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Subject: comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing FAQ (part 1/2)
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:46 GMT
Posting-Frequency: every 30 days
Who knows others, is intelligent;
Who knows himself, insight has.
Who defeats others, force has;
Who defeats himself, strength has.
This is the comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQ) List. It's not the most definitive ray tracing
reference you'll ever come across, but then, it was never meant to be.
What it does set out to do is to answer some of the questions which
keep cropping up on c.g.r.r and to give pointers to other references.
It keeps the noise down on the group and we get to spend an extra 10
minutes in bed. This is a Good Thing.
It was originally cobbled together by Andy Wardley,
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, from answers posted to c.g.r.r (actually
from when it was c.g.r), from information people have supplied and from
other existing ray tracing lists and references, most notably, Eric
Haines' Ray Tracing News and other lists. Between 1995 and early spring
2000 Andreas Dilger maintained this FAQ. In March 2000 I started to
maintain this list.
You may distribute this document to whoever, or wherever you like, as
long as you keep the copyright message and give correct attributions
for material used. This is just to stop nasty people with a
substantial lack of moral fibre from taking the document and fobbing
it off as their own. The FAQ belongs to the group, Andy just wrote it.
The latest version of this FAQ is available via WWW at:
It is also available via anonymous ftp at:
If you only have email, you can get it by sending email to:
"send usenet/news.answers/graphics/raytrace-faq/part1" and
in the body of the message (without the quotes).
If you're only reading this document because your machine is locked
up tracing, remember that all things come to those who wait.
(C) Copyright 1994 Andy Wardley <abw@peritas demon co uk>
(C) Copyright 1995 - 1999 Andreas Dilger <adilger@enel ucalgary ca>
(C) Copyright 2000 Markus Kniebes <email@example.com>
Subject: Table of Contents
What is Ray Tracing?
1 - Ray Tracing Software
1.1 - POV-Ray
1.2 - Rayshade
1.3 - Radiance and ADELINE
1.4 - Blue Moon Rendering Tools (BMRT)
1.5 - Polyray
1.6 - Vivid (including BOB)
1.7 - Tachyon
1.8 - Others
1.9 - Non-Ray Tracing Software
2 - FTP Sites, Web Sites, Mailing Lists
2.1 - FTP and Web Sites
2.2 - Mailing Lists
3 - Modelling Software
3.1 - SCED
3.2 - POVLAB
3.3 - MORAY
3.4 - GUM
3.5 - Breeze Designer
3.6 - Other Modellers
4 - Utilities and Other Software
4.1 - Image Display/Conversion Programs
4.2 - Format Conversion Utilities
4.3 - Creation Creators
4.4 - Texture Editors
4.5 - Animation
4.6 - Miscellaneous Utilities
5 - Further Information and Resources
5.1 - On-line Resources
5.2 - Other Newsgroups
5.3 - Books
5.4 - Image Libraries
5.5 - Texture Libraries
5.6 - Internet Ray Tracing Competition
6 - Frequently Asked Questions
6.1 - "Can I post binaries/images to this group?"
6.2 - "Where can I find model data for..."
6.3 - "How can I view these pictures?"
6.4 - "What's the difference between rendering and ray tracing?"
6.5 - "This picture doesn't trace."
6.6 - "I traced my picture, but I can't see anything."
6.7 - "I traced my picture, but the output is garbage."
6.8 - "What does this mean..."
6.9 - "Rotating/Scaling this object doesn't work properly."
6.10 - "Why is the Z axis is pointing the wrong way?"
6.11 - "Which 3D accelerator card will speed up raytracing best?"
6.12 - "Who is..."
7 - Roll The Credits...
Subject: What is Ray Tracing?
Ray Tracing, in a one-line description, is a method that allows you to
create stunning photo-realistic images on a computer. All you need is
a computer, some ray tracing software, a little imagination and some
The first stage of creating this masterpiece is to "describe" what it
is that you want to depict in your picture. You may do this using an
interactive modelling system, like a CAD package, or by creating a text
file that has a programming language-like syntax to describe the
elements. Either way, you will be specifying what objects are in your
imaginary world, what shape they are, where they are, what colour and
texture they have and where the light sources are to illuminate them.
Having done all of this, you feed it into your ray tracer, sit back and
That's the main drawback of ray tracing - it's not fast. The software
actually mathematically models the light rays as they bounce around
this virtual world, reflecting, refracting and generally having a good
time until they end up in the lense of your imaginary camera. This can
quite literally involve thousands and millions of floating-point
calculations and this takes time. Tracing images can take anything
from a few seconds to many days. It's a long process, I know, but the
results can make it all worth while.
