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Re: GLExplorer, MathLive, Dynamic Visualization
I received several substantive responses from my original posting. To summarize: 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 Macintosh). 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 http://www.topoi.ch/. 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 (http://www.quesa.org/). 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 http://wwwvis.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/~kraus/LiveGraphics3D/.) 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 ( http://phong.informatik.uni-leipzig.de/~kuska/mathgl3dv3/index.htm) 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 group.