4 - Utilities and Other Software
Subject 4.1 - Image Display/Conversion Programs
* DISP - an excellent viewing and post-processing utility for DOS.
Available on simtel and mirrors.
* IMAGEMAGICK - An X-Windows based image display program (source
distribution), that also allows simple editing of images, such as
color modification, scaling, rotating, text annotation, etc. PNG
format images are now supported by ImageMagick. Available at:
* NEOPAINT - A useful DOS shareware paint package (registration US
$45) for creating images, height fields, etc, or just touching up
finished artwork. Available from wuarchive and mirrors.
* NETPBM - A collection of command-line utilities for most platforms
(source distribution). Executables available for most other
platforms like DOS, OS/2, Linux, and others. NetPBM utilities
convert practically any format to any other by using a common
intermediate file format, as well as allowing quantization,
cropping, combining, blur, and many other effects. Available at:
(Poskanzer et al., 1991-1994)
* PICLAB - An excellent package for converting and post-processing
images for DOS. (Crocker, 1990)
* QPV - The Quick Picture Viewer. A great utility for displaying and
converting images for DOS/Win systems. Formerly QPEG, QPV has been
improved, and has new features, such as the ability to read and
write PNG format images. (Fromme, 1995)
* XV - An X-Windows image display program (source distribution),
with simple image editing facilities, such as color editing,
scaling, rotation, and also filter effects for blurring, edge
detection, and others. A patch is available for XV 3.10 to support
PNG images via libpng and libgz. (Bradley, 1995)
Subject 4.2 - Format Conversion Utilities
Much of the following sections area taken from Amanda Osbourne's
<alo at northshore.ecosoft.com> "Raytrace Utilities for DOS (and MS-Windows)"
list. All are IBM PC based unless otherwise specified.
Various utilities for converting from one 3D file format to another:
* 3DSPOV - Reads 3d studio mesh files. Writes out to Raw, POV-Ray
(1 & 2), Vivid and Polyray. (Anger & Bowermaster, 1993)
* DEM2POV - This program (source distribution) converts US Geological
Survey (USGS) Digital Elevation Maps (DEM) to the TGA format
heightfields used by POV-Ray 2.2. Includes a large DEM file of the
region around the Grand Canyon. (Kirby, 1995)
* DXF2POV - DXF to POV-Ray 1 conversion program.
(Collins, Wells, Farmer & Gibeson, 1992)
* DXF2RAW - DXF to Raw conversion program.
(Coy, Barber, Daigle & Shiffman, 1992)
* DXF2V - DXF to Vivid conversion program.
(Coy, Barber, Daigle & Shiffman, 1992)
* DXF3DS - DXF to 3DS conversion program. (Yost/Autodesk, 1991)
* HUTIL101c - A set of utilities (source) for converting between
various POV-Ray heightfield formats (16-bit TGA, GIF, POT) as well
as OCT and Matlab 32-bit MAT files. In addition, it can combine
heightfields using arithmetic operators, join them together, scale,
and create spherical and cylindrical heightfields with triangle
meshes. See also HF-Lab. (Beale, 1995)
* IV2RAY - Converts SGI OpenInventor 2.0 (VRML 1.0) files to RayShade
files. Freely available from Cow House Productions web page at:
http://www.cowhouse.com/. (Cow House Productions, 1996)
* MRYPLY - Converts Moray files to PolyRay files.
* OBJ2ASC2 - Wavefront object to 3d studio ascii converter.
* RAW2PV - Excellent utility that allows the user to adjust the
level of smoothing to apply to raw data as it is translated to
POV-Ray (1 & 2.x), Polyray or Vivid 2. It can also add a camera
and light to the scene, making things fairly easy for the novice
user. (Anger, 1993)
* RAYL210 - Helpful utility to convert uLathe (an object creator
program for windows) files to RAW, POV-Ray 1 & 2.x or Vivid 2
format. (Koehler, 1993)
* TDDD2ASC - TDDD (Imagine) to 3D studio ascii file converter.
