Documentation:Tutorial Section 5.1
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What to do if you don't have POV-Ray
This documentation assumes you already have POV-Ray installed and running however the POV-Team does distribute this file by itself in various formats including online on the internet. If you do not have POV-Ray or are not sure you have the official version or the latest version, then the following sections will tell you what to get and where to get it.
Which Version of POV-Ray should you use?
POV-Ray can be used under Windows™ XP or newer, x86 Apple™ Macintosh™, and Linux™ & UNIX™ on numerous hardware platforms. See section Where to Find POV-Ray Files for more info.
Dos, Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, SunOS and Amiga are no longer supported (though we do preserve old versions for these platforms in our archives if you wish to access them).
If your platform is not supported and you are proficient in compiling source code programs written in C/C++, then you may like to retrieve the source for POV-Ray from our website and attempt to built it yourself (note that the POV-Team provides no official support for building POV-Ray from source code).
As of POV-Ray version 3.7 the Microsoft™ Windows™ versions of POV-Ray require Windows XP and later. We have had reports of v3.7 working on Windows 2000 with all service packs installed, however we cannot guarantee that this will remain the case indefinitely, as we do not test against W2K. If you have an older system you may like to look at POV-Ray version 3.6, which works on Windows 95 and up.
We supply both 32 and 64-bit versions of POVWIN which have been tested to run with AMD™ and Intel™ x86 and x64 processors. As of version 3.7, SMP systems are fully supported; by default POVWIN will use all available processing cores when rendering. For 32-bit systems, we supply both non-SSE2 and SSE2-enabled binaries. The installer will determine which is the most appropriate for your system at install time and install shortcuts to that executable (note however all executables are always placed in the bin folder regardless of the platform). For 64-bit systems there is only a single executable - a separate SSE version is not needed as all x64 CPU's have SSE2 available.
We recommend 100mb free disk space (the installation does not require that much, but room for temporary files during rendering is generally required) and at least 1gb free (i.e. available to POV-Ray at runtime) memory. POV's actual RAM requirement can vary greatly; it's possible to render files with as little as 30mb of free RAM, but typical needs are much greater than this. The actual use depends on what SDL files are provided for rendering and the image output options in use. We strongly recommend that you have sufficient RAM for rendering your scene files without resorting to swap - if a render hits the pagefile regularly it will completely destroy rendering performance.
Note: Accelerated graphics hardware (such as 3D cards) will not improve rendering performance. This technology is not currently aimed at raytracing but is, generally speaking, optimized for single-precision scanline rendering as used in games or other simulations. POV-Ray, like all raytracers, requires double-precision floating-point in order to be able to accurately render scenes.
- Required POV-Ray files: the setup EXE supplied via our download page. This file will be timestamped and digitally signed by Persistence of Vision Raytracer Pty Ltd. The key in use at the time of writing is issued by DigiCert and remains current until August 2014. All binaries (DLL's and EXE's) supplied by us for version 3.7 are also signed by this key.
- Optional: The source code is not needed to use POV-Ray. It is provided for the curious and adventurous. See the source-code links on our download page.
Note: System admins/lab techs who you wish to do custom installs of POV-Ray for Windows, should refer to their platform specific documentation for more details.
Linux for Intel x86/x64
The PC-Linux version should run on any GNU/Linux distribution based on the kernel 2.2 series or above using the ELF 32-bit format for executables. The binary is fully static, meaning that it has no external dependencies to system or third-party libraries. It includes support for two kinds of display: the standard text-based display and the graphics display using either the X Window System or the SVGA library.
Required hardware and software: An Intel Pentium-compatible CPU (i586 or better) and at least 32 MB of RAM. About 20 MB of disk space to install the program, its documentation, scenes and standard include files. A text editor capable of editing plain ASCII text files. Graphic file viewer capable of viewing image formats such as PNG, TIFF, PPM or TGA.
Required POV-Ray files: povlinux-3.7.tgz or povlinux-3.7.tar.gz - archive containing an official binary combining text, SVGALib and X Window displays. Also contains sample scenes, standard include files and documentation in HTML and plain ASCII text.
Recommended: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP (faster the better) with 128 MB (text console) / 256 MB (X Window running a window manager) or more RAM. A recent GNU/Linux distribution with kernel 2.4.x or above running KDE 3.x for full POV-Ray integration in the window manager. Alternatively, SVGA display preferably with VESA interface and high color or true color ability.
Note: Accelerated graphics hardware will not improve performance.
Optional: povray-3.7.tgz or povray-3.7.tar.gz - archive containing the generic UNIX/Linux C++ source code of POV-Ray for UNIX. The source code is not needed to use POV-Ray. It is provided for the curious and adventurous. The archive contains generic Unix parts and Linux specific parts (namely: support for SVGAlib). This package does also include sample scenes, standard include files and documentation. For displaying purposes, the SVGAlib and X11 (X Window) includes and libraries can be used by the source code of POV-Ray for UNIX. See the section related to the generic Unix source code package for further details.
The Macintosh version runs under Apple's Mac OS operating system version 8.6 (it may run on 8.1 and 8.5 as well, but we do not support POV-Ray 3.6 running on Mac OS 8.1 and 8.5) or newer with CarbonLib 1.0.4 or newer installed. Note that we no longer support 68K based Macintosh computers. POV-Ray 3.7 requires a Power Macintosh!
A Power Macintosh is any iMac, iBook, Mac G3, Mac G4, Mac G5, Cube, any older Mac with a four digit model number (i.e. 5200, 6300, 7200, 8100, 9600) and any third party computer running Mac OS 8.1 or later. Mac OS X 10.2 or later are supported but for maximum render speed it is not recommended to use Mac OS X.
