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3DMOL - A note from the authors

Three dimensional molecule representation

The following four articles form the report for my 13th grade school project (2001) in chemistry, mathematics and computer science. A friend (Guillaume Alain) and I (Jason Kealey) wanted to understand how 3D engines on computers worked. That is why we created 3DMOL, a 3D molecule representation software; we wanted to understand and be able to use the basic mathematics behind any 3D engine. Because this was a school project for our chemistry course, we needed to respect certain criteria and talk about subjects that you might find to be trivial. However, this report was to be read and corrected by a computer illiterate teacher and that is why it was written to allow people without any computer programming knowledge to understand the general concepts of a 3D engine. In fact, in the original report, we did not talk much about the actual programming aspect of the software. Here, on the web, we have added a few C++ source code examples to enhance the document for people who can program in this language.

To understand the basic concepts of a 3D engine, you only need to read the third article of this five part series. However, to better understand the subject, the fourth article is essential: it presents the mathematical demonstrations for the equations used throughout the application. Please note that having studied vector algebra is almost a prerequisite to completely understand some of the demonstrations that are presented in the article. We still recommend reading the next article and the last one because they are the report's introduction and conclusion.

For those who wish to know more about coding their own 3D engine, we invite you to download 3dmol's source code and analyze it. If you have any specific questions about the application, don't hesitate to contact us.

A note from the authors - Introduction - The application
The mathematics behind the project. - Discussion

( 2001-05-24 )  

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