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Chapter 12. JAVA 3D FUNDAMENTALS > Scene Graph Basics

Scene Graph Basics

Java 3D is a high-level scene graph programming model similar to that of VRML. Scene graphs are treelike data structures that are used to store, organize, and render 3D scene information such as objects, materials, appearances, lights, and other aspects of a scene. Together the elements of a Java 3D scene graph define a virtual universe, which is analogous to a VRML world. Like VRML (and other scene graph programming models), Java 3D scene graphs are made up of objects called nodes (see Chapter 5, "VRML Fundamentals" ). Nodes, in turn, contain fields that the programmer manipulates in order to set or change various properties of the node.

Although Java 3D and VRML are similar in that they are both based on a scene graph programming model, Java 3D scene graphs are more difficult to construct. Generally speaking, developers must first be proficient in Java before they can program Java 3D scene graphs (see Chapter 11, "Java 3D Overview" ). Assuming that a developer has experience programming in Java, he can then use the Java 3D API to construct Java 3D scene graphs. VRML, by comparison, is a relatively simple language that requires no previous programming skill. As such, the learning curve for VRML isn't nearly as steep as it is for Java 3D (nor is VRML as capable when it comes to creating complex 3D applications).


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