|Stable release||1.5.2 / 2008|
|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 atop either OpenGL or Direct3D. Since version 1.2, Java 3D has been developed under the Java Community Process. A Java 3D scene graph is a directed acyclic graph (DAG).
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 true object-oriented approach. 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 Java Development Kit (JDK).
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. The first version was released in 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.
- Multithreaded scene graph structure
- Generic Real-time API, usable for both visualization and gaming
- Support for retained, compiled-retained, and immediate mode rendering
- Includes hardware-accelerated JOGL, OpenGL and Direct3D renderers (depending on platform)
- Sophisticated virtual-reality-based view model with support for stereoscopic rendering and complex multi-display configurations
- Native support for head-mounted display
- CAVE (multiple screen projectors)
- 3D spatial sound
- Programmable shaders, supporting both GLSL and CG
- Stencil buffer
- Importers for most mainstream formats, like 3DS, OBJ, VRML, X3D, NWN, and FLT
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:
- jMonkey Engine
In addition to those, many other C or C++ scene graph APIs offer Java support through JNI.
See also 
- Project Looking Glass (Experimental 3D Desktop using Java 3D)
- Project Wonderland (Virtual workspace environment using Java 3D and Project Darkstar)
- J3DFly (Experimental Scene Graph editor for Java 3D)
- Current releases (Java 3D 1.6)
- Previous official site and releases
- JSR 926 (Java 3D 1.5), JSR 912 (Java 3D 1.3)
- Current forum (Java 3D 1.6)
- Previous forum and Wiki for Java 3D. - Places for collaboration; includes lists of books and users, faq and knowledge base
- java3d.org. Tutorial, examples and information
- OpenGL.J3D Java 3D Tutorials
- Lecture. - From Siggraph for beginners
- Game Programming ,  in Java 3D (chapters as pdf-files and sourcecode)
- Plugin for Eclipse hosted by SourceForge
- Example visualisation applets using Java 3D
- EMAP, The e-Mouse Atlas Project. - A 3D anatomical structure explorer with embedded 2D section made by Guangjie Feng.