Ray tracing isn't the only method for creating photo-realistic
pictures. There are packages like 3D Studio which uses scanline
rendering, Radiance, which uses radiosity, and so on. Although these
don't count as ray tracing, the methods you use from one system to the
next are often sufficiently similar to warrant their discussion in this
group. So if you think it's relevant, feel free to bring it up. These
systems will be mentioned in a little more detail later on.
Subject: 1 - Ray Tracing Software
Subject 1.1 - POV-Ray
* The Persistance of Vision Ray Tracer (POV-Ray) is an all-round
excellent package, but there are two things that particularly make it
stand out above the rest of the crowd. Firstly, it's free, and
secondly, the source is distributed so you can compile it on
virtually any platform. It's without doubt the most used package
among the comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing crowd and well worth
checking out if you haven't already.
POV-Ray is based on David Buck's original ray tracer, DKB-Trace and
has been (and still is) developed and supported by a whole crowd of
people on CompuServe's POV-Ray Forum (GO POVRAY).
The official distribution site for POV-Ray is Compuserve's GO POVRAY
forum, but on the Internet, the official FTP and WWW sites are:
However, at times the access to povray.org is erratic, and it can
also be very busy, so there are a number of unofficial mirror sites
(see 2 - FTP Sites, Web Sites, Mailing Lists).
The files that make up official 3.1g versions of POV-Ray are:
- povmsdos.zip MS-DOS 32-bit binary, scene files, and docs
- povmsd_s.zip MS-DOS source code
- povwin3.zip Windows 32-bit binaries, scene files, and docs
- povwin_s.zip Windows source code
- pve-cv6.zip Visual C++ v6 compiled versin of pvengine.exe
- povlinux.tgz Linux for x86 ELF binaries, scene files, and docs
- povuni_s.tgz Unix source files
- povuni_d.tgz Unix documentation, include, sample scene files
- povmac68.sit.hqx Mac 680x0 with FPU binary, scene files, docs
- povmacnf.sit.hqx Mac 680x0 witout FPU binary, scene files, docs
- povpmac.sit.hqx Mac PowerPC binary, scene files, docs
- povmacs.sit.hqx Mac source files
- povam020.lha Amiga 68020/68881 version
- povam040.lha Amiga 68040 version
- povamsrc.lha Amiga source files
There is also an official version of POV-Ray for Amiga available at:
If your system is not in this list, it is recommended that
you use the generic Unix sources for compiling POV-Ray. You can also
find the above archives packaged in different formats or binaries for
If you have access to several networked computers and a compiler,
it is possible to have POV-Ray render using multiple CPUs using
the PVM system of distributed computing. More information is at:
There is a large collection of software related to POV-Ray available
on the Raytrace! CD-ROM from Walnut Creek. This includes modellers,
viewers, utility programs, scene files, and rendered images. For
For your browsing pleasure, you can have a look at almost the whole
contents of the CD-ROM at http://www.aussie.org/products/
* MegaPoV was formerly known as UVPov, SuperPatch and MultiPatch. This
is not an official compile of Pov-Ray.
There are version for:
- Windows http://nathan.kopp.com/patched.htm
- MacOS http://users.skynet.be/smellenbergh/
- MS-DOS http://www.stuartgibson.com/
- Cygwin http://www.schunter.etc.tu-bs.de/~chris/povcyg.html
- Linux http://www.mailbag.com/users/mtgordon/megapov.html
- Linux/ PGCC http://www.bigfoot.com/~nimbus186/nocss/ray.html
- BeOS http://www.bigfoot.com/~nimbus186/nocss/ray.html
- Linux PVM http://www.wozzeck.net/images/pmp/
- Tru64 DEC Alpha http://www.ourservers.net/openvms_ports/
- Source code http://members-proxy-5.mmbrprxy.home.net/ceckak/mpov07/
Subject 1.2 - Rayshade
Rayshade is a free ray tracing package originally developed in 1988
by Craig Kolb <firstname.lastname@example.org>, David Dobkin, and David Hoffman
for Unix/X11, but it has since been ported to several platforms and
re-written and improved several times since. Several non-Unix ports
are available, including DOS, Amiga, Mac, and OS/2. This is the
program often used by universities for teaching ray tracing and as a
result, it is often also used for research on rendering and object
generation. Because of its extensibility, there are a large number
of user-contributed additions and modifications to the base renderer.
