Mesh Viewer

[ Description | 3D formats | Requirements | Screenshots | Example models | Downloads | Contact ]

The latest version is mview-0.3.3


The Mesh Viewer is an easy to use lightweight application for displaying three dimensional models (triangular meshes) from a variety of file formats. It uses OpenGL to render the models.

The program was born under the need for quickly displaying reconstructed triangulated meshes. The Mesh Viewer is based on an idea and an early elementary implementation from Craig Robertson. The current version has been developed by Helmut Cantzler and various contributors.

Triangular meshes can be displayed texture mapped (optional with bilinear filtering), solid or as a wire frame (all lines or just the front lines). The surface normals of the triangles can be displayed optionally. Loaded models can be rotated, translated and scaled (all done with the mouse). The model is lighted by multiple light sources. Viewpoints can be saved. Screenshots of the model can be taken.

Supported 3D formats

Mesh Viewer supports the following 3D file formats:

A short description of the features and capabilities of some of the supported 3D formats can be found here.


Mesh Viewer should compile and run under all Unix derivatives and Microsoft Windows. It was tested under Linux, Windows XP and Solaris.

Mesh Viewer requires a 3-button mouse (or emulation) in order to rotate (left button), translate (middle button) and zoom (right button) the model. It is recommended to use a 3D acceleration graphics card for displaying models. This is specially important for displaying models with texture. Linux on i386 with nVidia 3D acceleration cards (nVidia driver needed) is supposed to work fine.

Mesh Viewer requires an OpenGL library and a GUI library for displaying and interacting with the OpenGL module. Mesh Viewer can be built with the following three GUI libraries:

Qt 3

Qt 3 is an open-source cross-platform application development library. It is one of the cornerstones of the popular KDE 3 desktop environment. Qt 3 should be part of most recent Linux distributions. An unofficial GPL port of Qt 3 for MS Windows with the name Q../Free can be found here.

Qt 4

Qt 4 is the next major release of the application development library. It will become the base library of the newly developed KDE 4. Mesh Viewer requires Qt 4.1 or higher. Qt 4 is available from the download section of the Trolltech web site for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.


GLUT provides a simple graphical user interface for OpenGL programs. Most users should use the Qt 3/Qt 4 libraries, since they provide a much more feature rich user interface. It is recommended to not use the original GLUT package, but the more up-to-date freeglut package. The GLUT frontend requires LibJpeg 6 for texture image loading.

Building instructions for Linux and MS Windows can be found here.

Arenberg castle
Stanford bunny
Example 3D models (574KB)

This is a textured 3D model of an Indian totem. The model was reconstructed by NRC Institute for Information Technology in Canada. (616KB)

This is a textured 3D model of an miniature model of Big Ben (bell of the Palace of Westminster in London). The model was reconstructed by Toby Breckon. (600KB)

This a destimated version of the Stanford bunny. The model was reconstructed by the Stanford Computer Graphics Laboratory.

Additional example models can be found here:

Mesh Viewer is distributed under the terms of the LGPL. The changelog can be found here.

Source code

mview-src-0.3.3.tar.gz (360KB)

MS Windows executables

QT 3 Version: (2.6MB)

QT 4 Version: (4.0MB)

(the Qt libraries are included in the respective packages)

The project has a CVS repository, which can be examined via a web-based CVS repository viewer or checked out through anonymous (pserver) CVS with the following instruction set. When prompted for a password for anonymous, simply press the Enter key.

cvs login
cvs -z3 co -P mview


Comments, suggestions or bugs can be sent to Helmut Cantzler < cantzler at gmx dot net > or Toby Breckon < toby dot breckon at cranfield dot ac dot uk >