What is Open Inventor?
Open Inventor is an object-oriented 3D toolkit offering a comprehensive solution to interactive graphics programming problems. It presents a programming model based on a 3D scene database that dramatically simplifies graphics programming. It includes a rich set of objects such as cubes, polygons, text, materials, cameras, lights, trackballs, handle boxes, 3D viewers, and editors that speed up your programming time and extend your 3D programming capabilities.
Who is it for?
Open Inventor is the de facto cross-platform standard for 3D graphics in manufacturing and entertainment. It is also strong in academic and research environments, where it is used to teach graphics concepts. Open sourcing Open Inventor will ensure that future generations of students will continue to be exposed to this unique SGI technology.
Why is SGI open-sourcing Open Inventor?
SGI has received numerous requests for a Linux version of Open Inventor. By open-sourcing this toolkit we are making it available on Linux and at the same time enabling this large and very active user community to study, understand and enhance Open Inventor. Earlier this year SGI released the source code of the OpenGL Sample Implementation to the open source community, clearing the way for high-quality OpenGL implementations on Linux. The release of Open Inventor further highlights SGI's commitment to providing hardware and software technologies that are relevant to graphics developers.
How does Open Inventor compare to OpenGL and OpenGL Performer?
Open Inventor is a toolkit at a higher level than OpenGL. Beginning graphics programmers who would find it difficult to write programs by manipulating down to the graphics primitive level of OpenGL, find they can quickly create 3D graphics applications using the Open Inventor Toolkit.
Open Inventor is designed for use in modelling and animation systems by providing a full-featured scene graph with easy X Window system integration and interactive graphics widgets. These qualities allow users to develop applications quickly.
OpenGL Performer is a scene-graph based 3D graphics rendering toolkit designed to extract maximum system performance for developers of real-time visual simulations, virtual reality, and other markets, which typically require higher performance and a fixed frame rate. These applications take advantage of transparent multi-processing, scene and load management, multi-pipe capabilities, and a high degree of optimization and realism offered by OpenGL Performer. The toolkit is available for IRIX and Linux systems.
What are the prerequisites for using Open Inventor?
Open Inventor assumes the user is familiar with basic concepts of 3D graphics programming. For example, it assumes the programmer has a reasonable understanding of the following terms: lighting, rendering, vertex, polygon, light source, picking, matrix, OpenGL, pixel, surface normal. In addition, some familiarity with concepts related to object-oriented programming is assumed.
How do I learn Open Inventor?
This guide provides basic information on programming with Open Inventor. It includes detailed program examples in C++ and describes key aspects of the Open Inventor toolkit, including its 3D scene database, node kits, interactive manipulators, the Inventor Component Library, which contains editors and viewers, and the Open Inventor file format.
The Inventor ToolMaker
Open Inventor C++ Reference Pages
Open Inventor 2.1 Porting and Performance Tips
Sample source code
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