Required hardware and software: Power Macintosh computer with at least 16 MB of free RAM. Mac OS 8.6 or newer with CarbonLib 1.0.4 or newer installed CarbonLib 1.0.4. About 20 MB free disk space to install and an additional 5-10 MB free space for your own creations (scenes and images). Graphic file viewer utility capable of viewing Mac PICT, GIF and perhaps TGA and PNG formats (the shareware GraphicConverter applications is good.)
Required POV-Ray files: POVPMAC.SIT or POVPMAC.HQX - a StuffIt archive containing the native Power Macintosh application, sample scenes, standard include files and documentation.
Recommended: Power Macintosh G3 with 64 MB or more of free RAM. Mac OS 9.0.4 or newer with CarbonLib 1.6 (works with Mac OS 8.6 or newer) to access all features of the Mac frontend. CarbonLib 1.6 is available for free download from Apple in the software update section of the Apple website. Color monitor with millions of colors.
Optional: The source code is not needed to use POV-Ray. It is provided for the curious and adventurous. POV-Ray can be compiled using Metrowerks CodeWarrior Pro 7.2 (for other compilers no project or make files are provided). Read the file "How to compile!" before compiling. There is no other support or help for compiling the source code! POVMACS.SIT or POVMACS.HQX - The full C source code for POV-Ray for Macintosh. Contains generic parts and Macintosh specific parts. It does not include sample scenes, standard include files and documentation so you should also get the executable archive as well.
Because Unix runs on a wide variety of hardware and CPUs, the POV-Team cannot provide executable versions for every kind of Unix systems. We distribute a generic, portable C++ source code suitable for running on Unix or Unix-like platforms. You will need a recent C++ compiler which follows the ISO C++ standard as close as possible, and (optionally) the X11 and/or SVGA include files and libraries (SVGAlib is for GNU/Linux based systems). Although we provide source code for generic Unix systems, we do not provide technical support on how to compile the program. Support may be obtained from the POV-Ray user community on the dedicated POV-Ray newsgroups (povray.unix at news.povray.org).
Required hardware and software: A UNIX operating system with 32 MB of RAM. A recent C++ compiler, a working make utility and Bourne-compatible shell; see the INSTALL file in the package for details. Graphic file viewer capable of viewing e.g. PNG, TIFF, PPM or TGA formats. A text editor capable of editing plain ASCII text files.
Required POV-Ray files: povray-3.7.tgz or povray-3.7.tar.gz - the C++ source code of POV-Ray for UNIX. Contains generic parts and UNIX/Linux specific parts. The package includes sample scenes, standard include files and documentation in HTML and plain text ASCII format.
Recommended: Math co-processor. 128 MB (text console) / 256 MB (X Window running a window manager) or more RAM.
Optional: The X Window System (e.g. XFree86) to be able to display the image while rendering. The X Window System is available on most UNIX platforms nowadays. On GNU/Linux platforms, the SVGAlib library can be an alternative to the X Window System, as it allows to display the rendered image directly on the console screen.
Each executable archive includes full documentation for POV-Ray itself as well as specific instructions for using POV-Ray with your type of platform. All versions of the program share the same ray-tracing features like shapes, lighting and textures. In other words, an Windows PC can create the same pictures as a Cray supercomputer as long as it has enough memory. The user will want to get the executable that best matches their computer hardware. In addition to the files listed above, the POV-Team also distributes the appropriate user documentation. Note this is the same documentation distributed in other archives but in a different format. This may be especially useful for Linux/Unix and Mac OS users because their documentation is in stand-alone HTML only at this time.
See the section Where to Find POV-Ray Files for where to find these files. You can contact those sources to find out what the best version is for you and your computer.
Where to Find POV-Ray Files
The latest versions of the POV-Ray software are available from the following sources.
World Wide Website www.povray.org
The internet home of POV-Ray is reachable on the World Wide Web via the address http://www.povray.org/ and via ftp as ftp://ftp.povray.org/. Please stop by often for the latest files, utilities, news and images from the official POV-Ray internet site. The POV-Team operates its own news server on the internet with several news groups related to POV-Ray and other interesting programs.
Beside the POV-Ray material mentioned in Books, Magazines and CD-ROMs, there are several good books or periodicals that you should be able to locate in your local computer book store or your local university library.
- "An Introduction to Ray tracing" Andrew S. Glassner (editor)
ISBN 0-12-286160-4; Academic Press; 1989
- "Realistic Image Synthesis Using Photon Mapping" Henrik Wann
ISBN: 1568811470; AK Peters; July 2001
- "3D Artist" Newsletter, "The Only Newsletter about
Affordable PC 3D Tools and Techniques")
Publisher: Bill Allen; P.O. Box 4787; Santa Fe, NM 87502-4787; (505) 982-3532
- "Image Synthesis: Theory and Practice" Nadia Magnenat-Thalman
and Daniel Thalmann;
- "The RenderMan Companion" Steve Upstill;
Addison Wesley; 1989
- "Graphics Gems" Andrew S. Glassner (editor);
Academic Press; 1990
- "Fundamentals of Interactive Computer Graphics" J. D. Foley
and A. Van Dam;
ISBN 0-201-14468-9; Addison-Wesley 1983
- "Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice (2nd Ed.)" J. D.
Foley, A. van Dam, J. F. Hughes;
ISBN 0-201-12110-7; Addison-Wesley; 1990
- "Computers, Pattern, Chaos, and Beauty" Clifford Pickover;
- "SIGGRAPH Conference Proceedings";
Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics
- "IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications"; The Computer
10662, Los Vaqueros Circle; Los Alamitos, CA 90720
The POV-Team no longer recommends books from CRC Press.
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