* WC2POV - Although wcvt2pov (MS-Windows) started out converting 3D
file formats to POV-Ray, wcvt2pov has become a generic 3D file
format conversion utility, with support for importing 3d studio,
Wavefront, NFF, DXF, TrueType Fonts, RAW triangles and some other
formats, and exporting 3ds, asc, POV-Ray, NFF, DXF, VRML,
Wavefront, Open GL 'C' code fragments, RAW triangles, and some
other formats. (Rule, 1995)
Subject 4.3 - Creation Creators
Utilities to aid in the creation of ray tacing objects:
* BOXER - Object generator for POV-Ray 1 (makes things like bathroom
tiles and such based upon user input). (Miller, 1993)
* BRANCH - Tree creator for POV-Ray 1. (Weller, 1992)
* CHAIN - Generates interlocking chain links for POV-Ray 1.0.
* CM - CircleMaster utility for working with quadric spheres and
ellipsoids; writes output to POV-Ray 1.0. (Brown, 1992)
* COIL - Creates coiled objects for POV-Ray 1.0. (Kirby, 1992)
* COILV - Creates coiled objects for Vivid 2. (Kirby & Cox, 1992)
* CTDS - Connects a series of xyz dot coordinates. Though this may
not sound like much, this is an extremely helpful utility.
Supports POV-Ray, Vivid and Polyray. (Brown, 1993)
* FORM - All sorts of shapes can be generated with this program.
Form files consist of both shapes and commands (like twistx and
bend) and output may be POV-Ray 1, 2 or .plg. Interesting program,
complementary to LPARSER. (Rowbottom, 1993)
* FRACTINT - The ultimate fractals generator for DOS, X-windows
source code, and distributed with the Linux Slackware games disks.
Great for creating height fields, colour maps, viewing gifs or just
creating fractals. (The Stone Soup Group, 1990-95)
* FRGEN - Fractal Landscape (and other shapes too) Generator.
Though the program supports Vivid and POV-Ray 1 & 2 directly, by
selecting raw output you can smooth triangles out with RAW2POV to
create nice hills and dales. (Anger, 1993)
* GEODOME - Utility for generating geodesic domes. Output to
POV-Ray 2.x format as either facets or a mesh of pipes and joints.
IBM PC executable, with source included. (Wardley, 1994)
* GFORGE - Graphical Fractal Forgery (source, DOS exe). Generates
16-bit heightfields for POV-Ray, using a high-quality algorithm:
the IFFT of 1/f noise. File formats include PGM, PNG, POV TGA
heightfield, and Matlab bin. Several parameters give you control
over the appearance of the output, which can range from sand to
hills to mountains. Useful also for 2D textures; the image always
tiles perfectly. Now also supports craters. (Beale, 1995)
* HFLAB - Heightfield Lab (DOS/UNIX source, DOS exe). Generates and
manipulates 16-bit heightfields for POV-Ray, using a variety of
mathematical and procedural algorithms. Has a graphical interface
for both DOS and X Windows. Allows the combination of two or more
heightfields by addition, multiplication, or side-by-side joining,
and many other operators. File formats include PGM, PNG, POV TGA
heightfield, and Matlab 32-bit floating point. (Beale, 1996).
* LEVCON - Level Connector. This takes an input image in PGM format
and does mathematical "smoothing" on the data to generate smoothly
varying surfaces. The input image tells LEVCON which levels are to
stay at their given height and which ones can change, and you tell
LEVCON how to go about connecting the fixed levels. See the classic
image kkteaset.jpg at the povray.org Hall Of Fame to get an idea
of what LEVCON can do (it made the tiles). (Kivisalo, 1995)
* LPARSER - L-system creator and mutator. This program is
particularly strong in the creation of organic looking forms. Many
example data files are included with the program. The language of
l-systems is not intuitive but the results can be truly stunning.
Outputs to DXF (both R12 and 3D faces), POV-Ray 2.x, RAW and
Renderstar VOL. A wire-frame viewer that reads .3DS, .RAW,
Fractint .RAY, ARE-24 .POL and Lparser/Renderstar .VOL files is
included. (Lapre, 1993)
* LV20POVID - Newer and more powerful than LV2POV, this program
reads an lviewer info file and generates data files in POV-Ray
(1 & 2.x) and Vivid formats. The program's main strength lies in
landscape generation. (van der Mark, 1993)
* TRMK - Terrain Maker (DOS) uses a triangle midpoint subdivision
algorithm to generate a variety of GIF heightfields.
