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Best way to get started with Java 3D rendering?  RSS feed

 
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Can anyone offer insight on the best approach for Java 3D rendering? I've done a bit of looking around and haven't been able to sort out which projects have the strongest communities and long-term viability. A lot of the links and discussions I've found are a number of years old... And while a properly-working system doesn't have to change (and wouldn't need new documentation), it is always good to hear from developers with recent experience. So if you have any suggestions, I'd welcome them.

I have a passing acquaintance with OpenGL, so JOGL looked promising for a while. But they lost some points when I went to their site at http://jogamp.org/jogl/www/ and couldn't find basic instructions for downloading and installing the software. That's not a showstopper in of itself, but it does raise some concerns. Has anyone looked into this lately?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Gary
 
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JOGL is definitely an option. There's a bunch of example code available on their web site (which may well be hard to find, I can't look it up right now).

Java3D is another option, but in contrast to JOGL it's been dormant (dead, IMO) for years.
 
Java Cowboy
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LWJGL is a fairly popular library for games in Java, including support for 3D graphics, sound etc. It might be worth checking out, in particular if you want more than only the graphics.

Another option might be JavaFX, Java's (relatively) new standard API for user interfaces. Especially JavaFX 8, which is included with Java 8, has support for 3D graphics. I haven't looked at it in detail so I don't know exactly what it does and does not support.
 
Saloon Keeper
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At one time I was interested in rendering some computer generated 3D scenes (no motion involved) and I took an indirect approach. There is an excellent (and free) rendering tool called POV-Ray that I used. I wrote my program to generate a POV-Ray scene description file (text) then ran POV-Ray to do the final rendering. Check out some POV-Ray images at POV-Ray Gallery
 
Ulf Dittmer
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It had been a while since I started out with JOGL, and I had forgotten some of the details. It definitely involves more steps than one would wish. What you need to get started you can get from http://jogamp.org/deployment/jogamp-current/archive/. I'd say jogamp-all-platforms.7z (the actual OpenGL implementation), jogl-demos.7z (the name says it all), and the JOGL and Gluegen javadocs. Furthermore the JOGL demos sources from the "Source" directory. Anything that says JOAL or JOCL you can ignore for the moment.

The user guide has an installation section that talks about which of the many files in jogamp-all-platforms you need for your platform. http://jogamp.org/jogl/doc/deployment/JOGL-DEPLOYMENT.html also goes into some of that.
 
Gary W. Lucas
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Thank you all for your helpful replies.

I am leaning toward Ulf's JOGL recommendation because it is the closest match to my particular needs. Jesper's suggestion of LWJGL was worth checking out since I hadn't realized there was a whole community related to Java 3D gaming... So that might be something I'll look into in the future. And while Carey's suggestion of POV-Ray doesn't quite map to my current requirements, the images on the site mentioned in that post are absolutely beautiful and it was a pleasure seeing them.

Gary
 
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