Hirsch et al.
 Geological Materials Research
 v.2, n.3

Notes on viewing 3D model files

Quick Instructions:

  1. Download and install QuickTime version 2.5 or greater. Be sure that QuickDraw3D is part of the installation, by choosing Custom installation. This installation will require a restart of your computer.
  2. Download and install the Quick3D plug-in. The plug-in is provided free, courtesy of Plastic Thought Studios. This installation will require a restart of your browser.

Detailed notes

Three dimensional model files contain information describing a set of graphical primitives that may include objects such as spheres, prisms, etc., as well as complex surfaces. They may be in text or binary format. These can be displayed interactively, allowing the user to rotate, zoom, move, or fly through the model. The file format is open, developed and defined by Apple Computer.

The technology used to view 3DMFs, QuickDraw3D, is part of Apple's Quicktime, available free for Windows and Macintosh. Version 2.5 or greater is required, and QuickDraw3D may need to be explicitly installed (it is not part of the default "Easy" install package on some versions). This supplies the underlying rendering technology.

For easy viewing from within a browser, we recommend the Quick3D plug-in, available courtesy of Plastic Thought Studios for Macintosh or Windows. This is a very small plug-in that calls upon QuickDraw3D to do the work.

Readers using browsers other than Netscape Navigator (version 4.0 or greater) or Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 4.0 or greater) are encouraged to use the offline viewing method for the 3D Model files due to inconsistencies in plugin behavior with older browser versions.

Off-line Viewing

For off-line viewing, download the full set of 3DMFs for all eleven models (Figs. 9-13, B4-B7, C1-C2). The files will be in a folder as a StuffIt Archive, which can be un-stuffed using the free StuffIt Expander, available for Macintosh and Windows.

There are various programs that can view both binary and text 3DMFs. One of the simplest is the Scrapbook utility program that comes with the Macintosh OS. Simply open the Scrapbook and drag the icon for a 3DMF file onto the Scrapbook window. For Windows systems, a 3DMF viewer is available free from Apple. Unzip the file and open the 3dMF file with the Viewer. Viewers for both Windows and Macintosh platforms are also available free from Quesa.

Copyright © 2000 by the Mineralogical Society of America