glTF official logo
|Internet media type||model/gltf+json, model/gltf-binary|
|Developed by||Khronos Group|
|Initial release||19 October 2015|
(5 June 2017)
|Type of format||3D computer graphics|
glTF (derivative short form of Graphics Language Transmission Format or GL Transmission Format) is a standard file format for three-dimensional scenes and models. A glTF file uses one of two possible file extensions, .gltf (JSON/ASCII) or .glb (binary). A .gltf file may be self-contained or may reference external binary and texture resources, while a .glb file is entirely self-contained. An open standard developed and maintained by the Khronos Group, it supports 3D model geometry, appearance, scene graph hierarchy, and animation. It is intended to be a streamlined, interoperable format for the delivery of 3D assets, while minimizing file size and runtime processing by apps. As such, its creators have described it as the "JPEG of 3D." The binary version of the format is called GLB, where all assets are stored in a single file.
The file format was conceived in 2012 by members of the COLLADA working group. At SIGGRAPH 2012, Khronos presented a demo of glTF, which was then called WebGL Transmissions Format (WebGL TF). On October 19, 2015, the glTF 1.0 specification was released.
At SIGGRAPH 2016, Oculus announced their adoption of glTF citing the similarities to their ovrscene format. In October 2016, Microsoft joined the 3D Formats working group at Khronos to collaborate on glTF.
The second version, glTF 2.0, was released in June 2017, and is a complete overhaul of the file format from version 1.0, with most tools adopting the 2.0 version. Physically Based Rendering (PBR) was added, replacing WebGL shaders used in glTF 1.0. Other upgrades include sparse accessors and morph targets for techniques such as facial animation, and schema tweaks and breaking changes for corner cases or performance such as replacing top-level glTF object properties with arrays for faster index-based access. There is ongoing work towards import and export in Unity and an integrated multi-engine viewer / validator.
On March 3, 2017, Microsoft announced that they will be using glTF 2.0 as the 3D asset format across their product line, including Paint 3D, 3D Viewer, Remix 3D, Babylon.js, and Microsoft Office. Sketchfab also announced support for glTF 2.0. As of 2019, the glTF and GLB formats are used on and supported by companies including UX3D, Sketchfab, Facebook, Microsoft, Oculus, Google, Adobe, Box, TurboSquid, and Unreal Engine. The format has been noted as an important standard for augmented reality, integrating with modeling software such as Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, and Poly.
In February 2020, the Smithsonian Institution launched their Open Access Initiative, releasing approximately 2.8 million 2D images and 3D models into the public domain, delivering the 3D models in glTF.
The GLB file format is a binary form of glTF that includes textures instead of referencing them as external images. GLB was introduced as an extension to glTF 1.0 and incorporated directly into glTF 2.0.
On August 10, 2015, 3D Tiles, now a proposed OGC Community Standard, built on glTF to add a spatial data structure, metadata, and declarative styling for streaming massive heterogeneous 3D geospatial datasets. VRM, a model format for VR, is built on the .glb format. It is a 3D humanoid avatar specification and file format.
glTF files can also be directly exported from a variety of 3D editors, such as Blender, Vectary, Autodesk 3ds Max (using Verge3D exporter), Autodesk Maya (using babylon.js exporter), Modo, Paint 3D, and Substance Painter.
glTF files can directly edited in Gestaltor.
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