Tor Project

For those of you who that are interested in online anonymity, you should have a look at the TOR Project. It’s easy to install and has versions for the Windows, Linux/Unix, Mac and Android operating systems.

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Epspline version 0.0.4.4 has been released

Epspline (as in Edit-Povray-SPLINE) is a utility for POV-Ray users.

Epspline is a simple 2D graphical editor for POV-Ray lathe and prism objects. This release is enhanced with one new feature. It is now possible to place a background image in the drawing area. Hopefully this will help in tracing. A background image is set up through a dialog box. The dialog also provides a small number of image adjustments so that the image may be placed in the drawing area in a useful way. The documentation has a new section describing this new feature which may be invoked by a help button in the dialog box. The dialog box is invoked from the Tools menu.

You can download the new version, and see a few samples here.

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Making Containers with Epspline

Making containers just got easier for POV-Ray users, thanks to a great utility called Epspline!

Epspline builds easily on most Unix/Linux variants. In addition to some sort of Build Essential environment, the wxWidgets library is also required. It didn’t take much to get going, as the documentation is in pretty good shape. In about a half hour I was able to produce the two shapes (under dish and flowerpot) you see in the example below:

Lavender in a Flowerpot

Lavender in a Flowerpot


Before using Epspline you should already be familiar with the POV-Ray lathe and prism objects, the type of splines they use, and how they behave.

See Also:

  • POV-Ray: a spline based shapes tutorial
  • POV-Ray: the lathe object
  • POV-Ray: the prism object
  • Epspline: create and export flowerpot shapes
  • PoseRay: edit/convert 3ds plant model to POV-Ray format
  • UberPOV: create the environment and render the image
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UberPOV beta release

UberPOV v1.37.0.0-beta.5 has been released. This release features two improvements suggested by the user community.

  • Scenes with lots of fading light sources are now sped up, by computing the lights’ influence only within a certain radius.
  • Animations can now be parsed much faster by storing data in a new flavor of variable that persists across frames.

Interested in giving it a test drive? Go to the UberPOV GitHub to download the Windows binary or the source code.

See Also:

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Documentation Index

I’ve not been doing much raytracing lately, but I have been making some progress with cleaning up the problems found with the subject index that’s included with the windows version documentation. At release time there weren’t enough resources available to address a long standing problem with the post processing that generates the subject index … some of the links didn’t land at the proper place. I’m encouraged with my progress so far, and I’m considering making a subject index available for the Linux/Unix and Mac OS versions as well.

OK … now for the real reason for this post. I needed a way to get a user defined function (in this example ParseTags) to return more than one value. All you need to do is use the array specification in conjunction with the return in your user defined function, then use list to pick up the returned values when you call your function.

function ParseTags ($Linesworth) {

// misc code that populated $IndexList
// and the results of the preg_replace operation on $Linesworth

return array ($Linesworth, $IndexList);
} // end of function ParseTags

// misc code that sets up the call to ParseTags

list ($Linesworth, $IndexList) = ParseTags ($Linesworth);

Pretty cool … huh!

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Oversize Load

Interesting load came through work the other evening …

Oversize Load

Oversize Load

Just to give you an idea of the scale … the rig you see in the foreground is pulling a 53′ trailer and is not part of this load. At 42 paces I estimate it to be around 126 feet in length. I could have easily stood inside the opening at the end! I’m over six foot tall.

In this shot the tow vehicle has been detached, and the wheel sets rotated so it didn’t take up too much room. It was parked here more than several hours, due to road (time of day) restrictions.

In case you haven’t figured out yet … It’s part of a gas/oil refinery in Ohio.

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The Manna Machine

It’s true enough that inspiration sometimes come from the most unusual places … maybe this qualifies. One afternoon, while waiting at a local car dealership, I noticed someone reading a book! People don’t read books anymore right? I eventually got a look at the cover (interesting picture) and title, and did a little research when I got home. What I found (see the links below) led to the following rendition of The Manna Machine.

The Manna Machine

The Manna Machine

The machine itself was created entirely using POV-Ray CSG techniques. A single honeycombed wall panel was created then stepped (repeated) in the scene to produce the alcove walls and floor. UberPOV blurred reflections were applied on the spherical tanks. A High Dynamic Range image map wrapped around a sphere encloses the entire scene. Look closely at the reflections. UberPOV stochastic anti-aliasing helped clean up some artifacts associated with the low viewing angle of the floor.

The following tools and resources where used to create this image:

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Armillary

For my first post of the new year, I decided to finish up an old scene.

Armillary Sundial

Armillary Sundial

The armillary object was created entirely using POV-Ray CSG techniques. The tile floor is a single tile object, created with Blender, inspired by the POV-Ray tiling pattern seven. The single tile was then stepped (repeated) in the scene to produce the larger tile floor. UberPOV blurred reflections, and iridescence was used on the armillary brass material. The scene camera uses focal blur to enhance the depth of the scene.

The following tools and resources where used to create this image:

  • Blender: edit/create then export model (single tile)
  • PoseRay: edit/convert blender export to POV-Ray format
  • UberPOV: create the environment and render the image
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GitHub Changes for UberPOV

The UberPOV beta branch is now obsolete, so you should pull the source code from the develop branch using the process below:

mkdir uberdev
cd uberdev
git init
git config core.sparsecheckout true
echo LICENSE >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
echo README.md >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
echo revision.txt >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
echo changes.txt >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
echo source/ >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
echo unix/ >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
echo vfe/ >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
echo distribution/ >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
echo doc/ >> .git/info/sparse-checkout
git remote add -f develop https://github.com/UberPOV/UberPOV
git pull develop develop 

See the INSTALL file for build instructions. It’s easy to pull updates, all you have to do is …

cd uberdev
git pull develop develop

… and re-build!

See Also:

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Candies in a Dish

I’m really enjoying the blurred reflections feature in UberPOV, so here’s another image. Since I’ve written about blurred reflections before, I’m going to talk about preparing the dish model this time, because of the unique challenge it presented.

My original idea was to alter the shape of the dish from oblong to round, and thought a little scaling along a single axis could be used to easily change the dish shape. However that broke something, and I wasn’t able to export (from Blender) the altered model in the .3ds format needed for downstream processes. I’m sure it was something I was doing, because the unaltered model exported to .3ds just fine. It seemed that I’d reached an impasse until I discovered that Poseray could easily handle the scaling task and export to POV-Ray mesh2 format, however, I still needed to produce a .3ds version of the altered dish for use with Koppi’s Bullet Physics Playground. Poseray again saved the day, when I also exported the altered dish in .obj format. Blender was able to import that .obj file, then surprisingly enough, export a .3ds version that I was able to use in the physics playground.

Candies in a Dish

Candies in a Dish

The following tools and resources where used to create this image:

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