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Architosh Staff (
12 June 2001


Mac3D news: POV-Ray for Mac OS and OS X

Architosh has learned of a free raytracing software called POV-Ray. The "Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer or POV-Ray for short, is a ray tracer" capable of creating stunning photo-realistic computer generated images and animations.

POV-RAY, On Many Platforms

POV-Ray currently runs on many OS's including Mac OS, Windows, DOS, Linux, FreeBSD, Sun OS, VMS, SGI IRIX and others. The next version of POV-Ray is 3.5 and a 4.0 version is planned as well. Details of the next versions can be found here.

More on POV-Ray Mac

The POV-raytracer is the product of a number of individuals, including David Buck's original ray tracer, DKB-Trace, which was developed and supported by a group of individuals on the CompuServe Graphics Developers' Forums. Because the source code is freely distributed it is very easy for POV-Ray to make its way to other platforms.

The FAQ page has a great list of items of interest to Mac rendering types, including interesting links and an old discussion about the pros/cons of G3 vs P2 chips. There is also a page for sample renderings and links to artists.

POV-Ray 3.1 features direct QuickTime movie output for animations, alpha-transparency in the preview windows, Mac OS 8+ Appearance savviness and support for Navigation Services. Unfortunately right now POV-Ray doesn't support the G4 chip's Velocity Engine (AltiVec instruction set) due to the lack of double-precision floating-point in the AltiVec architecture. Nor does it support threading on multiple processors so that dual G4 won't be able to help you much with POV-Ray.

POV Ray on OS X

However, in the near future Mac OS X will be supported. Version 3.5 will likely come in two flavors, one for OS X and one for Mac OS 8+. A complete list of version 3.5 features can be found here.

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