This means that many incredible images and ideas saw first "light"
under Rayshade. The image gallery at the Rayshade Homepage can bear
witness to this. The "official" FTP and WWW sites are located at:
There are (at least) two programs to distribute rayshade traces over
multiple systems. One is inetray, the other raynet, available at:
Subject 1.3 - Radiance and ADELINE
Radiance is a free Unix software package that adopts a radiosity-type
approach to lighting simluation. A MS-DOS version is now available
as part of the ADELINE 2.0 software package for a site license fee
from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Greg Ward <email@example.com>, discusses Radiance here:
"I've spent the past ten or so years developing a ray tracing program
for lighting simulation and rendering called Radiance. Although it
doesn't use the typical finite-element/form-factor approach of
radiosity programs, it does compute what they compute plus some.
Specifically, Radiance computes diffuse, specular and directional-
diffuse reflection and transmission in arbitrarily complicated
Here is a short description:
Radiance is a suite of programs for the analysis and visualization of
lighting in design. Input files specify the scene geometry,
materials, luminaires, time, date and sky conditions (for daylight
calculations). Calculated values include spectral radiance (ie.
luminance & color), irradiance (illuminance & color) and glare
indices. Simulation results may be displayed as color images,
numerical values and contour plots.
The primary advantage of Radiance over simpler lighting calculation
and rendering tools is that there are no limitations on the geometry
or the materials that may be simulated. Radiance is used by
architects and engineers to predict illumination, visual quality and
appearance of innovative design spaces, and by researchers to
evaluate new lighting and daylighting technologies.
Radiance has been written up in many technical and non-technical
articles in various journals and magazines. Most recently, a
Radiance-generated image appeared on the cover of the 1992 Siggraph
There are hundreds of happy Radiance users world-wide, including
public and private research institutions as well as engineering and
I guess that's all I can think of to say about it at the moment..."
The Unix version of the software is free, in source code, runs on
most Unix/X11 platforms, and is available in source form:
ftp://hobbes.lbl.gov/ [22.214.171.124] in California
The Radiance WWW home page can be found at:
A version of Radiance for MS-DOS is available as part of a software
package called ADELINE. ADELINE is being distributed by Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory. For detailed information and an online
order form, please see:
An FTP site with basic info and an ASCII order form is available at:
Subject 1.4 - Blue Moon Rendering Tools (BMRT)
The Blue Moon Rendering Tools are a set of rendering programs and
libraries, written by Larry Gritz <firstname.lastname@example.org> as a Ph.D. student,
which adhere to the RenderMan(R) standard as set forth by Pixar.
Pixar's implementation of the Renderman standard is a program called
Photorealistic RenderMan (PRMan), which uses a method of rendering
called REYES, which is based in scan-line rendering methods.
BMRT, on the other hand, includes a simple wire-frame renderer, an
OpenGL renderer, and most importantly, a renderer which uses some of
the latest techniques of radiosity and ray tracing to produce near
photorealistic images. BMRT also supports RIB files directly, and
can compile Shading Language (.sl) shaders using the included Shading
Language Compiler (although the output is NOT compatible with the
.slo files used by PRMan).
BMRT is avaiable for many popular Unix platforms and Windows 95/NT
in binary form. The BMRT licencing agreement allows unlimited free
use for non-commercial users, but it must be registered for use by or
for commercial applications. Larry asks that people only download
BMRT from the official web site:
Subject 1.5 - Polyray
The program Polyray is a freeware rendering program for producing
scenes of 3D shapes and surfaces. The means of description range
from standard primitives like box, sphere, etc. to 3 variable
polynomial expression, and finally (and slowest of all) surfaces
containing transcendental functions like sin, cos, log. Polyray
supports rendering in a number of different modes: Raytracing,
Zbuffered polygon rendering (fully textures or Gourad shaded),
wireframe and hidden line, and raw triangles (as ASCII output, one
tri per line).
The texturing in Polyray is not limited to a few predefined styles -
you can use mathematical expressions to modify any part of the
The main site for Polyray (including source code) is:
Subject 1.6 - Vivid (including BOB)
Vivid is a shareware ray tracer for IBM PC's by Stephen Coy
<email@example.com>. Version 2, the current publicly available
version, is available from several FTP sites as vivid2.zip.
