X3D Binary Compression Capabilities and Plans
Synopsis: Lots of work has been accomplished towards proper support of X3D Binary Compression for a wide variety of potential uses.
X3D appears to have have an 80% solution already available that meets various requirements for a general 3D transmission format.
- TODO: We are updating this page and creating a draft 2013 Call For Contributions to further progress these technical capabilities for X3D.
Existing Compression Usage for X3D and VRML97
- Approved ISO standard Compressed Binary Encoding (CBE) for X3D.
- Based on ISO standard Infoset Fast Infoset (FI) for XML compression.
- Optional, alternative gzip compression and MIME Type definitions for X3D.
- Optional, alternative gzip compression for VRML97.
- Original compression technique of applying gzip to .wrl compressed VRML97 files was called .wrz.
- This emerged as a common practice when gzip was originally used. No formal specification of .wrz or corresponding mime type was produced.
- Occasionally authors might also gzip .wrl files while retaining the .wrl file extension.
Polygon Reduction and Geometric Compression
- The X3D Compressed Binary Encoding defines extensible, repeatable compression and decompression algorithms for data-flow production chains. Multiple type-specific field encoders and geometric compression algorithms can be used in concert, but no specific geometric compression algorithms are referenced or required.
- X3D Canonicalization (C14N) provides standardized formatting so that digital signatures are not thwarted by whitespace variations.
- CAD Distillation Filter (CDF) technique allowing successive refinement of large X3D scenes into tighter X3D scenes.
- A highly effective exemplar algorithm for Coding Polygon Meshes as Compressable ASCII is demonstrated in the Experimental Binary Compression examples.
- Multiple CAD Distillation Filter (CDF) algorithms implemented in Xj3D and X3D-Edit as open-source.
- The Chisel VRML Optimisation Tool has an excellent set of data-reduction tools for VRML that are worth repeating for X3D.
- Multiple other conversion and translation tools available with supporting capabilities.
Data-Centric Binary Encodings
- Plan to add a further-improved X3D Compressed Binary Encoding using now-approved W3C Recommendation for Efficient XML Interchange (EXI).
- Web3D contributed to EXI working group and XML Binary Characterization working group efforts.
- 3D Model Compression, Serialization and Transmission use-case requirements are defined and met by EXI.
- Design includes compatibility with CDF techniques, XML Encryption, and XML Digital Signature for author authentication.
- Relevant example scenes maintained as part of X3D Basic Examples Archive - Security.
- These capabilities meets most needs of digital authors for digital rights management (DRM).
- Multiple capabilities are already available in X3D for flexible network transmission.
- Anchor, Inline, LOD, LoadSensor, Script and Prototype nodes support successive retrieval of content once initial model is displayed.
- TODO: Willing to consider further addition of progressive-mesh geometric streaming technologies, perhaps by a public Call for Contributions. Note however that an effective progressive-mesh approach is likely dependent on the availability of a corresponding mesh compression algorithm.
- For example, the original August 2003 X3D Compressed Binary Encoding Request For Proposals (RFP).
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protections for X3D specification.
- Patented technologies can be considered, but only when eventual use will be royalty free for X3D use (if eventually accepted).
- Submitters can restrict access to patented submissions during member-only working group review, if desired.
- TODO: Use cases and test examples can demonstrate whether http/https and local-file url retrieval are sufficient for a network protocol.
- Other network protocols (Web sockets, P2P channels, etc.) might be possible, but only if security restrictions can be handled satisfactorily.
The following tools implement the X3D Compressed Binary Encoding (CBE) standard.
- Two independent open-source implementations available.
- Ongoing status is maintained on Web3D-member wiki pages:
- Several thousand X3D Examples are available in .x3db form, encoded by Xj3D.
- TODO: Plan to similarly automate conversions and comparisons, using both Xj3D and XIOT, for cross-check interoperability and validation testing.
- Web3D's X3D and CAD Working Groups each have member commitments to pursue this continued innovative work in 2013.
- TODO: An open workshop on 3D Transmission Formats might be a thorough way to compare candidate technologies to complete these capabilities.
- Consider common, sharable technical strategies with MPEG-4 and Collada.