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glTF / glb is the WebAR 3D file format best friend, and this is why

March 16, 2021

Best format for AR experiences

In the past, we already covered how to create your first AR campaign with the Aryel platform or which 3D assets you can find ready-to-use in our builder: but what if you want to create your own 3D models for your AR marketing campaigns? Which is the best 3D model format?

Here, check this article to answer all your questions!

Let’s start from the very beginning: choosing the best and most suitable format for your AR experience.

glTF / glb is the standard format for 3d on the web: to make it even easier, glTF is considered the jpg for 3D.

Why? Because it is light and designed to minimize the size of a 3D asset, making the runtime processing flow fast and smooth

Basically is the perfect fit to make your WebAR campaign running fast, avoiding any delays or annoying glitches.

But what are they exactly? Surprisingly, glTF and glb are the same things. What changes and differentiates them is the approach:

  • The glTF is a non-autonomous file because it can contain links to other textures and binary files.
  • The glb is an autonomous file because it has everything you need enclosed in it.

Moreover, these formats are royalty-free, which is pretty convenient.

glTF / glb, in fact, has been released by the guys at Khronos Group, a cool no profit that made 3D their core business, and they described these formats as “an extensible, common publishing format for 3D content tools and services that streamline authoring workflows and enables interoperable use of content across the industry.”

As we said at the beginning of this article, this makes glTF a very common and interoperative format: again, the jpeg for 3D.

Now that we know what glTF and glb mean let’s roll up our sleeves and discover how to use them on the Aryel platform!

As you probably already know, if you used our platform, you can choose between using one of the ready-to-use 3D models available in our libraries or upload your custom ones.

If you choose this second option (good for you, 100% custom content!), we highly recommend using glTF / glb to make your AR experience run smoothly and fast.

You have a 3D model in a different format? No problem: you can easily convert it into glTF / glb with a program like Sketchfab or the many online converters you find online — however, the great news is the Aryel platform will soon support different formats too! Yay!

You can even convert a glTF file into a glb one to make everything even smoother.

Why should you do so? As we already said, glb is a single file, or — speaking geekish — a single network request, and therefore it is much smaller than glTF

As an individual file, it is easier to copy and transport than multiples, and there’s a lot less to worry about with broken relative URLs and so on!

Okay, till here was pretty easy, right? To be safe, here’s a recap:

  • glTF / glb is the standard formats for 3D on the web
  • it’s good for you since it makes your AR experiences run fast and smoothly
  • glb is more convenient than glTF since it is a single file that has everything you need enclosed in it
  • you can convert different 3D files into this format

Let’s now see how to prepare your 3D asset for AR Camera

1 — Export your 3D model
Blender 2.8b and Substance Painter both support glTF export. Before exporting, be sure that:

  1. The pivot point is at the base of the model
  2. The forward vector of the object is along Z-axis

2— Convert to GLB
You have different solutions:

👉 Already have GLTF + bin? Convert to GLB here

3— Check your model

  • Navigate to https://gltf-viewer.donmccurdy.com
  • Drop-in your newly created GLB
  • Inspect your model and confirm there are no issues with geometry or textures
  • If you have some animations, unfurl the “Animation” tab and make sure every animation clip is listed beginning with “idle,” “motion,” clip 3, clip 4, etc.

4 — Before you upload on Aryel, ensure that

  1. Poly count does not exceed 35k tris (or performance will suffer)
  2. Combined file size does not exceed 20MB

👉 To reduce file size, compress textures and reduce poly count.

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