What is WebGL

Web GL is an application programming interface (API) for JavaScript that renders 3D graphics within compatible web browsers without the need for plugins. To the majority of us that means very little. When we simplify it and apply it to real world scenarios we can see what it really is. Web GL is essentially a way of creating interactive and immersive content within browsers without the need for high spec graphics cards or special plugins added to the CMS of a website. This means the consumer only needs to be using Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge and they can see 3D graphics within the browser.



Remember when browser plugins were the norm and so were security issues? In the last few years people have realised the vulnerability of plugins like Flash, Java, Unity 3D and Silverlight. Web GL like HTML5 has essentially helped replace Unity 3D and Google Earth’s Google Earth Plugin. In the same way HTML5 has brought an end to Flash, Java and Silverlight. Plugins are insecure, don’t use sandboxing, have cross platform issues and most importantly stability issues.

So as Web GL has now become the standard for displaying 3D and interactive graphics within browsers it means that websites that want this sort of experience for their consumer must evolve themselves to contain Web GL.


What can WebGL be used for?

Web GL’s uses are quite broad and are ever growing as new technologies develop and are available over the internet.

Primarily Web GL is used for 3D graphics displays on websites. This means we can display a three dimensional image to users of the site. This is particularly useful to marketers as they try to sell their products online using a 2D screen. If a customer can see the product they are buying in 3D then they are much more likely to convert as it feels as if they are looking at the product in real life.

Where we take this 3D graphics usage to the next level is by creating interactive 3D graphics. It’s create having a moving or spinning object on screen but if you can’t control how it moves or spins the user then becomes frustrated and doesn’t feel as immersed in the product as they would if they were able to control where they looked or where they made the product move to. So by integrating the mouse and/or keyboard into the experience we create an interactive 3D experience which becomes the true immersive marketing. The only limitations to the product now are that the user can’t feel the product or see it in true 3D (coming out of the screen).

Wait did we say it can’t come out of the screen? This bring us onto true 3D interactive graphics. Whilst most laptops and computer monitors don’t support true 3D unlike TVs this is starting to change and if you connect your computer to your TV then you can display true 3D from your browser provided you’ve got your 3D glasses on. This technology is especially useful to marketers at shows, exhibitions, expos, displays and events where you can have a 3D enabled TV set up to advertise your brand, product or service in 3D. This allows you to bring another level of immersive marketing to your brand.

There are also plenty of other uses for Web GL on the web and these focus primarily on games. Games used to run on Flash Player but now Web GL has done away with the need for this outdated plugin, especially now all the major browsers don’t support Flash Player. Web GL can support simple games with low level graphics but it’s best used for graphically intense games that are 3D. You might want a game on your site for younger users or you might want to advertise a game you’ve developed for PC, Xbox, Wii or PlayStation by letting users play some of it within their web browser as a marketing taster.

Web GL also comes into play now AR and VR are becoming available on people’s smartphones. You might not wish to go through all the expense of making and marketing a VR/AR App when you can use your existing website with all of its users and launch the VR/AR marketing campaign through the site. So your users can access everything in one place. You could apply this to a product so that users can see the product in VR or to a service where the user could sit in on a lecture or seminar.





Speak to us about WebGL

Want to find out a bit more about Web GL and how we can apply it to your business to offer that next level of marketing? We’d love to discuss with you how we can develop a Web GL site or project for you that benefits all of your stakeholders. We take on most Web GL projects and can offer consultation services to in house teams as well to guide you on any Web GL projects you might be working on.