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ShapeNet Model Viewer and Renderer

This Java+Scala code was used to render the ShapeNet model screenshots and thumbnails. It can handle loading of OBJ+MTL, COLLADA DAE, KMZ, and PLY format 3D meshes.

This is a realtime OpenGL-based renderer. If you would like to use a raytracing framework for rendering, then a fork of the Mitsuba renderer has been created by Jian Shi to handle ShapeNet models.


Java JDK 1.8 is required. Make sure the JDK paths are added to the system path. Please also ensure that the following commands are in your path: java, make, wget.

For compilation on Linux, just run make.

Running the ShapeNet Viewer

Main class:

Set WORK_DIR (where output screenshots are saved) and SHAPENET_VIEWER_DIR (to shapenet-viewer checkout) as needed.

Run scripts/ to start the viewer. Look in config/viewer.conf for general settings and config/screenshots.conf for screenshot generation settings used for ShapeNet thumbnails.

Once the viewer has started, press F1 to bring up the help screen, and F4 to bring up the command console. The help command can give you an overview, and tab completion is a good way to get a feel for all available options.

Before you use the viewer you must register a local copy of ShapeNetCore by specifying the path to the root directory of the extracted ShapeNetCore archive using:

  register shapeNetCore <path>

After registering the path to your local ShapeNet, you can display models by running one of the following commands:

  load model <modelId>
  load model 3dw.1a04e3eab45ca15dd86060f189eb133
  load model random
  load model random 3dw chair

Note that the bicycle synset comes from yobi3d, and to display a model from the bicycle synset you would do

  load model yobi3d.0Ap5HKn9y3
  load model random yobi3d bicycle

We do not currently have textures for the yobi3d models.

You can also load models directly from the file system or the web using

  load model <filepath>
  load model <url>

You can save screenshots for the currently loaded model using:

  save model screenshots

Or you can start a batch process to render all screenshots using:

  save model screenshots all 3dw <category>

where <category> can optionally specify a specific category subset (e.g., chair).

All screenshots are saved to $WORK_DIR/screenshots/models or $WORK_DIR/screenshots/modelsByCategory/<category> if the category specifier was used. If you want to manually specify the base output directory for screenshots use the command:

  set modelScreenshotDir <path>

Any following save model screenshots commands will save files under the given path.

Ordering of models rendered in a batch is randomized by default, and existing screenshots are not re-rendered (so it is safe to restart the process without regnerating existing screenshots). A few important parameters that control the screenshot rendering are given below (along with their default values). These can be set using the command set <paramName> <value> or by adding viewer.<paramName> = <value> to the .conf file:

  • nImagesPerModel = 8 : how many equally-spaced turntable positions (increments of the camera azimuth angle) to render
  • cameraAngleFromHorizontal = 30 : camera elevation in degrees from horizontal (ground) plane
  • includeCanonicalViews = true : whether to render top, bottom, left, right, front and back views in addition to turntable views
  • cameraPositionStrategy = fit : options are distance (set camera distance from closest object bounding box edge to be equal to modelDistanceScale * maxModelDimension) or fit (translate camera so that model fits within frame) or distance_to_centroid (set camera distance from object centroid to be equal to modelDistanceScale * maxModelDimension)
  • addFloor = false : whether a floor plane should be added below the model

The viewer caches loaded models in memory so if you modify a model and would like to reload it from disk, use the clear cache command.

If you would like to switch to loading KMZ models from the ShapeNet web server to compare with the OBJ+MTL models, use the command set loadFormat kmz (and set loadFormat obj to revert to default local loading). The ShapeNet website thumbnails were all rendered from the KMZ format models.


You can also register a local copy of ShapeNetSem by specifying the path to the root directory containing all downloaded and extracted ShapeNetSem files:

  register shapeNetSem <path>

The directory structure of ShapeNetSem should look something like this:


You can display ShapeNetSem models using the wss prefix.

  load model wss.1a4216ac5ffbf1e89c7ce4b816b39bd0
  load model random wss chair

Batch Rendering with the ShapeNet Viewer

The viewer can take in scripts in a given .conf file to perform batch rendering tasks. See the examples in the conf directory, and particulary the batch-render-example.conf file.


Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the viewer framework. Issue reports or pull requests with improvements are welcome! If you use this framework in your research please cite the ShapeNet report.