Raytracing

Raytracing fascinated me long before the advent of Toy Story or Shrek. I use the Public Domain raytracer known as PoVRay. (PoV is short for Persistence of Vision.) The reason I like it is because it allows me to create pictures with good use of colour and correct perspective without my having to draw anything. Alas, I can't draw to save my life! I am a passable draughtsman, however, so as long as I can define things with mathematical precision I'm OK. But if something involves actual hand-eye co-ordination I'm stumped.

PoVRay works by using a so-called scene description language. It's a bit like a 3D analogue of PostScript. Describe a hypothetical scene in sufficient detail in the PoVRay language, and you can get your computer to calculate what it would look like. Intrigued? Here's a tutorial walkthough in plain English.

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