July 22, 2024

All About the VRML File Format for 3D Printing

1 min read

The VRML file format (originally Virtual Reality Markup Language, later the Virtual Reality Modeling Language) originated in 1995 as a standardized file format. It was developed for designing and communicating 3D vector graphics, with the ability to encode information about an object's color, texture, transparency, and reflectivity. 

VRML files use the extension .wrl, meaning WORLD, and the files are often referred to as “worlds.” The VRML file type remained the standard until it was superseded by (and became a subset of) the even more powerful X3D format in 2001. The VRML file format is still widely employed, and X3D is backward compatible, allowing existing .wrl files to continue to be used and modified. A wide range of 3D tools is compatible with the VRML format. VRML files can be accessed by most software systems, making full use of the virtual environment features to generate high-quality on-screen renderings. Most browsers have plug-ins that allow VRML files to be opened directly. Many VRML viewers are also available for Windows, iOS, and Android operating systems. Whether using a plug-in or a viewer, opening VRML files is simply a matter of double-clicking in Internet Explorer (for example) and the associated tool does the rest.

This article will further discuss the definition, history, applications, and process of creating, opening, and converting a VRML file.

All About the VRML File Format for 3D Printing

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