1. What This Book Contains

This book describes how to write applications using the Open Inventor toolkit. The Open Inventor Toolmaker, a companion book for the advanced programmer, describes how to create new Open Inventor classes and how to customize existing classes.

The Inventor Mentor - Volume I contains the following sets of chapters:

Getting Started:

  • Chapter 1, Overview provides a general description of Open Inventor concepts and classes and how Inventor relates to OpenGL and the X Window System.

  • Chapter 2, An Inventor Sampler presents a short program that creates a simple object. This program is then modified to show the use of important Inventor objects: engines, manipulators, and components.

Building a Scene Graph:

  • Chapter 3, Nodes and Groups introduces the concept of a scene graph and shows how to create nodes and combine them into different kinds of groups.

  • Chapter 4, Cameras and Lights describes the camera nodes used to view a scene and the light nodes that provide illumination.

  • Chapter 5, Shapes, Properties, and Binding describes how to create both simple and complex shapes and how to use property nodes, including material, draw style, and lighting model nodes. Binding materials and surface normals to shape nodes is also explained.

More About Nodes:

Using a Scene Graph:

  • Chapter 8, Applying Actions describes how operations are applied to an Inventor scene graph. Actions include OpenGL rendering, picking, calculating a bounding box, calculating a transformation matrix, writing to a file, and searching the scene graph for certain types of nodes.

  • Chapter 9, Rendering Features describes some rendering techniques such as transparency, antialiasing, shadowing or bump mapping.

  • Chapter 10, Handling Events and Selection explains how Inventor receives events from the window system. It also describes how the selection node manages a selection list and performs highlighting.

  • Chapter 11, Touch and Gesture Events explains how Inventor receives and translate touch events from the window system. It also describes how touch events are managed and processed.

  • Chapter 12, Importing data describes Open Inventor's interchange file format, used for reading files into Inventor, writing files out from Inventor, and data exchanges such as copy and paste.

  • Chapter 13, Exporting Data describes how to write data as an image, as a video, as a scene graph or as HTML.

Applications Tools:

  • Chapter 14, Sensors describes how Inventor sensors watch for certain types of events and invoke user-supplied callback functions when these events occur.

  • Chapter 16, Node Kits introduces node kits, a convenient mechanism for creating groups of related Inventor nodes. Each node kit contains a catalog of nodes from which you select the desired nodes.

  • Chapter 17, Draggers and Manipulators describes how to use draggers and manipulators, which are special objects in the scene graph that respond to user events. Manipulators are nodes with field values that can be edited directly by the user.

Using the Toolkit with Other Libraries:

Miscellaneous:

There is one appendix: