Puneet Varma (Editor)

HOOPS 3D Graphics System

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Platform  Cross-platform
Type  3D computer graphics
Website  http://developer.techsoft3d.com/

The HOOPS 3D Graphics System is a proprietary, closed source 3D graphics API designed for the engineering software industry. The HOOPS 3D Graphics System is now part of HOOPS Visualize, a high-level 3D graphics SDK. HOOPS Visualize is notable for its general purpose nature. For example, unlike a game engine, which is optimized for frame rate over a limited dataset, HOOPS Visualize attempts to provide a visually precise, interactive environment for a wide variety of datasets.


HOOPS Visualize supports common operations for engineering applications, such as precise selection, analytic hidden-line removal, dimensioning, and advanced rendering modes. Visualize focuses on rendering and interacting with 3D tessellated information, and does not provide solid-modeling functionality.

It is one of the longest-running APIs of its kind still under active development.


The HOOPS 3D Graphics System was originally developed in the mid-1980s in the CADIF Lab at Cornell University. Ithaca Software later formed to commercialize the technology. Subsequently, HOOPS was widely adopted for Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM ) and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) software.

In 1993, Autodesk, Inc. acquired Ithaca Software. In 1996, HOOPS was spun out of Autodesk by Tech Soft 3D, Inc., which continues to develop and sell the HOOPS 3D Graphics System under the name HOOPS Visualize. The software is made available free of charge to educational institutions.

Key Features and Capabilities

  • Retained-mode graphics system with a supporting database
  • Data is structured hierarchically in a scene graph
  • Able to use many different contexts for rendering, including DirectX, OpenGL, as well as software and hardcopy
  • Interfaces with C, C++, C#, and Java
  • Out-of-core rendering mode for visualizing large point-cloud datasets
  • Integrates with other engineering SDKs like ACIS, Parasolid, RealDWG, and HOOPS Exchange, as well as industry standard CAD formats
  • PMI support, mark-up, model trees, point clouds
  • Compatible with all major graphical user interfaces
  • Abstracted, platform independent input architecture
  • References

    HOOPS 3D Graphics System Wikipedia