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Topic: RealTime3D for Macs
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Russell Towle

Posts: 70
Registered: 12/3/04
RealTime3D for Macs
Posted: Mar 5, 2000 12:41 AM
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Almost everything I do with Mathematica has to do with polyhedra and
space-fillings. Hence, the advent of real-time rotation using RealTime3D
has been extremely welcome. I also use Jens-Peer Kuska's excellent (and
free!) MathGL MathLink application, which is much more fully-featured than
Mathematica's RealTime3D. Among the most valuable features of Kuska's MathGL is
direct export to both POV-Ray format and to Apple QuickDraw3D .3dmf file

I use a one-year-old Blue & White PowerMac G3. Along with the newer G4 and
iMac systems, this machine ships with a video acceleration card. Recently I
downloaded a *wonderful* free QuickDraw3D viewer, Stefan Huber's Geo3D, at

and am astounded at its capabilities. It has a tiny "memory footprint," of
less than 6 MB. It should be emphasized that Geo3D and SimpleText (another
free QuickDraw3D viewer) are greatly enhanced by hardware acceleration,
such as exists on all new Macs. Aside from a minor bug--one always has to
choose "flip backfaces" in the Rendering settings--Geo3D offers the
following, almost astounding features:

1. Real-time rotations and translations and camera zooms at resolutions of
1152 by 870 and above, in 24-bit color. I have brought Graphics3D polyhedra
and space-fillings bounded by up to 10,000 polygons into Geo3D with
excellent results.

2. Respects Mathematica's SurfaceColor specifications.

3. Arbitrary background color, any number of direct lights of any color and
position, ambients lights of any color and position, and more.

4. A series of rotations and zooms and translations of arbitrary length may
be saved as an animation and played back.

5. The rendering window may be saved to PICT format, and the animation may
be saved to a series of PICTs. One may specify the resolution of the PICT
file and thus obtain nice anti-aliasing (just as in Mathematica, one can
render a graphic at 200% and then com back to 100% magnification, to get
smoother edges).

With the addition of one more (shareware) software component, Eduard
Schuan's MooVer, at

one can make QuickTime movies from a series of anti-aliased PICTs exported
from Geo3D.

Another useful adjunct to Geo3D is Junzo Sato's shareware Mathematica
QuickDraw3D package, which allows export from Graphics3D to a QD3D text
file; this may be found at

In summary, Geo3D provides remarkable real-time 3D rendering capabilities
to all recent Macintosh systems.

Russell Towle
Box 141
Dutch Flat, CA 95714
(530) 389-2872

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