Version 3 is expected soon (I expect it is already available [AED]).
Compared to POV-Ray, Vivid doesn't have as many features, but in many
cases it can run faster. Source code isn't available, so the package
is limited to systems which can run DOS executables.
Stephen Coy, Christopher Watkins and Mark Finlay co-authored a book
on Ray Tracing called "Photorealism and Ray Tracing in C".
Distributed free with the book was an example ray tracer called BOB.
This was actually a cut down version of Vivid which did include
source. (see also 5 - Further Information and Resources).
Subject 1.7 - Tachyon
Tachyon is a freeware raytracer for a wide range of systems by
John E. Stone <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>, the current state is
Tachyon is a more simple raytracer than e.g. POV-Ray. Its features
are parallel execution, grid-based spatial decomposition, simple
antialiasing, basic beometric objects, texture mapping, volumetric
data sets as seen in the documentation.
Tachyon can be foudn on the web at
Subject 1.8 - Others
There are many other ray tracing packages available; ART, DKBtrace,
RTrace, RAY4, MTV, QRT, and DBW for instance, and some for parallel
tracing: XDART, RRLib, prt, and VMpRAY. Eric Haines' Ray Tracing
News (see 5 - Further Information and Resources), or the
comp.graphics.misc FAQ for more info.
Subject 1.9 - Non-Ray Tracing Software
* Pixar's Photo-Realistic Renderman
Because of the excellent and sophisticated techniques used in
PRMan, many people think that it is a ray tracer, when in fact
PRMan is a REYES based software package (REYES is based in scanline
methods). PRMan is the grand-daddy of all high-end rendering
packages, and was the source of many of the techniques used in
rendering software today. Pixar showcased their skills in short
animations such as Tin Toy and Red's Dream. PRMan was used to
render the Walt-Disney feature film Toy Story.
There is a newsgroup news:comp.graphics.rendering.renderman devoted
to the discussion of all implementations of the Renderman language.
* 3D Studio
Autodesk's 3d Studio is an interactive 3d modelling, rendering and
animation package for the IBM PC platform. It employs scanline
rendering to achieve photo-realistic effects rather than
ray tracing. Because of this, it cannot do true shadows,
reflections or refractions, but can, in many cases, simulate them
accurately enough for most purposes. The package costs several
thousand dollars, even with an educational discount. There is a
newsgroup for discussions on this package.
The newsgroup for this software is news:comp.graphics.apps.alias
The newsgroup for this is news:comp.graphics.apps.lightwave
Note that there is also a group news:comp.graphics.rendering.misc
for the discussion of general rendering issues.
Subject: 2 - FTP Sites, Web Sites, Mailing Lists
Subject 2.1 - FTP and Web Sites
The following list details some of the main graphics related FTP
sites, their maintainers (where known) and any other info.
For a more complete list of FTP sites, see the list by Eric Haines
<email@example.com> and Nick Fotis <firstname.lastname@example.org> from which
much of the following has been taken.
* ftp://wuarchive.wustl.edu/ [126.96.36.199]
George Kyriazis <email@example.com>
A huge repository of graphics stuff, particulary:
- /graphics/graphics - get CONTENTS file.
- /graphics/graphics/objects/TDDD - the TDDD objects/converters.
- /mirrors/unix-c/graphics - Rayshade, MTV, FBM, PBMPLUS, etc.
- /mirrors/msdos/graphics - DKB ray tracer, FLI RayTracker demos.
- /graphics/graphics/mirrors - mirrors many sites.
- /pub/rad.tar.Z - SGI_RAD.
- /graphics/graphics/radiosity - Radiance and Indian packages.
- /systems/ibmpc/msdos/graphics - loads of PC graphics stuff.
* ftp://ftp.informatik.uni-oldenburg.de/ [188.8.131.52]
Frank Neumann <Frank.Neumann@informatik.uni-oldenburg.de>
Another good site for ray tracing, particulary POV-Ray.
- /pub/pov-ray - get INDEX for full details
- /pub/pov-ray/conv - format converters
- /pub/pov-ray/edit - graphical editors
- /pub/pov-ray/ext - source extensions
- /pub/pov-ray/gen - data file generators
- /pub/pov-ray/misc - other tools, ray tracers, etc.
