Text Output Options

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Text output is an important way that POV-Ray keeps you informed about what it is going to do, what it is doing and what it did. The program splits its text messages into 7 separate streams. Some versions of POV-Ray color-codes the various types of text. Some versions allow you to scroll back several pages of messages. All versions allow you to turn some of these text streams off/on or to direct a copy of the text output to one or several files. This section details the options which give you control over text output.


Text Streams

There are seven distinct text streams that POV-Ray uses for output. On some versions each stream is designated by a particular color. Text from these streams are displayed whenever it is appropriate so there is often an intermixing of the text. The distinction is only important if you choose to turn some of the streams off or to direct some of the streams to text files. On some systems you may be able to review the streams separately in their own scroll-back buffer.

Here is a description of each stream.

Banner: This stream displays the program's sign-on banner, copyright, contributor's list, and some help screens. It cannot be turned off or directed to a file because most of this text is displayed before any options or switches are read. Therefore you cannot use an option or switch to control it. There are switches which display the help screens. They are covered in section Help Screen Switches.

Debug: This stream displays debugging messages. It was primarily designed for developers but this and other streams may also be used by the user to display messages from within their scene files. See section Text Message Streams for details on this feature. This stream may be turned off and/or directed to a text file.

Fatal: This stream displays fatal error messages. After displaying this text, POV-Ray will terminate. When the error is a scene parsing error, you may be shown several lines of scene text that leads up to the error. This stream may be turned off and/or directed to a text file.

Render: This stream displays information about what options you have specified to render the scene. It includes feedback on all of the major options such as scene name, resolution, animation settings, anti-aliasing and others. This stream may be turned off and/or directed to a text file.

Statistics: This stream displays statistics after a frame is rendered. It includes information about the number of rays traced, the length of time of the processing and other information. This stream may be turned off and/or directed to a text file.

Status: This stream displays one-line status messages that explain what POV-Ray is doing at the moment. On some systems this stream is displayed on a status line at the bottom of the screen. This stream cannot be directed to a file because there is generally no need to. The text displayed by the Verbose option or +V switch is output to this stream so that part of the status stream may be turned off.

Warning: This stream displays warning messages during the parsing of scene files and other warnings. Despite the warning, POV-Ray can continue to render the scene. You will be informed if POV-Ray has made any assumptions about your scene so that it can proceed. In general any time you see a warning, you should also assume that this means that future versions of POV-Ray will not allow the warned action. Therefore you should attempt to eliminate warning messages so your scene will be able to run in future versions of POV-Ray. This stream may be turned off and/or directed to a text file.

Console Text Output

Turn console display of debug info text on/off
Same as Debug_Console=On
Same as Debug_Console=Off
Turn console display of fatal error text on/off
Same as Fatal_Console=On
Same as Fatal_Console=Off
Turn console display of render info text on/off
Same as Render_Console=On
Same as Render_Console=Off
Turn console display of statistic text on/off
Same as Statistic_Console=On
Same as Statistic_Console=Off
Turn console display of warning text on/off
Same as Warning_Console=On
Same as Warning_Console=Off
Turn on/off all debug, fatal, render, statistic and warning text to console.
Same as All_Console=On
Same as All_Console=Off

You may suppress the output to the console of the debug, fatal, render, statistic or warning text streams. For example the Statistic_Console=off option or the -GS switch can turn off the statistic stream. Using on or +GS you may turn it on again. You may also turn all five of these streams on or off at once using the All_Console option or +GA switch.

Note: These options only take effect after the INI file has been read. An error in the INI file causes other options not to take effect because reading of the INI file is aborted prematurely.

Directing Text Streams to Files

Echo debug info text to DEBUG.OUT
Debug_File=false Turn off file output of debug info
Debug_File=file Echo debug info text to file
+GDfile Both Debug_Console=On, Debug_File=file
-GDfile Both Debug_Console=Off, Debug_File=file
Echo fatal text to FATAL.OUT
Fatal_File=false Turn off file output of fatal
Fatal_File=file Echo fatal info text to file
+GFfile Both Fatal_Console=On, Fatal_File=file
-GFfile Both Fatal_Console=Off, Fatal_File=file
Echo render info text to RENDER.OUT
Render_File=false Turn off file output of render info
Render_File=file Echo render info text to file
+GRfile Both Render_Console=On, Render_File=file
-GRfile Both Render_Console=Off, Render_File=file
Echo statistic text to STATS.OUT
Statistic_File=false Turn off file output of statistics
Statistic_File=file Echo statistic text to file
+GSfile Both Statistic_Console=On, Statistic_File=file
-GSfile Both Statistic_Console=Off, Statistic_File=file
Echo warning info text to WARNING.OUT
Warning_File=false Turn off file output of warning info
Warning_File=file Echo warning info text to file
+GWfile Both Warning_Console=On, Warning_File=file
-GWfile Both Warning_Console=Off, Warning_File=file
Echo all debug, fatal, render, statistic, and warning text to ALLTEXT.OUT
All_File=false Turn off file output of all debug, fatal, render, statistic, and warning text.
All_File=file Echo all debug, fatal, render, statistic, and warning text to file
+GAfile Both All_Console=On, All_File=file
-GAfile Both All_Console=Off, All_File=file
Enable appending to any files that the above streams are being directed to.
Append_File=false Turn off appending to streams.
Same as Append_File=true
-GP Same as Append_File=false

You may direct a copy of the text streams to a text file for the debug, fatal, render, statistic, or warning text streams. For example the Statistic_File=s option or the +GSs switch. If the string s is true or any of the other valid true strings then that stream is redirected to a file with a default name. Valid true values are true, yes, on or 1. If the value is false the direction to a text file is turned off. Valid false values are false, no, off or 0. Any other string specified turns on file output and the string is interpreted as the output file name.

Similarly you may specify such a true, false or file name string after a switch such as +GSfile. You may also direct all five streams to the same file using the All_File option or +GA switch. You may not specify the same file for two or more streams because POV-Ray will fail when it tries to open or close the same file twice.

The Append_File option controls whether files to which streams are being directed are overwritten or appended to. If Append_File is true, then the files are appended to, otherwise the default action is to overwrite the files, thus erasing their previous content. The only exception to this is for the second and later frames of an animation. Animations act as if Append_File=true was specified if the frame is not the first one; for the first frame, the actual value of Append_File is used.

In either case, if a stream output file other than #debug is being appended to, a header will be written to make it clear where within the file the new render is starting. To achieve the same with #debug, you should add the appropriate header manually to your scene file.

Note: These options only take effect after the INI file has been read. An error in the INI file causes other options not to take effect because reading of the INI file is aborted prematurely. Additionally, specifying Append_File=false is only useful if it was previously turned on in another INI file, as the Append_File setting is not applied until the streams are opened on render startup (i.e. after all INI files and command-line options have been parsed). Using the command-line to turn Append_File on, then redirecting a stream to a file, and finally turning append off will not do anything useful

Warning Level

Allows you to turn off classes of warnings.
Same as Warning_Level=n

Level 0 turns off all warnings. Level 5 turns off all language version related warnings. The default is level 10 and it enables all warnings. All other levels are reserved and should not be specified.

Help Screen Switches

Show help screen 0 if this is the only switch

Note: There are no INI style equivalents to these options.

After displaying the help screens, POV-Ray terminates. Because some operating systems do not permit a question mark as a command line switch you may also use the +H switch.

Note: This switch is also used to specify the height of the image in pixels. Therefore the +H switch is only interpreted as a help switch if it is the only switch on the command line.

Graphical interface versions of POV-Ray such as Mac or Windows have extensive online help.

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