What is a GLB file? Learn more about GLB file

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What is a GLB file?

A GLB file (.glb), which stands for “GL Transmission Format Binary file”, is a standardized file format used to share 3D data. Precisely, it can contain information about 3D scenes, models, lighting, materials, node hierarchy and animations. When you open a glb file format, you are able to visualize and interact with a complete 3D scene. This is why it is also known as the JPEG (image file format) of the 3D asset world.

 

What is a GLB file used for?

The glb-file is a fairly new format as it was introduced only in 2015 in order to represent GLTF files (.gltf) in a binary format, and not in a JSON format. This article will make you learn GLB file utility, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to convert a glb file format.

 

What is the difference between the GLB and GLTF file?

There is a significant difference between what is a GLB and GLTF. The GLB format is a version of the GLTF file. The difference is that the GLB format is a binary file format while the GLTF is based on JSON (JavaScript Object Notation). The GLB locates all of the elements of a 3D scene, including materials, node hierarchy and cameras in one single compressed file. In comparison, the GLTF file requires external processing file formats, such as for textures, shaders and animation data. These external elements are stored in the GLTF file, but each in a unique format (JPEG for textures, GLSL for shaders and BIN for animation data).

Therefore, the GLB is known as an autonomous file (everything is included in a single network) and the GLTF as a non-autonomous file. The GLB is also 33% smaller in size than the GLTF file, which makes it more efficient to use as it takes up less processing information. At Visao, we use the GLB file for its ease of use.

 

How can I open a GLB file extension?

It is possible to open a GLB in all major 3D modeling programs (Blender, Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, SketchUp, Babylon, etc.). The easiest way to open a glb file is to first locate the document on your computer. Then simply right click on the file and select open. From there, you should be able to see the 3D modeling program already installed on your own computer. By clicking on the program, you should see the step file automatically appear in it. Alternatively, if you have a Windows device, but no 3D modeling software, it is still possible to open the glb in Microsoft 3D Viewer or even Microsoft Paint 3D for free. If you want to open the glb file on Mac, not with Windows, it is also possible to open glb files directly online.

 

How to create a GLB file?

It is possible to create a GLB file of a 3D project directly from any popular 3D modeling program. The first step is to gather all the necessary models, lighting, materials, node hierarchy, animations, etc. into a single project file. Once the 3D project is ready, simply export the file directly as a GLB. For users with older versions of 3D modeling programs, additional software such as Substance Painter may be required to export a GLB file.

 

What is the structure of the GLB file format?

GLB files encode data in a binary format. It includes a JSON data part (which includes the original information data of the gltf file and its settings) and a binary buffer (to support additional files for example on animations).

 

How to convert GLB files?

It is possible to convert GLB files into specific formats. Below is a list of the most common conversions.

How to convert GLB to FBX?

Once you have your GLB ready, you can use a free online resource that can convert the glb file in seconds to a FBX.

How to convert GLB to OBJ?

Once you have your GLB ready, you can use a free online resource that can convert the glb file in seconds to an OBJ file.

How do I convert a GLB file to STL?

Once you have your GLB ready, you can use a free online resource that can convert the glb file in seconds to a STL file.

How to convert GLB to GLTF?

Once you have your GLB ready, you can use a free online resource who can convert the file in seconds into a GLTF file. It is important to mention that this will increase the size of your file.

How to convert GLB to PNG?

Once your GLB is ready, you can convert it to PNG format using a desktop program like ReaConverter. It is not possible to perform this conversion on the web. However, it is possible to easily convert a PNG to GLB online.

How to convert GLB to JPEG?

Once your GLB is ready, you can convert it to JPEG format using a desktop program like ReaConverter. It is not possible to perform this conversion on the web. However, it is possible to easily convert a JPEG to GLB online.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using GLB files?

The main advantage of using a file extension glb is that it is much more lightweight in terms of size than its similar gltf version. This means that the GLB is easy to transfer (great email file format) and takes up less processing space. This is mainly why it is commonly used for mobile applications, video games and AR/VR purposes. In addition, unlike the obj file, the GLB contains a full PBR shader, full textures and animation information details, all in one standalone file. This is advantageous because it can be viewed and interacted with instantly upon opening.

However, it is important to note that because of its compressed nature, the extension GLB file does not carry the same amount of detail and complexity as the gltf file.

 

Can you print a GLB file?

It is technically possible to print a gltf glb file, but it is always recommended to first convert it to a more standard 3D printing file such as the stl file. The stl file organizes shapes as a list of 3D triangles and meshes and is therefore easily readable by 3D printing software. Using a GLB file extension would result in additional, time-consuming processing during the 3D printing process.

 

Need help with your GLB file?

Visao provides a web-based platform that allows manufacturers to use their GLB files to create interactive visualizations of their products for marketing, sales processes, trade shows and production. We also provide services to accompany you in the process of your GLB files.

Ready to use your glb files in a truly unique way? Request a live demonstration of Visao’s 3D and augmented reality solutions.