WebXR frameworks are the foundation for crafting engaging experiences in Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). This article sheds light on four popular WebXR frameworks: Three.js, A-Frame, Babylon.js, and PlayCanvas.

Three.js

Three.js is a flexible JavaScript library and API that facilitates the creation of animated 3D computer graphics within a web browser using WebGL. It’s a free, open-source tool under the MIT License. However, it presupposes a solid understanding of 3D graphics concepts and WebGL programming.

A-Frame

A-Frame, an open-source web framework specifically designed for VR experiences, is built on HTML. Its user-friendly entity-component system framework and built-in visual 3D inspector make it an excellent choice for beginners. It’s also free under the MIT License.

Babylon.js

Babylon.js is a powerful real-time 3D engine that leverages a JavaScript library to display 3D graphics in a web browser using HTML5. It’s praised for its comprehensive set of features. Like the others, Babylon.js is free and open-source, licensed under the Apache License 2.0. However, those new to 3D graphics or WebGL might find it challenging.

PlayCanvas

PlayCanvas, an open-source WebGL game engine, offers a built-in editor for visual scene creation, scripting, and asset management. It’s freely available under the MIT License, but a subscription is necessary to unlock private projects and gain additional account storage.

 

Three.js A-Frame Babylon.js PlayCanvas
Functionality Creates 3D graphics in browsers using WebGL. Web framework for VR experiences. 3D engine for browser-based 3D graphics. WebGL game engine and development platform.
Key Features GPU-accelerated 3D animations; fine control over 3D scenes. HTML-based 3D/WebXR scenes; built-in visual 3D inspector. Comprehensive features including physics, fluid rendering, texture decals, particle effects; efficient rendering. Web-based editor for scene creation, scripting, and asset management; built-in physics and animation tools; supports real-time collaboration.
Ease of Use Requires 3D graphics and WebGL knowledge. Beginner-friendly with HTML basis. May be challenging for those new to 3D graphics or WebGL. Requires standard JavaScript knowledge.
Cost Free (MIT License). Free (MIT License). Free (Apache License 2.0). Engine is free (MIT License); subscription required for private projects and extra storage.

WebAR Platforms

WebAR platforms provide intuitive tools for creating WebAR experiences. This article explores three main platforms: Zapworks, Blippar, and 8th Wall.

Zapworks

Zapworks is a comprehensive WebAR platform that includes tools such as Zapworks Designer, Zapworks Studio, and Mattercraft’s user-friendly 3D editor.

Blippar

Blippar provides a range of tools and solutions for creating WebAR experiences, featuring Blippbuilder and a WebAR SDK with core AR functionalities.

8th Wall

8th Wall is a platform that empowers developers to build immersive experiences directly for the web. It boasts robust features like SLAM, face effects, and image targets.

 

Zapworks Blippar 8thWall
Key Product . non-code editor

. fully-customizable AR development application

. WebAR  SDK

. non-code editor

. Web AR SDK

. fully-featured cloud text editor

. project library and modules accelerate development

Framework compatibility Three.js, Aframe, Babylon, Playcanvas, React Three.js, Unity Unity, PlayCanvas, A-Frame, and Babylon.js A-Frame, three.js, PlayCanvas, Babylon.js. To develop app-based AR with Unity, use Niantic Lightship ARDK
Monthly subscription

cost

starter:$95, Pro: $129 , 

Enterprise: customise

editor subscription: creative: $7.99 plus:$99,pro: $249

SDK: Creative: $100 ; Commercial :$250

starter:$12, Plus: $59

Pro: $129 , Enterprise: customise

View

cost

starter subscription: 1200 view /year (zapworks host)

Pro subscription : 12k view/ year

custom (zapworks host)

Enterprise subscription: one self host domain, 100k/year

$100/ month for 1000 view / month (include creative subscription)

$250/month for unlimited views (include commercial subscription)

Brands and organizations require commercial licenses or an Enterprise plan for public use of 8th Wall projects. 

Unlimited views $3000/month

 

Choosing the appropriate WebXR framework or WebAR platform depends on factors like project complexity, required features, developer skill level, and budget constraints. For beginners and designers, platforms like A-Frame and Blippar’s Blippbuilder could be more suitable. In contrast, coders might prefer the versatility of Three.js, Babylon.js, or PlayCanvas.

For paid WebAR platforms, Zapworks, Blippar, and 8th Wall offer robust solutions. However, whether they are cost-effective will largely depend on the specific needs and budget of the project.

By understanding the features and potential of these platforms and frameworks, you can leverage their power to create immersive and interactive digital experiences.