- /pub/pov-ray/new - uploads
- /pub/pov-ray/obj - objects
- /pub/pov-ray/pack - compression
- /pub/pov-ray/pix - pictures
- /pub/pov-ray/scen - scenes
- /pub/pov-ray/text - text articles
- /pub/pov-ray/view - viewers
- /pub/pov-ray/pbin - unofficial POV binaries
* ftp://ftp.povray.org/ [184.108.40.206]
Christopher Cason <Chris.Cason@povray.org>
This is the primary site for POV-Ray. It contains a large
number of POV-Ray utilities, executables, and scenes. This site
has also grown to have a mirror of avalon.vislab.navy.mil (see
below), as well as polyray and rayshade.
- /pub/povray/Hall-Of-Fame - incredible ray traced images
- /pub/povray/Official - official sources and executables
- /pub/povray/Ray-Tracing-News - archive of Eric Haines' newsletter
- /pub/povray/animation - animations created with POV-Ray
- /pub/povray/ezine - a magazine about POV-Ray
- /pub/povray/fonts - font utilities
- /pub/povray/modellers - CAD packages for creating scene files
- /pub/povray/objects - a collection of POV objects
- /pub/povray/scenes - complete POV-Ray scene files
- /pub/povray/unofficial - modifications and executables by others
- /pub/povray/utilities - tools and programs to make life easier
- /pub/competition - images from old ray tracing competition
- /pub/irtc - image from the new ray tracing competition
(note that the IRTC has its own site http://www.irtc.org/)
- /pub/mirrors/avalon - avalon.vislab.navy.mil mirror (See below)
- /pub/polyray - Polyray source files
Due to increasing demand for better access, ftp.povray.org now has
many mirror sites around the world. None of the mirrors are
"Official", so there is no guarantee that they will have everything
at povray.org, nor that it is the latest version. However, POV-Ray
is not a release-a-week piece of software, so chances are that the
local mirror will have the latest release. If anyone notices that
one of these sites no longer exists, please let me know.
The POV-Ray CD-ROM from Walnut Creek Raytrace! is now available
online. Check it out at:
* ftp://ftp.princeton.edu/ [220.127.116.11]
Craig Kolb <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Home of Rayshade, and other graphics tid-bits.
- /pub/Graphics/GraphicsGems - source code from Graphics Gems books
- /pub/Graphics/URT - Utah Raster Toolkit
- /pub/Graphics/SPD - Standard Procedural Database
- /pub/Graphics/rayshade - rayshade source code
- /pub/Graphics/RTNews - Ray Tracing News
- /pub/Graphics/Papaers - ray tracing papers, bibliographies
* ftp://avalon.viewpoint.com/ [18.104.22.168]
Avalon was created to be a 3D object "repository" for the net. 3D
objects (multiple formats), utilities, and file format documents
are only part of what is available here. Since July 1995, Avalon
has been run by Viewpoint, a commercial 3D model vendor, but they
insist that the Avalon models will still be available for free to
all. This site is also mirrored by (among others):
* ftp://hobbes.lbl.gov/ [22.214.171.124]
Greg Ward <email@example.com>
Official distribution site for Radiance ray trace/radiosity package.
* ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/ [126.96.36.199]
- /pub/usenet/news.answers - the land of FAQs.
Subject 2.2 - Mailing Lists
Listed below is a selection of mailing lists related to graphics
and/or ray tracing. If I haven't included specific details on
subscription, it's because I don't know. Best bet is to send a
Called the dkb-list for historical reasons (POV-Ray was based on
David Buck's "DKBTrace"), the list exists for users of POV-Ray and
associated products, on all platforms.
Body Text: subscribe dkb-l <Your full name>
Mailing list for Rayshade users, mainly on Unix platforms.
Greg Ward, the author of Radiance has a distribution list of all
users. Register with him: firstname.lastname@example.org
For users of the Imagine 3d rendering and animation package for the
Amiga and, more recently, the IBM PC.
Body Text: subscribe imagine <first name> <last name>
This list deals with the Video Toaster system for the Amiga.
Body Text: subscribe <address> toaster
Lightwave is part of the suite of programs that come with the
Video Toaster system for the Amiga.
Body Text: subscribe <address> lightwave
This is a mailing list for users of trueSpace, maintained by
employees of trueSpace's maker, Caligari (http://www.caligari.com).
Body Text: subscribe <address> truespace
* 3D Studio
Autodesk's 3d modelling and rendering system for the IBM PC.
