WebGL is a technology that makes it possible to display 3D models and 3D applications directly in the web browser. It is based on OpenGL technology, which was originally developed for displaying 3D graphics on computers and games consoles. Today, WebGL makes it possible to create 3D content for display in the browser without the user having to install special software or plug-ins. For example, simple games, interactive 3D applications or even 3D product configurators can be created.
Although it is possible to create very detailed and appealing 3D applications with WebGL, it is not technically possible to achieve photorealistic results. One reason for this is that WebGL is primarily designed to use hardware acceleration to improve performance when rendering 3D content. It utilises the device's graphics processing unit (GPU) to perform complex calculations. However, photorealistic 3D applications usually require very high computing power and specialised rendering technologies that go beyond the capabilities of WebGL.
What are the advantages of WebGL?
- Availability: WebGL is an open technology and can be viewed / used by any user who has a supporting modern web browser, which increases availability and reduces the need to install special software or plug-ins.
- Interactivity: WebGL enables simple animations and camera movements to be displayed - compared to a static 2D view, the user can "playfully" engage with the application (e.g. 3D product configurator). This promotes an emotional connection to the product range on offer and can have a positive influence on the purchase decision.
- Cross-platform: WebGL can run on almost all modern devices and operating systems, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
- Implementierung: Final programmierte WebGL Anwendungen lassen sich in bestehende Websites einfügen – entweder als vollwertige Anwendung im Fullscreen oder als eingebettete Anwendung auf einer Landingpage.
What are the disadvantages of WebGL?
- No photorealism possible: Due to technical limitations in WebGL technology, no photorealistic representation of the 3D models can be expected. Better alternatives such as pixel streaming are suitable for this.
- Performance: The performance of the user's hardware can vary depending on the device, which can sometimes make it more challenging to create and optimise the 3D models and surfaces/textures. Depending on the project, it is important to find the balance between performance and graphical quality so that the 3D application runs well on all devices.
- Browser compatibility: WebGL content cannot be displayed on all devices and not in all browsers, especially not with older versions. Modern and up-to-date browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari offer the best user experience
Overall, WebGL is a powerful technology that makes it possible to display different 3D applications directly in the browser in order to interactively emphasise your own product range. However, it also has some disadvantages, particularly in terms of graphical quality and compatibility with older devices and browsers.
We will find out whether WebGL is the right technology for your planned customised 3D application in a detailed and honest consultation.