* PLANT - Fractal plant generator. Outputs supported are POV-Ray
(1 & 2), Polyray and CTDS (Connect the dots smoother).
* SUDS - Random positioning of lots of spheres (or other objects)
based on a variety of selections. (Farmer, Wegner & Schwan, 1994)
* TORPATCH - This program creates a rope/wire object that passes
smoothly through supplied points out of a series of clipped tori.
Available as DOS EXE, and Turbo Pascal or C source. Can also
create a random tangle of wires. (Mackey & Beddes, 1996)
* TWISTER - Utility that will create spirals, coils, etc., of
blobs, cubes or sphere. IBM PC executable with source, output to
POV 2.x format. (Wardley, 1994)
Subject 4.4 - Texture Editors
* CMAP - Interactive color map creator for POV-Ray.
(Lutz & Kretzschmar, 1993)
* TCE - The color editor for POV-Ray 1. (Farmer, 1991)
* TCEV - The color editor for Vivid. (Farmer, 1991)
* TEXMAKE - Early version of a utility to assist in texture
creation in POV-Ray 2.x. (Sigler, 1993)
* TXMAG - Texture Magic is an interactive, 32-bit MS-Windows based
texture editor for POV-Ray 2.x, Assymetrix 3D F/X, and Autodesk
Subject 4.5 - Animation
* AERO - AERO is a X-Windows based physical simulation environment
suitable for making complex, realistic animations. Objects
(including the camera) can be given properties like mass,
velocity, and acceleration, constraints like springs and dampers
can be specified between objects, and then AERO performs
collision detection, position, and orientation calculations.
Output is to POV-Ray 1.0 or 2.x scene files.
(Keller, Stolz, Ziegler, Braunl, 1995)
* AWKANI - AWK script to output POV-Ray animation data.
* DTA - Dave's Targa Animator (DOS) converts .PNG, .TGA and many
other single image format frames into .FLI's and .FLC's and
back again. It can also do useful things like finding the best
256-color palette for a whole series of images. (Mason, 1995)
* MPEG_ENCODE - MPEG_ENCODE (source distribution, also many
executables) can take images in PPM and JPEG formats (as well
as other formats, if a ...toppm converter exists) to produce
a fully compliant MPEG 1 animation. It is possible to run
the encoding on multiple processors. It is available in many
locations (see 2 - FTP Sites, Web Sites, Mailing Lists)
(Rowe, et al, 1995)
* MPEG_PLAY - MPEG_PLAY (source distribution, also many executables)
displays MPEG 1 encoded animations on a large variety of systems.
(Rowe, et al, 1995)
* PPP - The POV and PolyRay Preprocessor allows scene files to be
created with conditional statements, loops, math functions,
vector math, and more to generate one or more scene files for
animation and complex object creation. (Wind, 1995)
* PVQUAN - PVQUAN (source) is a set of tools that allow you to create
.FLI creations on many platforms including UNIX and DOS. Source
code is provided and includes a hosts of useful functions like
quantisation, .GIF read, display, etc.
* RAYSCENE - Set of animation utilities, not raytracer specific.
(Jarik & Hassi, 1991)
* RTAG - Ray Tracing Animation Generator (not raytracer specific).
A powerful program with its own language which supports, amongst
other things, spline path generation. (Sherrod, 1993)
* SCEDA - SCEDA is a descendant of the SCED X-Windows modeller,
with enhancements to allow generation of multiple scene files
for an animation. (See also 3 - Modelling Software)
(McLaughlin & Chenney, 1996)
* SP - Spline paths for animations. Many output formats (POV-Ray,
Vivid, Polyray, 3DV, Wire 3D) and acceleration and deceleration
are supported as well. (Mason, 1992)
* ZOOM - Interpolates steps between two positions for POV-Ray 1.0.
Subject 4.6 - Miscellaneous Utilities
* POVMODE.EL - A mode for emacs to handle POV-Ray syntax. Available at:
Parent document is "Ray Tracing FAQ"
Previous document is "3 - Modelling Software"
Next document is "5 - Further Information and Resources"