Documentation:Windows Section 3

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Command-Line Options

Options are what previous versions of POV-Ray used to refer to as command-line options. The term is no longer accurate for POV-Ray since version 3.5, because the command line is only one way of passing options to the program. There are now four ways you can pass an option to POV-Ray:

  1. You can store it in the POVRAY.INI file in the POV-Ray's 'RENDERER' directory. This is a special INI file. Whenever you start up POV-Ray for Windows, the program looks for a file called RENDERER\POVRAY.INI in the POV-Ray's home directory. This means POV-Ray for Windows always starts up with the settings defined in POVRAY.INI. If you want to make changes to the way POV-Ray works by default, you should make them in POVRAY.INI. The Tools menu contains an entry to edit the master POVRAY.INI.
  2. You can store it in a POVRAY.INI file in the current directory. POV-Ray looks for a POVRAY.INI file in the current directory whenever it starts rendering, but after it has read any POVRAY.INI file in the POV-Ray's 'RENDERER' directory. Options in an INI file in the current directory override options in any copy of POVRAY.INI in the POV-Ray's home directory.
  3. You can store it in an INI file created for a particular scene. Dropping an INI file into the POV-Ray window will not itself override any options in other previously activated INI files, including POVRAY.INI; you would have to start a render using the INI file dropped (unless Options | Other Settings | Drag'N'Drop Destination is set to 'RENDERER'), in which case dropping an INI file will start a render using that INI. Any options not included in the INI file will be unchanged, that is to say, they will remain as the master POVRAY.INI set them.
  4. You can enter it on the command line (see Command Line Dialog or the Toolbar Command Line). Any command-line option overrides corresponding options in either POVRAY.INI or any other INI file loaded during the current session. POV-Ray for Windows interprets the command line from left to right, so that any option (or INI file) on the command line overrides a corresponding option (or another INI file) to its left on the command line.

Home Directory

The 'Home Directory' is the file folder on your computer that the user-editable files for POVWIN are stored. The default for this has changed in version 3.7. In prior versions, the home directory was the same directory that the POV-Ray program itself was installed in. Due to changes required to support Windows Vista and later, POVWIN now installs in two folders: the first, holding the program and any support files that are not user-specific (such as the help), is placed wherever you specified it be placed during install. If you accepted the default and are running under Windows XP, this will be in your c:\Program Files folder. If you are running under Vista or later, the default location for a single-user install is C:\Users\<Your User Name>\AppData\Local\Programs\POV-Ray. This is as per Microsoft recommendations for installation of binaries for a single user.

The location of the user-editable files (include and INI files, sample scenes, insert menu, etc) in all cases is now C:\Users\<Your User Name>\Documents\POV-Ray\ (C:\Documents and Settings\Users\... for XP).

Special Command-Line Options

POV-Ray for Windows supports several special command-line options not recognized by other versions.

Note: Do not confuse the term 'command-line options' in this section with the toolbar command-line. The command-line we are referring to here is the one used to start the POV-Ray for Windows executable file (pvengine.exe). The following special command-line options cannot be used on the toolbar command-line or in the command-line dialog.

  • The /DEMO command tells POV-Ray to run its demonstration render. All other options on the command-line are ignored.
  • The /EXIT command tells POV-Ray to perform the render given by the other command-line options, combined with previously-set options such as internal command-line settings, INI file, source file, and so forth, and then to exit. By default, if this switch is not present, POV-Ray for Windows will remain running after the render is complete. This switch only applies to renders started by other options on the command-line. It will not affect renders started manually from within POV-Ray for Windows itself.
  • The /NR command (same as /NORESTORE) tells POV-Ray for Windows to not attempt to restore any previous edit sessions (i.e. files that were open in the editor). This is handy when you had a large number of files open and you don't want them taking up time loading.
  • The /RENDER command tells POV-Ray for Windows to render the file following. Only one command is permitted on the command-line. Wildcards are not permitted.
  • The /EDIT command causes POV-Ray to load the following file into an editor. You can have multiple commands on the command-line, with one file per command. The filenames may not contain wildcards.
  • The /EDITDLLPATH normally would not be needed, unless the DLL isn't in the expected location and isn't stored with the EXE. It excepts a PATHNAME as an argument.

Note: When supplying a filename with spaces in it, you will need to enclose the filename itself within quotes.

Adding New Resolutions

The 'Preset Rendering Options' drop-down combobox on the toolbar provides a quick way of choosing previously specified sets of rendering options. The contents of this combobox can be modified. Here's how to do it.

All the resolution and rendering options that are available in the combobox mentioned above, are in fact loaded from an INI file. The INI file is called QUICKRES.INI by default, and is located in the INI folder within the POV-Ray documents folder referred to above. This file is known as the 'secondary INI file' (or 'resolution INI file') because it is loaded after the main POVRAY.INI (see INI Files for more information). You can also change the current secondary INI file selection from the Render Settings dialog.

An easy way to edit the secondary INI file is to select 'Edit Resolution INI File' from the Tools menu. Each section (delimited by '[' and ']') in this file will, once POV-Ray for Windows is restarted, be loaded into the resolution combobox for you to choose. Of course, you are not limited to resolutions; the sections can contain any valid POV-Ray INI file options, such as output file type, anti-aliasing, radiosity settings, etc.

To add a new resolution, just add a new section and re-start POV-Ray. Here's an example of what you could add to insert the new resolution 1600 x 1200 with AA 0.3. The entry will appear on the resolution list with the name 'Big and Slow' -

[Big and Slow]

The name of the section between the square brackets ('Big and Slow') is what you see in the resolution list.

One more thing - you don't need to add a new resolution to the INI file if you don't want to. You can still, as always, specify an arbitrary resolution on the command-line via the Render Settings Dialog mentioned above or via the toolbar command-line.

Note: One occasional mistake made by users of previous versions of POV-Ray for Windows was to assume that the list of resolutions available in the above toolbar combobox was fixed and unable to be changed (some even thought that POV-Ray could not render any resolutions other than those listed in the combobox ... despite the documentation saying otherwise). This is a good illustration of the need to read documentation.

For Those Who use an Image Output Directory Windows

This document is protected, so submissions, corrections and discussions should be held on this documents talk page.