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Java 3D

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Java 3D is a technology used for 3D visualization in Java. It is used by ImageJ’s 3D Viewer plugin, and hence transitively by other plugins which rely on the 3D Viewer for their visualization, such as TrakEM2 and Simple Neurite Tracer.

Status of Java 3D

The Java 3D project, originally developed at Sun (now Oracle), has been abandoned for several years in favor of JavaFX 3D. However, it has been adopted by the JogAmp community, and is now maintained there—though no longer under active development.

From the perspective of new features, Java 3D is essentially a dead technology. The future of 3D visualization in ImageJ is the sciview plugin. But it will be a lot of work to make sciview comparable to—and eventually better than—3D Viewer, so the ImageJ and Fiji teams are still exploring the best ways to proceed here.

Versions of Java 3D

Java 3D 1.5

The last version of Java 3D supported by Sun/Oracle was 1.5.2. It was packaged as an extension of Java, meaning it needed to be installed into your Java Runtime Environment, rather than shipped as a normal Java library.

It works with Java 6, but:

  • It has a restrictive license.
  • It does not work with Java 7 or 8 on macOS.
  • It does not work with Java 8 (or 7?) on some Windows systems.

The Java 6 version of ImageJ works with Java 3D 1.5.2, by launching the 3D Viewer and allowing it to automatically install Java 3D; see this page for further details.

Java 3D 1.6

Java 3D 1.6 is the community version maintained by JogAmp. It was rewritten to work on top of JOGL, and requires Java 7 or newer.

The Java 8 version of ImageJ includes Java 3D 1.6; see this page for further details.