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Scene Graphs

VRML content is developed using a scene graph programming model that was first popularized by Open Inventor (the SGI technology that VRML is built upon). Source code in a VRML file is organized into a scene graph data structure that holds each object description for a world and also describes the relationships that objects have with one another. Technically speaking, the VRML scene-graph structure is known as a directed acyclic graph (DAG) which means that a node in the directed parent-child relationship cannot be its own parent. In more general terms, a scene graph is simply a special type of data organization method used to describe 3D scenes, the objects they contain, and the characteristics of each object such as shape, size, color, and position in the scene.

Figure 5-1. VRML file contents are arranged according to hierarchical scene graph data structures to describe the relationship that objects in a world have to one another.



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