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       Inventor - a toolkit for writing 3D programs


       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 data-
       centered objects such as Sphere, Camera, Material, Light, and Group, to
       high-level  application-level  objects such as Walk 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.

       Note that the  rendering  mechanism  inside  Inventor  objects  employs
       OpenGL.   Thus,  during  rendering  each object automatically makes the
       proper, efficient calls to  OpenGL.   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  variety 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.


       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.


       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


       A list of online documentation is available in the General FAQ  section
       of the web site provided at the end of this man page.


       The  Inventor  Toolkit  includes  source  code to NUMEROUS programs and


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