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Appearance and Material

Visible Java 3D objects are typically created using the Shape3D node, which is analogous to VRML's Shape node. Like the Shape node, Shape3D allows developers to specify the form, or geometry, of a shape independent from its appearance. Appearance and Geometry are actually separate shape components that are referenced by the Shape3D node (see Figure 14-1). Because the geometric form of a shape is independent of its appearance, you can easily alter the look of a shape without concerning yourself with code that defines its shape. To customize the color or texture of a Java 3D shape you simply modify its Appearance component—or, more accurately, the shape's appearance "bundle."

Figure 14-1. Geometry and appearance components are stored independently of shapes. Shapes, therefore, are said to reference geometry and appearance components rather than contain them (as indicated by the dashed-arrow reference).



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