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3D graphics have become so popular, particularly in video games, that specialized APIs (application programming interfaces) have been created to ease the processes in all stages of computer graphics generation. These APIs have also proved vital to computer graphics hardware manufacturers, as they provide a way for programmers to access the hardware in an abstract way, while still taking advantage of the special hardware of any specific graphics card.

The first 3D graphics framework was probably Core, published by the ACM in 1977.

Low-level 3D API[edit]

These APIs for 3D computer graphics are particularly popular:

Web-based API[edit]

  • Stage3D in the low-level 3D library in Flash version 11 and thereafter, somewhat similar to WebGL
  • WebGL is a JavaScript interface for OpenGL-ES-2.x API, promoted by Khronos. This is gaining more interest recently, as this enables applications to use native graphics.

High-level 3D API[edit]

There are also higher-level 3D scene-graph APIs which provide additional functionality on top of the lower-level rendering API. Such libraries under active development include:

JavaScript-based engines[edit]

There is more interest in web browser based high-level API for 3D graphics engines. Some are:

Flash-based engines[edit]

3D engines have been developed on the Adobe Flash platform to run in web browsers.

See also[edit]

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