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X3D Scene Authoring Hints

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These hints provide a collection of style guidelines, authoring tips and best practices to improve the quality, consistency and maintainability of Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics scenes.

Audio | Authoring | Color | containerField | Coordinate Systems | Credits | Dates | Encodings | HTML | Images and Videos | Inlines and Prototypes | License | Meshes | meta Tags and Metadata Nodes | Naming Conventions | Scale Factors | Scripts (JavaJavaScriptJSON) | SVG | Tooltips | URL Links | Validation | Viewpoints and Navigation | Volumes | X3D-Edit | X3D for Web Authors | X3D Resources | Contact

Audio and Sound Tools to top

Authoring Practices to top

Color to top


containerField to top

For the .x3d XML encoding of scenes, containerField is the field-label prefix indicating this node's field relationship to its parent node, for example <Transform><Shape containerField='children'/></Transform>.

Coordinate Systems to top

Credits to top

Dates to top

Encodings to top

HTML to top

HTML is the publishing language of the World Wide Web. HTML web pages can embed or launch X3D scenes.

Images and Videos to top

Inline Scenes and Prototype Templates to top

License to top

Meshes to top

meta Tags to top

Metadata Nodes to top

Naming Conventions to top

Naming of multiple similar autogenerated files: Concatenate the following name components as appropriate. Separate components by period characters, since underscores disappear as part of a url and since hyphens will break across a line.

General notes on naming conventions:

Scale Factors and Unit Conversions to top

Scripts to top

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) to top

Overview. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a markup language for describing two-dimensional graphics applications and images, and a set of related graphics script interfaces. SVG is supported by all modern browsers for desktop and mobile systems. There are many SVG authoring tools, and export to SVG is supported by all major vector graphics authoring tools.

Use with X3D



URL Links to top

Validation of X3D Scenes using DTD and XML Schema to top

This section shows example declarations of DTD and Schema in X3D scenes.

One of the biggest benefits of the .x3d file encoding is XML validation. XML checks for well-formed documents, DTD validation and schema validation greatly improve quality assurance (QA) for X3D scenes. This approach exposes many possible errors and helps authors eliminate Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO) problems. Useful links:

XML validation is defined by the Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0. A number of document variations are possible for X3D scenes. For example, encoding information" target="_blank"> is optional and may designate a variety of character sets. The X3D specifications are carefully designed to be fully compatible with XML requirements.

The following sections provide detailed information on the proper file syntax for X3D DTD and XML Schema headers in an .x3d scene. Each version matches the corresponding X3D version (3.0, 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3). Thanks to X3D stability, each version is backwards compatible. For example, the X3D v3.2 DTD and schema can validate X3D v3.2, v3.1, or v3.0 content, but not v3.3 content.

Viewpoints and Navigation to top

Viewpoints are typically the most important mechanism for an author to suggest scene navigation to a user. Recommended keyboard defaults are listed in Annex G Recommended navigation behaviours. In this way, new users interacting with an X3D scene can have a relatively consistent experience, regardless of which X3D player might be used.

Volume Tools and Volume Visualization to top

Contact to top

Questions, suggestions, additions and comments about this X3D Scene Authoring Hints page are welcome. Please send them to Don Brutzman (brutzman at who maintains it.

These hints were collected while teaching X3D Graphics and writing X3D for Web Authors. Questions, suggestions, additions and comments are welcome.

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Updated: 29 November 2016