Previous:What is Ray-Tracing?   Main Index   Next:How Do I Begin?

What is POV-Ray?

The Persistence of Vision TM Ray-Tracer was developed from DKBTrace 2.12 (written by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins) by a bunch of people, called the POV-Team TM, in their spare time. The headquarters of the POV-Team is on the internet at (see "Where to Find POV-Ray Files" for more details).

The POV-Ray TM package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package. These scenes can be modified so you don't have to start from scratch.

In addition to the pre-defined scenes, a large library of pre-defined shapes and materials is provided. You can include these shapes and materials in your own scenes by just including the library file name at the top of your scene file, and by using the shape or material name in your scene.

Here are some highlights of POV-Ray's features:

* Easy to use scene description language.

* Large library of stunning example scene files.

* Standard include files that pre-define many shapes, colors and textures.

* Very high quality output image files (up to 48-bit color).

* 15 and 24 bit color display on many computer platforms using appropriate hardware.

* Create landscapes using smoothed height fields.

* Many camera types, including perspective, panorama, orthographic, fisheye, etc.

* Spotlights, cylindrical lights and area lights for sophisticated lighting.

* Phong and specular highlighting for more realistic-looking surfaces.

* Inter-diffuse reflection (radiosity) for more realistic lighting.

* Atmospheric effects like atmosphere, ground-fog and rainbow.

* Particle media to model effects like clouds, dust, fire and steam.

* Several image file output formats including Targa, PNG and PPM.

* Basic shape primitives such as ... spheres, boxes, quadrics, cylinders, cones, triangles and planes.

* Advanced shape primitives such as ... Torii (donuts), bezier patches, height fields (mountains), blobs, quartics, smooth triangles, text, fractals, superquadrics, surfaces of revolution, prisms, polygons, lathes and fractals.

* Shapes can easily be combined to create new complex shapes using Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG). POV-Ray supports unions, merges, intersections and differences.

* Objects are assigned materials called textures (a texture describes the coloring and surface properties of a shape) and interior properties such as index of refraction and particle media (formerly known as "halos").

* Built-in color and normal patterns: Agate, Bozo, Bumps, Checker, Crackle, Dents, Granite, Gradient, Hexagon, Leopard, Mandel, Marble, Onion, Quilted, Ripples, Spotted, Spiral, Radial, Waves, Wood, Wrinkles and image file mapping.

* Users can create their own textures or use pre-defined textures such as ... Brass, Chrome, Copper, Gold, Silver, Stone, Wood.

* Combine textures using layering of semi-transparent textures or tiles of textures or material map files.

* Display preview of image while rendering (not available on all platforms).

* Halt and save a render part way through, and continue rendering the halted partial render later.

Previous:What is Ray-Tracing?   Main Index   Next:How Do I Begin?