Body Text: subscribe <address> 3dstudio
Subject: 3 - Modelling Software
Subject 3.1 - SCED
SCED is a constraint based scene editor written by Stephen Chenney
<email@example.com>. Stephen also maintains a
mailing list for bug reports, patches, and early notification of new
Sced is a scene modeller for Unix and X. It runs on many Unix platforms,
including Linux. It is being distributed as source code. The latest
version is always available at:
An enhancement to SCED by Denis McLaughlin, called SCEDA, has all the
features of SCED, but also adds support for keyframed animation.
Animated objects have their position, rotation, and scale
interpolated smoothly across multiple keyframes via a (modified)
spline function. You can find out more about SCEDA at:
* Cube, Cylinder, Cone, Plane, Sphere primitives.
* Full support for CSG, including CSG wireframes that look like CSG
* A constraint based editing interface, which supports the accurate
placement of object relative to other objects, and dynamic
* Previewing using your favorite renderer.
* Arbitrary, dynamic view of the scene.
* Support for Radiance, RenderMan, POV-Ray, Rayshade, and VRML.
* Target renderer specific attributes - allowing the full range of
POV textures to be accessed, including the declaration of new
textures and the inclusion of files.
* Arbitrarily dense wireframes.
* A simple input file format.
* Support for arbitrary OFF format polygonal objects.
* Automatic compression and decompression of files.
* Spotlight and Area light sources.
* Removal of many restrictions on the editing of CSG objects,
including the ability to change the basic type of an object.
* Lots of bug fixes. This version is now very stable under Linux and
Solaris at least. The last very was regretably unstable.
* Lots of small improvements to things like previewing, selection,
handling of objects behind the eye and so on.
Tutorials are provided to introduce use of the interface.
The system has been tested on several platforms, and appears to be
easy to port to different systems. It REQUIRES X11 Release 5. Note
that POV 2.2 NEEDS TO BE PATCHED to use files created by SCED.
Binaries will soon be available for Linux and Solaris. Binaries for
other platforms are also desired.
Planned in the future:
* POV->Sced conversion program, for editing an old POV file.
* Bezier patch and arbitrary wireframe support.
Subject 3.2 - POVLAB
POVLAB is a freeware (open source) DOS based 3D graphic modeller
for POV-Ray 3.0 written by Denis Olivier <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Here are some of its features:
* 16/256 colors graphic SVGA/VESA 1.2.
* 387 protected mode, optimized for 486 and Pentium.
Virtual memory, up to 32 mb.
* 4 viewports (left, front, top and camera).
* Material & texture preview, library management, add your own.
* Real time camera, like 3D Studio does, including POV-Ray FOV.
* Lights: omni, spot, area/spot, cylinder (color, shadows, on/off).
* Deformation (matrix scale, translate and rotate based).
* User configuration (full ascii, very simple to modify).
* Selection (rotation, scale, translate, copy, ...).
* Normal/fast/boxed display, freezed and ignored objects.
* Raw objects, box, cone, cylinder, blob, disc, tube, torus, plane,
sphere, lathe, bezier patches, spline, automap, extruder,
* CSG (copy, merge, difference, union).
* Procedures (rotate and copy, translate and copy, align, extruder).
* Plugins: program your own external procedures/object generators
* Mesh precision control for height-fields and torus.
* Up to 20000 objects.
* Parameters: ior, refraction, ambient, phong, phong_size,
diffuse, crand, reflection, image, bump map...
* Create 3D fonts (read TrueType fonts).
* Image files viewer, best palette fitting (dithering, scaling and more).
* HSL and RGB color's dialog boxes.
* Formatted output with user's "soft" tabs (thanks Dan Farmer).
* Compiled with management for FDIV Pentium's error.
* Shell to your favorite viewer.
* Support a lot of new options in POV-Ray 3.0 as :
- Extended light sources (atmosphere, fading, ... ).
- Focal blur.
- Atmospheric effects and layered fog.
- Caustics, fade_distance, fade_power.
- Adding blobs for spheres and cylinders.
- Adding hollow keyword.
- Added cylindrical lights.
- Support superellipsoids.
- Support radiosity.
* Support rendering in WINPOV.
* B-Spline path with CTDS like connections.
* Debugging infos an files.
* View POV scene code with lights, cameras and objects manual editing.
* Smooth key vertices on the spline.
* OS/2 setup files.
* Support online, patches, helpers, faq, mailing list,
illustrated tutorial, scenes, objects.
