Java 3D

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Java 3D
Developer(s) Sun Microsystems
Stable release 1.5.2 / xx xxxx, 2008
Operating system Cross-platform
Type 3D computer graphics software (library/API)
License GPL version 2+GPL linking exception

Java 3D is a scene graph-based 3D application programming interface (API) for the Java platform. It runs on top of either OpenGL or Direct3D. Since version 1.2, Java 3D has been developed under the Java Community Process.

Compared to other solutions, Java 3D is not only a wrapper around these graphics APIs, but an interface that encapsulates the graphics programming using a real, object-oriented concept. Here a scene is constructed using a scene graph that is a representation of the objects that have to be shown. This scene graph is structured as a tree containing several elements that are necessary to display the objects. Additionally, Java 3D offers extensive spatialized sound support.

Java 3D and its documentation are available for download separately. They are not part of the JDK 6.



  • Intel, Silicon Graphics, Apple, and Sun all had retained mode scene graph APIs under development in 1996. Since they all wanted to make a Java version, they decided to collaborate in making it. That project became Java 3D.
  • Development was underway already in 1997.
  • A public beta version was released in March 1998.
  • First version released December 1998.
  • From mid-2003 through summer 2004, the development of Java 3D was discontinued.
  • In the summer of 2004 Java 3D was released as a community source project, and Sun and volunteers have since been continuing its development.
  • In January 29, 2008, it was announced that improvements to Java 3D would be put on hold to focus efforts on integrating support for it with JavaFX to complement JavaFX's 2D scenegraph[1].

Since February 28, 2008, the entire Java 3D source code is released under the GPL version 2 license with GPL linking exception[2].


A Screenshot of work drawn with Java 3D

Competing technologies

Java 3D is not the only high-level API option to render 3D in Java. In part due to the pause in development during 2003 and 2004, several competing Java scene graph technologies emerged:

General purpose:



In addition to those, many other C or C++ scene graph APIs offer Java support through JNI.

At a lower level, the JOGL (JSR 231) OpenGL bindings for Java are a popular alternative to scene graph APIs such as Java 3D.

See also


External links

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