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MathGroup Archive 1998

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Conix 3D Explorer - beta testers needed



Announcing Conix 3D Explorer
OpenGL Graphics in Mathematica

Beta version available now.

**********************************************************************

3D Explorer is a Mathematica application, or plugin, that uses MathLink
to directly access the OpenGL rendering system on your computer.  3D
Explorer uses a multi-layer system to access to the OpenGL renderer,
giving single-command simplicity to new users while still providing
unrestricted OpenGL graphics programming for the more advanced.


* 3D Explorer's high-level interface uses a single command, GLShow, to
display any Mathematica graphics through OpenGL.  For example:

Needs["GLExplorer`GLRenderer`"]
gr = Plot3D[Sin[x y], {x,0,3}, {y,0,3}]; GLShow[gr, ShadeModel->Smooth,
Mesh->False];

will display the complete Mathematica graphics object gr with smooth
shaded, instead of flat shaded polygons.  The object can then be
dynamically rotated or scaled with the mouse, or have the lighting
model or perspective projection altered.

GLShow uses options to control smooth shading, texture mapping, fog and
blending effects, over-sampling, anti-aliasing, ...


* 3D Explorer's mid-level interface provides a new Mathematica graphics
type, GLGraphics, that recognizes an extended set of graphics
primitives and directives.

New primitives like Quads[...] and Triangles[...] capture the structure
of surfaces so that polygons are efficiently rendered and surfaces can
be correctly joined.  Normal vectors, colors, and texture coordinates
can be controlled per-vertex with the new primitives, or generated
automatically. 

New graphics directives Texture[...] or Enable[...] provide direct
control over texture mapping and rendering state so that a single
graphic can contain elements with different texture maps, lighting,
shade model, etc.

GLGraphics supports real-time rendered animations and OpenGL display
lists so that animations with very large frame counts or scenes with
very large polygon counts can be displayed with minimal memory
consumption.

GLGraphics is completely extensible with open Mathematica source code,
so that new graphics elements can be easily added to access any OpenGL
capability.


* 3D Explorer's low-level interface provides direct access to 100% of
the OpenGL and GLU programming API's.  For example:

	glMCreateWindow[]
glBegin[GlTriangles]
glVertex[.0, .0]
glVertex[.8, .8]
glVertex[.0, .6]
glEnd[]
glFlush[]

will create a new window and render a single triangle.  The direct
interface can be used for OpenGL experimentation and algorithm
development, or to extend your Mathematica graphics.


******************** System Availability *********************

3D Explorer 0.9.0beta is available now for Windows, PowerPC, and Linux. 
Other UNIX platforms are coming - motivational inquiries are welcome.

3D Explorer 1.0 will be available through Wolfram Research as a
third-party application.

* PowerPC:  Runs on PowerPC hardware with Mathematica 3.x. Uses OpenGL
for the Macintosh by Conix, included with 3D Explorer.

* Windows:  Runs on Windows 95/NT 4.0 with Mathematica 3.x. Uses
Microsoft's OpenGL that comes with Windows. Must be running in at least
15-bit color mode (32768 colors)

* Linux:  please inquire.


************************** Beta Test ***************************

Beta versions are available now.

Please email beretta@wolfram.com for a beta test agreement and download
URL.


***************************************************************

Bob Beretta
Conix Enterprises
http://www.conix3d.com

4621 South Cooper
Suite 131-286
Arlington, TX 76017

800-577-5505 sales
817-467-0461 tech
817-467-9452 fax



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