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All content Copyright © 2005, P. Lutus. All rights reserved.

Click me for 3D
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Click me for 3D
Click image above for 3D ()
Click here to see a full-size (1280x1024) version of this image.
Introduction
Do you think my title "Adventures in Ray Tracing" might be a little over the top? Well, read on and see. There are some really fantastic, free graphic tools becoming available, and they are as educational as they are fun.

This demonstration/tutorial page set focuses on POV-Ray, a ray-tracing engine, and a user interface program for POV-Ray named KPovModeler. These are obviously selections from a long list of choices, but in my long experience in ray tracing I have found POV-Ray to be a very good embodiment of this graphic rendering method.

Both POV-Ray and KPovModeler are free programs. In fact, I have designed this page set so that the only likely cost to the reader is for a pair of anaglyphic glasses that look like this: . A pair of anaglyphic glasses allows the reader to properly view the many 3-D images provided in this page set, and allows you to better follow the tutorial on this imaging technique. These glasses can be easily gotten on the Web in varying forms, but while shopping make sure to use the keyword "anaglyphic."

NOTE: While reading these pages, when you see this symbol: , it means you can click the image above it to get a 3D version. The examples on this page are explicit, later pages just use the symbol.

POV-Ray is available for Linux and Windows, KPovModeler is a Linux-only program, this page set assumes a Linux platform, but the reader can glean much useful information and plain-text POV-Ray source examples that are suitable to any platform. I emphasize Linux because I want this page set to have a long useful life, which obviously favors Linux, and also because I want to minimize problems and cost to the reader. It would have seemed hypocritical to emphasize that everything is free while requiring the use of an expensive platform like Windows.

Here are some resource links for this project:

To make best use of this page set, download POV-Ray and a modeling front end program, preferably KPovModeler, and give both of them a test run.

This page set is an introduction, an overview, of POV-Ray's capabilities. There are many Web resources that go to greater depth, that focus on specific methods and techniques. Just Google for "POV-Ray" to see a list — in fact, click here to do just that.

 

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