Member participation is welcome.

Showcase DVD to top

The X3D Showcase DVD is produced twice each year the Web3D Consortium for outreach to members and interested individuals.

X3D Tooltips to top

X3D Tooltips provide authoring tips, hints and warnings for each node and field in X3D. Multiple languages are available:

Developer support:

Interested in contributing, by updating an existing set of tooltips or creating a new translation? X3D Tooltips inquiries are welcome.

Training and Tutorials for X3D to top

The annual Web3D Conference includes several excellent new tutorials each year. Now in it's 19th year, the conference is sponsored by ACM SIGGRAPH, Eurographics, and the Web3D Consortium.

The X3D for Web Authors textbook includes a comprehensive set of online examples, slidesets and videos. Coverage includes all of VRML  and the X3D Immersive Profile.

Additional training and tutorial resources include:

Videos showing X3D to top

Numerous demonstration videos can be found online that show X3D models and applications in action.

The X3D for Web Authors book includes a full set of course video lessons for learning X3D.

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) 97 to top

VRML design began in 1994 and the language became a stable International Standard in 1997. VRML97 is fully compatible with X3D and is the basis of the ClassicVRML .x3d encoding.

Open Inventor to top

Open Inventor is an object-oriented 3D toolkit offering a comprehensive solution to interactive graphics programming problems. Of interest: the original VRML design was directly based on a competitive community selection of the Open Inventor .iv format as being the current "best of breed" for Web markup of scene graphs. This architectural design similarity provides fundamental common ground between Open Inventor, VRML97 and X3D.

Contact to top

Questions, suggestions, additions and comments about this X3D Resources page are welcome. Please send them to Don Brutzman (brutzman at
Master version of the X3D Resources page is available online at and available in Sourceforge version control.
Updated: 5 August 2016.