3d support in linux


There aren’t many 3d application can run on Linux.

I like to know, in programmer’s perspective, why deosn’t 3d have better support in Linux yet?

Isn’t opengl supported in linux?
Is it a hardware limitation?
Is it a kernel limitation?

For example, I know there is a GIMP for linux, probably matching the quality of PS in windows. But in 3d area, there isn’t any app matching like maya, max, lightwave, even the new comer cinema4d.

When are we seeing this happening?

In another word, what is the opportunity to develop 3d app in linux?
could it be develop better kernel to have 3d (opengl) support? could it be writting core 3d engine on top of the kernel?

Please share your knowledge and experience.



XSI, Houdini, LW and I believe maya is available for linux.


Maya and Houdini are available for Linux. The rendering engine for Lightwave is too. I believe XSI is also available. There are also some free 3D apps available for Linux (Wings3D, Blender, Aqsis, Pixie, K3D (though K3D doesn’t look production worthy yet)).

The areas where Linux is currently lacking as far as 3D production are concerned are as follows:

*) No good frame scrubber
*) Audio support is a bit flakey, though better in the 2.6 kernel
*) No good editing solution
*) Available compositors are really expensive.
*) Creating movie files from sequences of still images is a bit clunky.
*) GIMP is annoying to anyone who has used Photoshop extensively before. Crossover Office can be used to run Photoshop under emulation though.
*) ZBrush and 3D paint programs aren’t really available under Linux.

There aren’t any limitations in Linux that prevent 3D apps from being developed for Linux. The biggest thing holding companies back from porting to Linux is that the customer base is pretty small compared to Windows, and they might not make back their porting costs in Linux sales. In time this will likely change.

If you wanted to do 3D production under Linux now, you could. Many movie studios are doing so right now. They just have to write their own software to fill in the missing gaps, or use another platform for certain parts of the pipeline where a good Linux solution doesn’t present itself.

Michael Duffy


Thanks guys for the inputs.

MDuffy, excellent reply, very informative. :slight_smile:

How do they develop 3d app for Linux? it is a broad question, but can anyone give me a general concept? Is there anything built in for use in the kernel, or someone has already written the core library? Could you give me some concept, and I will go from there.


…pretty much the same way they write apps for windows. Except instead of the win32 libraries they’ll use X and a windowing toolkit like motif.




If you’re brave why don’t you look into editing the source code for Blender to see the ins and outs of a 3d program. For linux Blender is a great choice since the new version has improved ten fold over the previous builds. Depending on your price range there are great apps already ported as stated above…if you’re looking for highend go for Maya or XSI but Blender is free and can produce amazing pics/animations too. Here’s the link for the source code if you’re interested: http://www.blender3d.org/cms/Source_Code.12.0.html


exactly what i am looking for. I will do the code digging. thanks, that is why i asked. hahahah


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