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comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing FAQ (part 1/2)
Section - 3 - Modelling Software

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------------------------------

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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