System requirements for POVLAB are floating point unit (387/487SX
or 486/P5/P6), 8MB RAM (up to 32 MB virtual memory), 30MB disk space,
mouse, and 16/256 color SVGA/VESA 1.2. It also works under OS/2 and
Win95, and supports rendering with WinPOV.
POVLAB images, tips, faq, plug-ins and more are available at:
Dennis Olivier has stopped all development on POVLAB. However,
currently a small group of enthousiasts is reworking POVLAB to a
multi-platform version. Their ongoing work can be followed at:
Subject 3.3 - MORAY
MORAY, by Lutz and Kretzschmar, is a shareware modeller for PC's that
directly supports POV-Ray 3.1 primitives and more. Registration is
required after a trial period. Support is available via email and the
POV-Ray news server news.povray.org.
MORAY is a program with which you can design scenes for the POV-Ray
raytracer to render. Contrary to normal scene design, with MORAY you
design the scenes graphically. Up to now it was pretty difficult to
imagine what the scene looked like, without laying it out on graph
paper, or doing many test renders. MORAY is like a graph paper, it
lets you place and change objects in wireframe while you see them.
MORAY then generates the text file that POV needs to read.
MORAY can thus also be used as a rapid prototype tool, to place
objects quickly and write the scene file. You can then edit scene
files to suit your needs, just like you have been doing up to now.
MORAY stores and works with POV-Ray primitives, as opposed to normal
CAD systems, which mostly convert all objects to triangle meshes or
similar polygon based formats when outputting. This ensures optimum
performance and image quality from the raytracer.
The emphasis in designing MORAY was to be able to work as easily and
as graphically as possible. Most of the work can be done with the
Three 2D views and a 3D view of your scene are visible on screen.
You can perform all transformations of the objects in the 2D views
with the mouse. The 3D view shows what the current camera will see,
i.e. how POV will raytrace it. MORAY allows you to:
* scale, rotate and translate an object interactively
* define cameras with which to view your scene
* view the scene in wire frame as POV-Ray will raytrace it
* specify the wire-frame complexity of on screen objects
* graphically place a bounding box around an object
* automatically create bounding boxes of any objects
* make nested CSG or composite objects
* define new textures from within MORAY
* place imagemaps interactively on objects
* manipulate the control points of a bezier patch to create shapes
not easily created otherwise
* create bezier patch meshes
* create rotational, translational and tapering sweeps that are
output as smooth triangles
* copy complex nested objects
* create multiple copies of objects, transforming each independently
* specify a region of the 3D view to render
* call POV-Ray from within MORAY to render scenes
* A complete 100% Texture Editor for POV-Ray with Preview.
* Fewer redraws that are interruptible.
* Right-Mouse-button support.
* New Objects (Blobs, RAW triangles, User-defined objects).
* Shallow and deep copies.
* CSG evaluation.
* Actual Heightfield display (for TGA).
* Manipulations in 3D views.
* Spotlight views.
* Multi-level Undo for major scene operations.
The latest version of MORAY for Windows V3.1 (Build 4325) offers these
* Full support for POV-Ray 3.1 texturing, including interior and media.
* Automatic, seamless support for POV-Ray For Windows.
* Material Library support.
* Inverse Kinematics.
* Local coordinates (pivot points).
* Online Helpsystem.
* Plugin SDK to allow access to the scene data. Supports import/export
filters, custom objects, and MORAY interface access.
MORAY V3.1 runs under Windows 95/98/NT and requires POV-Ray 3.1 or later.
It is recommended to have at least 32MB and a truecolor desktop.
For the latest information and pricing, please visit our website at
Subject 3.4 - GUM
GUM is a solid and surface modeller that currently supports POV,
Polyray and Rayce and runs in MS-Windows. The author is Lex van der
GUM is DemoWare: the demo is yours and you have NO obligation to
register whatsoever, but there is a limitation: only 50 objects can
be saved. The registered version naturally has no such limitation.
GUM stands for 'Grand Unified Modeller' which means two things:
* It will never be done.
* The fact that its internal data structure can accomodate all major
object types, that is solids (implicit, b-rep), surfaces
(parametric and polyhedral) and wireframe objects. (and yes, a
layout of its C++ class hierarchy takes many pages).
The current version can be found at:
CAD BBS Holland (+31-3402-90287) where it is a free file
CompuServe, in the GRAPHDEV forum, thanks to Harry Rowe
I won't list the list of supported objects here since that would
become a bit long. Instead, some highlights:
* CSG evaluation, (wireframe representation of CSG Differences)
* 3D direct manipulation: 3D handles on objects like on the SGI
* support for trimmed surfaces (trimmed with a solid, that is)
Polyray can render these.
