This creates a new subscene, or selects one by id value, or adds objects to one.

newSubscene3d(viewport = "replace", 
              projection = "replace", 
              model = "replace",
              mouseMode = "inherit", 
              parent = currentSubscene3d(), 
              copyLights = TRUE, 
              copyShapes = FALSE, 
              copyBBoxDeco = copyShapes, 
              copyBackground = FALSE, newviewport,
currentSubscene3d(dev = cur3d())
addToSubscene3d(ids = tagged3d(tags), tags, subscene = currentSubscene3d())
delFromSubscene3d(ids = tagged3d(tags), tags, subscene = currentSubscene3d())
gc3d(protect = NULL)


viewport, projection, model, mouseMode

How should the new subscene be embedded? Possible values are c("inherit", "modify", "replace"). See Details below.


The parent subscene (defaults to the current subscene).

copyLights, copyShapes, copyBBoxDeco, copyBackground

Whether lights, shapes, bounding box decorations and background should be copied to the new subscene.


Optionally specify the new subscene's viewport (in pixels).


Whether to ignore the subscene's bounding box when calculating the parent bounding box. Defaults to TRUE if model is not "inherit".


Which RGL device to query for the current subscene.


Which subscene to use or modify.


A vector of integer object ids to add to the subscene.


Alternate way to specify ids. Ignored if ids is given.


Object ids to protect from this garbage collection.


The rgl package allows multiple windows to be open; each one corresponds to a “scene”. Within each scene there are one or more “subscenes”. Each subscene corresponds to a rectangular region in the window, and may have its own projection, transformation and behaviour in response to the mouse.

There is always a current subscene: most graphic operations make changes there, e.g. by adding an object to it.

The scene “owns” objects; addToSubscene3d and delFromSubscene3d put their ids into or remove them from the list being displayed within a particular subscene. The gc3d function deletes objects from the scene if they are not visible in any subscene, unless they are protected by having their id included in protect.

The viewport, projection and model parameters each have three possible settings: c("inherit", "modify", "replace"). "inherit" means that the corresponding value from the parent subscene will be used. "replace" means that the new subscene will have its own value of the value, independent of its parent. "modify" means that the child value will be applied first, and then the parent value will be applied. For viewport, this means that if the parent viewport is changed, the child will maintain its relative position. For the two matrices, "modify" is unlikely to give satisfactory results, but it is available for possible use.

The mouseMode parameter can only be one of c("inherit", "replace"). If it is "inherit", the subscene will use the mouse controls of the parent, and any change to them will affect the parent and all children that inherit from it. This is the behaviour that was present before rgl version 0.100.13. If it is "replace", then it will receive a copy of the parent mouse controls, but modifications to them will affect only this subscene, not the parent. Note that this is orthogonal to the par3d("listeners") setting: if another subscene is listed as a listener, it will respond to mouse actions using the same mode as the one receiving them.

The viewport parameter controls the rectangular region in which the subscene is displayed. It is specified using newviewport (in pixels relative to the whole window), or set to match the parent viewport.

The projection parameter controls settings corresponding to the observer. These include the field of view and the zoom; they also include the position of the observer relative to the model. The par3d("projMatrix") matrix is determined by the projection.

The model parameter controls settings corresponding to the model. Mouse rotations affect the model, as does scaling. The par3d("modelMatrix") matrix is determined by these as well as by the position of the observer (since OpenGL assumes that the observer is at (0, 0, 0) after the MODELVIEW transformation). Only those parts concerning the model are inherited when model specifies inheritance, the observer setting is controlled by projection.

If copyBackground is TRUE, the background of the newly created child will overwrite anything displayed in the parent subscene, regardless of depth.


If successful, each function returns the object id of the subscene, with the exception of gc3d, which returns the count of objects which have been deleted, and useSubscene3d, which returns the previously active subscene id.


Duncan Murdoch and Fang He.

See also

subsceneInfo for information about a subscene, mfrow3d and layout3d to set up multiple panes of subscenes.


# Show the Earth with a cutout by using clipplanes in subscenes

lat <- matrix(seq(90, -90, length.out = 50)*pi/180, 50, 50, byrow = TRUE)
long <- matrix(seq(-180, 180, length.out = 50)*pi/180, 50, 50)

r <- 6378.1 # radius of Earth in km
x <- r*cos(lat)*cos(long)
y <- r*cos(lat)*sin(long)
z <- r*sin(lat)

obj <- surface3d(x, y, z, col = "white", 
       texture = system.file("textures/worldsmall.png", package = "rgl"), 
       specular = "black", axes = FALSE, box = FALSE, xlab = "", ylab = "", zlab = "",
       normal_x = x, normal_y = y, normal_z = z)
cols <- c(rep("chocolate4", 4), rep("burlywood1", 4), "darkgoldenrod1")
rs <- c(6350, 5639, 4928.5, 4207, 3486, 
                         (3486 + 2351)/2, 2351, (2351 + 1216)/2, 1216)
for (i in seq_along(rs)) 
  obj <- c(obj, spheres3d(0, 0, col = cols[i], radius = rs[i]))
root <- currentSubscene3d()

newSubscene3d("inherit", "inherit", "inherit", copyShapes = TRUE, parent = root)
clipplanes3d(1, 0, 0, 0)

newSubscene3d("inherit", "inherit", "inherit", copyShapes = TRUE, parent = root)
clipplanes3d(0, 1, 0, 0)

newSubscene3d("inherit", "inherit", "inherit", copyShapes = TRUE, parent = root)
clipplanes3d(0, 0, 1, 0)

# Now delete the objects from the root subscene, to reveal the clipping planes