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Graphics 3D, Rendering, Animation, and Physics

Posted 11 years ago
The obvious question when dealing with graphics3D is why can't I just render it with shadows, or gravity, or the general functionality of a 3D modelling program. It seems as though we have to individually reprogram whichever bit of maya's, or blender's rendering options we want to include. Now my interpretation of MM is that its attempting to be as self contained as possible, and when that's done it has the ability to export the finished ~product~ into a useful format.

So I'm left with a few questions.
1. Is Mathematica going to be flushed out with additional Graphics3D functions to include more advanced rendering styles, raytracing, and its subsequent complexities!
2. Is Mathematica going to be able to connect to a program like maya and externally use its functions?
3. Are we expected to not want lots of options inside our graphics and thus be content to export the geometry to our favorite place of residence for processing of whatever intermidiate data we have obtained before re-importing it into mathematica?

Or am I simply misunderstanding something along the way.
POSTED BY: Russell Hart
Posted 11 years ago
Hi Russel.

Of course it wold be nice if Mathematica would serve as a replacement for CAD- and raytracing tools like Maya etc. But I don't think that this is the intention of Mathematica.

On one side, Mathematica is surely about presenting data - but it's strength is not so much "photorealism" but speed, accuracy and flexibility in the presentation of any kind of data - and not just geometric modelling data.
I think the capabilities of mathematicas 3D-Presentetions are more or less restricted to the capabilities of the GPU (or the graphics drivers respectiveley - e.g. OpenGL). This provides a good graphics performance without slowing down the CPU.

In fact, mathematica is even a bit weak for geometric modeling - it does for example not even provide boolean operators for geometric 3D-primitives like spheres and polyhedra - i really miss that functionality, and it's not that trivial to implement it in Mathematica.

I think the typical use of Mathematica for rendering/animation purposes is to use it as a prototyping-tool. You can work out and modify the geometry fast and flexible within mathematica and export it for use within your rendering tools or directly within your Applications.

The other way around makes sense as well: 
Build and render objects in your preferred construction/raytracing tool and export the geometric data to Mathematica e.g. for stress/structural/material analysis, mathematical transformations etc.

Though, I would not mind to have a fast raytracer packed within mathematica...
POSTED BY: Markus Schopfer
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