The File menu

The File menu contains a number of commands to save and open disk files. Since there does not seem to be any document associated with 3D-XplorMath, this may seem surprising at first. What is there to save?

One answer is "the complete state of the program at a given moment". For example, if you have worked hard entering some complicated expressions to define a User object, then found an interesting set of parameters for it and a good ViewPoint from which to observe it, and a good way to Morph it, or a good axis about which to rotate it, choosing Save Settings... from the File menu will create a disk file on which all that information (and much, much more) is recorded. Then, at any later time, you can choose Open Settings... from the File menu to open that file and restore the program to exactly the same state as when you did the Save... command. You can also give the file to friends who have 3D-XplorMath for them to see your creation. The file is very small---only a couple of kilobytes, so you can easily send them as an email attachment.This kind of file is called a Settings file, and is usually kept in the Settings Folder, in the same Folder with 3D-XplorMath.

The program is also able to open a second kind of file, called a Grand Tour file, and kept in a Grand Tour folder. These are created at the end of a Grand Tour and are opened from the Grand Tour menu. A Grand Tour file is also an ASCII file, and consists of a Settings file with the itinerary of the Grand Tour appended.

At any time you can save the contents of the Graphics Window to a disk file by choosing Save Window as... from the File menu.

After you create an animation filmstrip, you can save it to the disk as a QuickTime movie by choosing Save Animation as Movie... from the File menu. One reason to do this is that a QuickTime movie starts up almost instantaneously, while it can take several minutes to recreate a complex animation. Another reason is that it is easy (say with Movie Player) to convert a QuickTime movie into a format that can be played back on UNIX machines and Windows machines.

There is also an item Open Movie... in the file menu that provides a primitive movie player. This is not meant as a replacement for a full-fledged movie player, but rather to give the user a convenient way to preview movies created from animations as above.

Two recent additions to the file menu are Save Surface Data... and Read Surface Data.... These create and read so-called Surface Data files, an interchange format for mathematical surfaces that permits surfaces to be created in 3D-XplorMath or MATLAB, and then be read in and displayed by the other, or by the ray tracing program POVRay. (There is a conversion program written by Christophe Favergeon Borgialli that converts Surface Data files to POVRay files.)

The files in this folder are so-called Surface Data files.This is an interchange format to allow surfaces that are created in 3D-XplorMath and MATLAB to be used in the other program as well, and also in the ray tracing program POVRay. They can be created in 3D-XplorMath, by selecting the Save Surface Data... item of the file menu, or by MATLAB using the SurfWrite M-File (in the MATLAB M-Files folder). They can be used in 3D-XplorMath by selecting the Read Surface Data... item, and they can be used inMATLAB by using the plotmysurface or wireframesurface M-Files in the MATLAB M-Files folder. They can be used in POVRay by first converting them to a POVRay file using the 3dfs2POVRAY conversion program in the 3dfs2pov folder and then using it in conjunction with the POVRay file POVRay Renderer also in that folder (see the ReadMe there for details). The idea of interfacing 3D-XplorMath and POVRay came from Christophe Favergeon Borgialli, who wrote both 3dfs2POVRAY and the POVRay Renderer file.

To use Christophe's software, you will first need a get copy of POVRay for the Macintosh. It is available at no cost from: Here is how to start using Christophe's programs. First create a Surface Data file using either 3D-XplorMath or MATLAB (see the ReadMe file in the Surface Data folder to see how to do this). You can also use one of the Surface Data files already in the Surface Data folder. Start up 3dfs2POVRAY Converter and choose Convert 3dfs file... from the file menu. In the findfile dialog, choose the Surface Data file you want to use with POVRay, and save the converted file with the name MySurf in the same folder with 3dfs2POVRAY Converter and the file POVRay Renderer. Then double-click POVRay Renderer, and when POVRay starts up, choose Start Rendering from the Render menu. There is much, much more you can do, but this should get you started.


Documentation Table Of Contents.
Documentation Index.