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Re: GLExplorer, MathLive, Dynamic Visualization

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg30343] Re: GLExplorer, MathLive, Dynamic Visualization
  • From: mreed at (Matt Reed)
  • Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2001 03:40:03 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <9k88m2$532$> <9kava4$c28$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I received several substantive responses from my original posting.  To

1. No one has volunteered to me that they currently use Dynamic
Visualizer or its predecessor, MathLive.  In any case, the (reported)
lack of hardware acceleration would appear to be a substantial
limitation for large models.

2. Several people expressed disappointment that GLExplorer was no
longer being developed.  Some (including me) do use the OpenGL API. 
One respondent said that GLExplorer was the only available 3D add-on
that would do 3D text, which is important in his work.  Another person
reported that the developer of GLExplorer (at what was formerly
Conix3D) was hired by Apple to work on their OpenGL implementation,
the steady work presumably contributing to the demise of GLExplorer.

3.  Rumor has it that Mathematica 5.x is likely to have an
OpenGL-based renderer.  Several respondents anticipated that
RealTime3D would be substantially enhanced in 5.x (even on the

4.  One person reported trying the Mathematica->JLink->gl4java route,
but suggested that this was hindered by the speed of JLink (which I
understand has recently been improved substantially).  I've worked
productively with gl4java (recently ported to Mac OS X by one
respondent) and intended to pursue this further.  The (I hope)
impending release of JLink for Mac OS X will smooth this work.

5.  Rumor has it that Java3D (which will use OpenGL) may soon be
ported to Mac OS X.  This is good news for those of us who would like
to try that API for 3D applications, which would then be available
within Mathematica via JLink.
6.  One respondent recommended using the QuickDraw3D format 3DMF and
the Geo3D viewer, available at  Converting from
Mathematica to 3DMF is done using Junzo Sato's Quickdraw3D.m, available on
MathSource. Apple's QuickDraw3D API is now emulated by an open source
project ( From the website: "Quesa is a high
level 3D graphics library, released as Open Source under the LGPL,
which offers binary and source level compatibility with Apple's
QuickDraw? 3D API."

7.  Martin Kraus has created a very useful Java applet and
accompanying Mathematica package to move Mathematica-generated 3D graphics
easily to the web. (See 
This tool is accessible via JLink (see the JLink demos).  It does not
have the power of a hardware accelerated API like OpenGL, but will run
in virtually any modern browser without the need to download and
install additional libraries.

8.  Jens-Peer Kuska's MathGL3d ( is
a very powerful viewer and file converter that has many capabilities
lacking in GLExplorer, including the ability to operate in stand-alone
mode and to export files in a variety of raster and object formats. 
As Jens noted in the previous posting, he intends to release a Mac OS
X port, which I am eager to try.

Thanks to all who responded to my post. When more tools for Mac OS X
become available in the next few months, I'll review them for the

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