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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

     Inventor -	a toolkit for writing 3d programs

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

     The Open Inventor 3d Toolkit is an	object-oriented	toolkit	that
     simplifies	and abstracts the task of writing graphics programming into a
     set of easy to use	objects.  These	objects	range from low level datacentered
 objects such as Sphere, Camera, Material,	Light, and Group, to
     high level	application-level objects such as Walkthrough Viewer and
     Material Editor. The foundation concept in	Inventor is the	"scene
     database" which defines the objects to be used in an application.	When
     using Inventor, a programmer creates, edits, and composes these objects
     into hierarchical 3d scene	graphs (i.e., database).  A variety of
     fundamental application tasks such	as rendering, picking, event handling,
     and file reading/writing are built-in operations of all objects in	the
     database and thus are simple to invoke.

     Since Inventor is object-oriented (written	in C++), it encourages
     programmers to extend the system by writing new objects.  Inventor	users
     have created a variety of new objects that	are not	included in the
     product, such as: Bezier surfaces,	CSG objects, animation objects,
     special viewers, and many more.

     Inventor also supports a C	interface to all the objects.

     Note that the rendering mechanism inside Inventor objects employs Open
     GL.  Thus,	during rendering each object automatically makes the proper,
     efficient calls to	Open GL.  Furthermore, Inventor	rendering supports a
     caching scheme which automatically	generates very fast renderings of the
     database without traversal	overheads.

     Inventor picking is extremely efficient and does not utilize rendering.
     Furthermore, picking returns a varitey of 3d information and detail about
     what objects were picked.	A sorted list of picked	objects	and
     corresponding information is returned to the programmer.  Picking is so
     fast, that	programs can perform 3d	locate highlighting as the mouse moves
     across a 3d window.

     Inventor defines a	event model for	writing	3d interaction.	 This model is
     window system independent.	 It is quite easy to use and makes 3d direct
     manipulation programming possible.	 Inventor includes a variety of
     interactive 3d objects and	tools for writing interactive objects, such
     as: Manipulators, Draggers, and Projectors.  The flexible event model
     encourages	programmers to extend the system to support new	devices	and
     event types.

FILE FORMAT    [Toc]    [Back]

     The Inventor 3d File Format is SGI's standard for 3d data.	 The format
     supports both an ASCII and	private	binary format.	The binary format is
     network-neutral and thus can be exported across machine boundaries.

Page 1				 Release 6.5			   August 1991

INVENTOR(1)    [Toc]    [Back]

BENEFITS    [Toc]    [Back]

     Programming 3d graphics applications with Inventor	results	in large scale
     productivity increases.  This also	increases with time as more tools
     utilize the Inventor paradigm, user interfaces, and standard file format.

DOCUMENTATION    [Toc]    [Back]

     "The Inventor Mentor" published by	Addison-Wesley Publishing Company is
     available in technical bookstores starting	in December 1993.  "The
     Inventor Toolmaker" and "The Inventor Reference Manual" will be available
     in	bookstores in early 1994.

SOURCE CODE    [Toc]    [Back]

     The Inventor Toolkit includes source code to NUMEROUS programs and

FILES    [Toc]    [Back]

     /usr/share/data/models/* -	Sample 3D data files
     /usr/share/src/Inventor/* - Source	to Inventor samples and	examples

SEE ALSO    [Toc]    [Back]

     drop, gview, SceneViewer, ivcat, ivview, maze, noodle, qmorf, revo,
     showcase, textomatic, webspace

Page 2				 Release 6.5			   August 1991
[ Back ]
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