* real-time pan and zoom (non-real-time also possible)
* several renderers can be supported at once
* relatively advanced texture- (and other types of declaration)
handling, resulting in self-contained scene-files.
* heightfield reading for Targa files: see what you're doing
* Custom objects for external/not-yet-supported/huge objects
* support for 'extra special' features via the Header dialog (timer
variables, directional & textured lights, etc)
* the ability to find all used files used in the scene
* a robust RAW file reader
* Object library feature: use objects from other GUM scenes
* flexible FastDraw: Full, Skip(variable), Bounding Box. Static,
during viewport change/object dragging (multiple-viewport too)
* Automatic starting of the specified renderer, automatic starting of
your favourite imageviewer when the image is done
Some 'lowlights' (all of which will -naturally- be addressed):
* cumbersome installation procedure
* lack of sweeps
* lack of blobs
* cylinders, cones and paraboloids must be capped manually by
intersecting them with discs
System requirements: 386+387 @ 40 MHz with 4 Mb RAM. An 800x600
display is highly recommended, although 640x480 can be used. GUM plus
one renderer takes about 6 Mb on your harddisk.
Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers about GUM,
but first there are two things that should be brought to your
* there's already a FAQ in the manual, see the Contents topic. The
Q&A's here have popped up after the release of the program.
* most questions about usage of the program can be eliminated if you
do the Quick Start, also in GUM's help-file.
Q: I get a list of warnings every time I try to render or save
something, saying that some 'pages' could not be found. However,
all these 'pages' are POV/Polyray/Rayce keywords, such as
'marble', 'green' and 'diffuse'.
A: You need to move GUM.INI from GUM's directory to your WINDOWS
directory. If it's not there, extract a fresh GUM.INI from
GUM091EX.ZIP. In it are the keywords that have special meaning to
programs like POV, and without the file GUM can't discern between
references to other definitions (like using the normal 'Bumpy' in
'BumpyGlass') and keywords (such as 'red' and 'ior').
Q: When I try to start the program I get an error message saying that
CTL3DV2.DLL is not correctly installed.
A: More than one copy of this DLL could be found by MS-Windows, which
is not allowed for this particular file, hence the cryptic error
message. You should find the most recent copy of it on your system,
move it to WINDOWS\SYSTEM and delete all others.
Subject 3.5 - Breeze Designer
Breeze Designer is a freeware 32-bit 3D modelling and design tool
written by John Neville <email@example.com> for MS-Windows
(NT, 95, Win32s). It has been written to primarily interface with
the Persistance of Vision raytracer (POV-Ray version 2.0 & 3.0),
there is also support to export to a number of other popular
renderers including Pixars's RenderMan. Some of its features
* Modelling primitives; cube, sphere, cone, cylinder, torus,
bicubic "Bezier" patches
* Text objects using TrueType fonts
* Heightfields, spline paths and extruded shapes
* Iso-surfaces; blobs (metaballs).
* Surfaces of revolution (sweeps).
* Built-in texture builder and shaded preview.
* Object grouping with CSG support.
* Keyframe animation support, with tween function and spline paths.
* Import Autodesk 3D-Studio(TM) 3DS and AutoCAD DXF format models.
* Export POV-Ray, RenderMan RIB, VRML scene, Polyray, AutoCAD DXF.
* Built-in macro language and third party plug-in module support.
* Support for OpenGL with texture mapping for Windows NT/95
* Support for the Intel(R) 3DR rendering library.
* On-line help & tool tips support.
Breeze is available for download at:
Subject 3.6 - Other Modellers
AC3D, by Andy Colebourne <firstname.lastname@example.org>, is reportedly
a very easy to use 3D object/scene modeller currently available
for SGI, SUN, Linux, and MS Windows platforms. It outputs POV,
Renderman, VRML, Dive, and Massive files. The Linux, Windows,
and SGI binaries are shareware, while the SUN version is free.
Source code is not available. More details, manual, and binary
downloads are available at:
* Blob Sculptor
Blob Sculptor, by Alfonso Hermida, Steve Anger and Truman Brown
allows you to model shapes using blob primitives. Output is to
RAW, DXF, BLB (internal format), POV, Polyray, Rayshade and CTDS.
In addition, the MS-Windows version, ported by Ronal Praver,
supports NFF, VideoScape and others.