Class SoText3

  • All Implemented Interfaces:

    public class SoText3
    extends SoShape
    3D text shape node. This node defines one or more strings of 3D text. In contrast with SoText2, 3D text can be rotated, scaled, lighted, and textured like all other 3D shapes.

    Optionally (setting the parts field) each character in a 3D text string may be a true three dimensional object. This shape is created by extruding an outlined version of the character (in the current typeface) along the current profile, as defined by nodes derived from SoProfile. The default text profile, if none is specified, is a straight line segment one unit long.

    The text position is always at the local origin (0,0,0). A transform node, e.g. SoTranslation, must be used to position the text in 3D space.

    The text is always rendered in its local XY plane. A transform node, e.g. SoRotation, may be used to rotate the text plane in 3D space.

    Text supports both single byte Latin1 (ISO8859-1) characters and multi-byte UNICODE characters. ISO8859-1 is an 8-bit character set which is a superset of the older 7-bit ASCII character set. See the String class for more information.


    The typeface and size (default = 10) are specified using an SoFont node. The scale factor, if any, in the current transform is applied to this size.

    3D text characters may be rendered using lines, polygons or textured rectangles depending on settings in the SoFont node. Textured rendering is recommended. It generally has the best performance (minimum geometry) and the best image quality (because antialiasing is applied).

    • Line rendering is selected by specifying a "stroke font" name in the SoFont name field. In this case line attributes apply instead of polygon attributes and text is not extruded.
    • Polygon rendering is selected by setting the SoFont renderStyle field to POLYGON (the default) or POLYGON_AND_OUTLINE.
    • Textured quad rendering is selected by setting the SoFont renderStyle field is set to TEXTURE or TEXTURE_DELAYED.

    Rendering styles: Additional styles can be applied using an SoTextProperty node, including underline, strikethrough, background and background outline.

    Complexity: The quality (degree of tesselation) of SoText3 line and polygon rendering depends on the SoComplexity node's value field. The quality of SoText3 textured rendering depends on the SoComplexity node's value and textureQuality fields, plus the SoTextProperty node's textureQualityRange field. If there is no SoComplexity the textureQuality is 1. See SoFont for more discussion.

    Material: SoText3 uses the current set of materials when rendering. If the material binding is OVERALL, then the whole text is drawn with the first material. If it is PER_PART or PER_PART_INDEXED, the front part of the text is drawn with the first material, the sides with the second, and the back with the third.

    Lighting: By default lighting is only computed for the "front" face of geometry, including SoText3, meaning that the back face of the text will be black when lighting is enabled. To illuminate both sides, enable "two sided" lighting using the SoShapeHints node's vertexOrdering field. But note that, unlike most geometry, you should set the vertexOrdering field to CLOCKWISE, not COUNTERCLOCKWISE.

    Texture: Textures are applied to 3D text as follows. On the front and back faces of the text, the texture origin is at the base point of the first string; the base point is at the lower left for justification LEFT, at the lower right for RIGHT, and at the lower center for CENTER. The texture is scaled equally in both S and T dimensions, with the font height representing 1 unit. S increases to the right on the front faces and to the left on the back faces. On the sides, the texture is scaled the same as on the front and back. S is equal to 0 at the rear edge of the side faces. The T origin can occur anywhere along each character, depending on how that character's outline is defined.

    Performance: A scene graph containing a large number of SoText3 nodes will generally have much better rendering performance using a text specific caching mechanism called accumulation rendering mode. However some features are not available and significant time may be required to build (or rebuild) this cache. See the SoTextProperty node enableTextAccumulation field for more information.


    Horizontal alignment of the text can be specified using the justification field. Both horizontal and vertical alignment can be controlled using an SoTextProperty node, however the justification setting in this node overrides the horizontal setting unless the justification field is set to INHERITED.


    Text can be picked (SoRayPickAction) like any other geometry. If a text node has been picked then SoPickedPoint can return an SoTextDetail object. This object contains information about which string (in a multi-string text node) was picked and which character within the string was picked.

    Shape Antialiasing type is SoShape.TEXT.

    File format/default:

    Text3 {

      string ""
      spacing 1
      justification LEFT
      parts FRONT

    Action behavior:

    Draws text based on the current font, profiles, transformation, drawing style, material, texture, complexity, and so on.

    Performs a pick on the text. The string index and character position are available from the SoTextDetail.

    Computes the bounding box that encloses the text.

    For non-stroke fonts,if any triangle callbacks are registered with the action, they will be invoked for each successive triangle used to approximate the text geometry.

    For stroke fonts, if any line segment callbacks are registered with the action, they will be invoked for each successive line segment used to approximate the text geometry.

    See Also:
    SoComplexity, SoFont, SoFullSceneAntialiasing, SoProfile, SoText2, SoTextDetail, SoTextProperty
    • Field Detail

      • string

        public final SoMFString string
        The text string(s) to display. Each string will appear on its own line.
      • spacing

        public final SoSFFloat spacing
        Defines the distance (in the negative y direction) between the base points of successive strings, measured with respect to the current font height. A value of 1 indicates single spacing, a value of 2 indicates double spacing, and so on.
      • parts

        public final SoSFBitMask<SoText3.PartType> parts
        Which parts of text are visible. Note that, for speed, the default for this field is FRONT only.
      • justification

        public final SoSFEnum<SoText3.Justifications> justification
        Indicates placement and alignment of strings. With LEFT justification, the left edge of the first line is at the (transformed) origin, and all left edges are aligned. RIGHT justification is similar. CENTER justification places the center of the first string at the (transformed) origin, with the centers of all remaining strings aligned under it. Use enum Justification. Default is LEFT.
    • Constructor Detail

      • SoText3

        public SoText3()
        Creates a 3D text node with default settings.