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Parametrized rendering

Posted: September 21, 2010
I'm about to create an application (Java/C/C++/???, running on server side) that will do a "parametrized rendering".

It will take:
- a basic 3D model
- one or more textures that will be applied to specified parts of the basic model
- one or more sub-models that will be added to specified positions of the basic model
(these parts and positions should be somehow defined in the basic model)

and generate 2D image of the result.

Now my questions:
a) can you recommend me a introductory book for 3D modeling and rendering?
b) what format to use for 3D model (so that it enables to programmatically change the model according to parameters mentioned above)?
c) what sw tools are suitable for it?

Thanks for any hint