This is kind of an odd question, but what would be the best solution for rendering a 3D scene without a render window active? The end goal would be to simply render a 3D scene to an image file.
I have done similar things in the past with DirectX and XNA but both required me to have a render window running in-order for the API to initialize. Is there a way to render directly to a texture so that you could perform the rendering with a DLL file in other desktop applications?
The way I envision it working is you create a self contained DLL which has all the rendering logic, a user is using a standard windows application to customize his parameters, once he has them locked he sends a render request to the DLL and it responds with a PNG file of the rendered scene. Ideally this would be a CPU based render since performance is not a huge issue.
Are there APIs out there which one could use to accomplish this?