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comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing FAQ (part 1/2)

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Archive-name: graphics/raytrace-faq/part1
Last-modified: 2002/01/12
Posting-Frequency: every 30 days

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
                             Who knows others, is intelligent;
                               Who knows himself, insight has.
                             Who defeats others, force has;
                               Who defeats himself, strength has.
                                                              Lao Tse

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,
<abw@peritas.demon.co.uk>, 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:

http://www.cyrus.ruhr.de/rayfaq/ 

It is also available via anonymous ftp at:

ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/graphics/raytrace-faq/

If you only have email, you can get it by sending email to:

<mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu>

with both

"send usenet/news.answers/graphics/raytrace-faq/part1" and
"send usenet/news.answers/graphics/raytrace-faq/part2"

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 <kniebes@localhost.ruhr.de>


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 patience. 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 wait. And wait... 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: ftp://ftp.povray.org/ [165.113.121.81] http://www.povray.org/ [207.159.132.159] 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: http://www.amigaworld.com/support/povamiga/ 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 other platforms. 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: http://www-mddsp.enel.ucalgary.ca/People/adilger/povray/pvmpov.html 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 <cek@princeton.edu>, 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: ftp://ftp.princeton.edu/pub/Graphics/rayshade/ ftp://graphics.stanford.edu/pub/rayshade/ http://www-graphics.stanford.edu/~cek/rayshade/rayshade.html There are (at least) two programs to distribute rayshade traces over multiple systems. One is inetray, the other raynet, available at: http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/graphics/graphics/ray/inetray/ ------------------------------ 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 <gjward@lbl.gov>, 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 environments. 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 Proceedings. There are hundreds of happy Radiance users world-wide, including public and private research institutions as well as engineering and architecture firms. I guess that's all I can think of to say about it at the moment..." -Greg 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/ [128.3.12.38] in California The Radiance WWW home page can be found at: http://radsite.lbl.gov/radiance/HOME.html 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: http://radsite.lbl.gov/adeline/HOME.html An FTP site with basic info and an ASCII order form is available at: ftp://hobbes.lbl.gov/pub/adeline/ ------------------------------ 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 <lg@pixar.com> 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: http://www.bmrt.org/ ------------------------------ 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 shading. The main site for Polyray (including source code) is: ftp://ftp.fu-berlin.de/pub/unix/graphics/polyray/ ------------------------------ Subject 1.6 - Vivid (including BOB) Vivid is a shareware ray tracer for IBM PC's by Stephen Coy <scoy@microsoft.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:johns@megapixel.com>, the current state is under development. 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 http://jedi.ks.uiuc.edu/~johns/raytracer/ ------------------------------ 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. news:comp.graphics.packages.3dstudio * Alias The newsgroup for this software is news:comp.graphics.apps.alias * Lightwave 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 <erich@acm.org> and Nick Fotis <nfotis@theseas.ntua.gr> from which much of the following has been taken. * ftp://wuarchive.wustl.edu/ [128.252.135.4] George Kyriazis <kyriazis@esd.sgi.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/ [134.106.1.9] 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/ [165.113.121.81] http://www.povray.org/ [207.159.132.159] 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. http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/graphics/graphics/mirrors/ [128.252.135.4] ftp://wuarchive.wustl.edu/graphics/graphics/mirrors/ [128.252.135.4] ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/povray/ [165.113.121.81] ftp://ftp.vu.union.edu/pub/povray/ [149.106.37.186] http://www.vu.union.edu/~ftp/pub/povray/ [149.106.37.186] ftp://uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu/pub/graphics/povray/ [128.174.5.14] ftp://ftp.uwa.edu.au/ [130.95.128.1] ftp://plaza.aarnet.edu.au/graphics/graphics/mirrors/ [139.130.23.2] ftp://ftp.ncu.edu.tw/Packages/ray-tracing/ [140.115.1.71] http://ftp.ncu.edu.tw/Packages/ray-tracing/ [140.115.1.71] ftp://ring.asahi-net.or.jp/pub/misc/povray/ [202.224.39.15] http://www.hensa.ac.uk/ftp/mirrors/povray/ [129.12.200.129] ftp://www.hensa.ac.uk/ftp/mirrors/povray/ [129.12.200.129] ftp://ftp.shu.ac.uk/pub/computing/packages/raytrace/ [143.52.20.24] ftp://sunsite.doc.ic.ac.uk/Mirrors/ftp.povray.org/ [193.63.255.4] ftp://ftp.fh-rosenheim.de/pub/mirror/ftp.povray.org/ [141.60.160.3] ftp://ftp.tu-clausthal.de/pub/mirror/povray/ [139.174.2.10] http://ftp.tu-clausthal.de/pub/mirror/povray/ [139.174.2.10] ftp://kermit.stud.fh-heilbronn.de/mirrors/povray/ [141.7.1.181] http://kermit.stud.fh-heilbronn.de/povray/ [141.7.1.181] ftp://ftp.uni-erlangen.de/pub/other/povray/ [131.188.3.2] http://ftp.uni-erlangen.de/pub/other/povray/ [131.188.3.2] ftp://gd.tuwien.ac.at/pub/graphics/raytracing/povray [128.130.34.160] http://gd.tuwien.ac.at/graphics/raytracing/povray/ [128.130.34.160] ftp://stef.u-picardie.fr/pub2/ftp.povray.org/ [193.49.184.23] http://stef.u-picardie.fr/ftp/pub2/ftp.povray.org/ [193.49.184.23] ftp://ftp.univ-lille1.fr:/pub/povray/ [134.206.1.72] ftp://ftp.etsimo.uniovi.es/pub/raytrace/ [156.35.23.24] http://www.etsimo.uniovi.es/ftp/pub/raytrace/ [156.35.23.24] ftp://ftp.nectec.or.th/pub/mirrors/ray-tracing/ [192.150.251.33] http://ftp.nectec.or.th/pub/mirrors/ray-tracing/ [192.150.251.33] ftp://sunsite.icm.edu.pl/pub/povray/ [148.81.209.3] http://sunsite.icm.edu.pl/pub/povray/ [148.81.209.3] ftp://ftp.flashnet.it/pub/ftp.povray.org/ [194.247.160.5] http://serviceftp.flashnet.it/mirrors.htm [194.247.160.5] ftp://sunsite.wits.ac.za/pub/mirrors/ [146.141.15.214] The POV-Ray CD-ROM from Walnut Creek Raytrace! is now available online. Check it out at: http://www.aussie.org/products/ * ftp://ftp.princeton.edu/ [128.112.128.1] Craig Kolb <cek@cs.princeton.edu> 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/ [204.212.34.3] http://avalon.viewpoint.com/ [204.212.34.10] Webmaster <sph@viewpoint.com> 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): http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/graphics/graphics/mirrors/avalon/ ftp://ftp.povray.org/pub/mirrors/avalon/ ftp://sunsite.wits.ac.za/pub/mirrors/ftp.povray.org/mirrors/avalon/ * ftp://hobbes.lbl.gov/ [128.3.12.38] http://radsite.lbl.gov/radiance/HOME.html [128.3.12.33] Greg Ward <gjward@lbl.gov> Official distribution site for Radiance ray trace/radiosity package. * ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/ [18.70.0.209] http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/bngusenet/top.html [164.107.8.52] - /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 "help" message. * POV-Ray 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. Subscription: listserv%TREARN.BITNET@vm.gmd.de Body Text: subscribe dkb-l <Your full name> Posting: DKB-L%TREARN.BITNET@listserv.gmd.de * Rayshade Mailing list for Rayshade users, mainly on Unix platforms. Subscription: rayshade-users-request@cs.princeton.edu Posting: rayshade-users@cs.princeton.edu Archive: ftp://graphics.stanford.edu/pub/rayshade/rayshade-users/ * Radiance Greg Ward, the author of Radiance has a distribution list of all users. Register with him: greg@pink.lbl.gov * Imagine For users of the Imagine 3d rendering and animation package for the Amiga and, more recently, the IBM PC. Subscription: listserv@sjuvm.stjohns.edu Body Text: subscribe imagine <first name> <last name> Posting: imagine@sjuvm.stjohns.edu * Toaster This list deals with the Video Toaster system for the Amiga. Subscription: toaster-request@bobsbox.rent.com Body Text: subscribe <address> toaster Posting: toaster@bobsbox.rent.com * Lightwave Lightwave is part of the suite of programs that come with the Video Toaster system for the Amiga. Subscription: lightwave-request@bobsbox.rent.com Body Text: subscribe <address> lightwave Posting: lightwave@bobsbox.rent.com * TrueSpace This is a mailing list for users of trueSpace, maintained by employees of trueSpace's maker, Caligari (http://www.caligari.com). Subscription: truespace-request@caligari.com Body Text: subscribe <address> truespace Posting: truespace@caligari.com * 3D Studio Autodesk's 3d modelling and rendering system for the IBM PC. Subscription: 3dstudio-request@bobsbox.rent.com Body Text: subscribe <address> 3dstudio Posting: 3dstudio@bobsbox.rent.com
Subject: 3 - Modelling Software ------------------------------ Subject 3.1 - SCED SCED is a constraint based scene editor written by Stephen Chenney <schenney@franklin.cs.berkeley.edu>. Stephen also maintains a mailing list for bug reports, patches, and early notification of new releases. 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: http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~schenney/sced/sced.html ftp://ftp.cs.su.oz.au/stephen/sced/ 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: http://members.home.net/mbeast1/ Feature List: * Cube, Cylinder, Cone, Plane, Sphere primitives. * Full support for CSG, including CSG wireframes that look like CSG objects. * A constraint based editing interface, which supports the accurate placement of object relative to other objects, and dynamic constraint maintenance. * 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 <dolivier@cyberstation.fr>. 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, superellipsoid... * 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: http://www.povlab.org/ 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: http://pdelagrange.free.fr/labdev/ ------------------------------ 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 mouse. 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 improvements: * 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 http://www.stmuc.com/moray. ------------------------------ 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 Sluijs <IO770073@student.io.tudelft.nl>. 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: ftp://ftp.tu-clausthal.de/pub/mirror/povray/povray/utilities/modellers/ 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 attention: * 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 <neville@imagos.dialix.oz.au> 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 include: * 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: ftp://ftp.povray.org/pub/povray/utilities/modellers/breeze/ ------------------------------ Subject 3.6 - Other Modellers * AC3D AC3D, by Andy Colebourne <andy@comp.lancs.ac.uk>, 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: http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/computing/users/andy/ac3d.html * 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.

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