GPU Accelerated Web Graphics – NVIDIA, AMD, Google, Mozilla, Opera

CPU has gone multicore, still we need GPU powered applications for all types of complex graphics.

May it be Windows Aero interface or Your photo/video editing/re-sampling application, it now needs and is able to Utilize your GPU (provided you have supported one).

Accelerated Graphics, totally absent from Web world, are now opening up for direct GPU access offloading CPU further. A new venture that includes  Mozilla, Google, and Opera Software — along with graphics processor leaders AMD (ATI) and Nvidia, announced this morning their intention to produce a royalty-free mechanism for producing hardware-assisted 3D graphics using JavaScript-enabled Web pages, for initial distribution during the first half of next year.

The Internet Graphics are planned to be based on OpenGL ES. The new Web-OpenGL or WebGL language could potentially open up the field of Web applications to classes of software traditionally reserved for local, on-system installation, including computer-aided design and engineering, rich visualization, and of course, gaming. While the <CANVAS> element in HTML 5 is already supports 3D geometry, what WebGL would enable is the ability for JavaScript developers to utilize the GPU to produce fast, fluid, rendered scenes, effectively extending the already proven OpenGL ES system used by Sony’s PlayStation 3, to the realm of Web apps.

WebGL is intended on Hardware accelerated complex 2D, 3D Rendering of pixels, which is much faster as compared to Software rendering.

It’s evident that the WebGL would be integrated into browsers, not attached as add-ons. In many senses, WebGL already is integrated, through browsers such as the latest Firefox 3.5 that already support HTML 5. What work remains includes the production of a final, formal specification for WebGL.

Motivating the new WebGL standard, Mozilla standards evangelist said,

“The Web has already seen the wide proliferation of compelling 2D graphical applications, and we think 3D is the next step for Firefox. We look forward to a new class of 3D-enriched Web applications within Canvas, and for creative synergy between OpenGL developers and Web developers.”

At this time, there is no good code to demonstrate power of WebGL.

One of them appeared in December 2005 project SourceForge site, in a file named sample.html. And it’s not that impressive: a live rendering of three sides of a randomly rotating cube. The source code for this little project, shown here, reveals that familiar OpenGL functions that define viewports, object identities, and that scale and rotate an object within a viewport, show up quite clearly as JavaScript functions.

For more than 3 years, the rotating cube corner has pretty much been the Benchmark / “test pattern” for WebGL. But today’s endorsement by the Khronos Group, responsible for OpenGL and OpenGL ES, could catapult this project from virtual stagnation into overdrive.

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