Ray tracing image from June 2010’s PCPlus

I’ve just sent off June 2010’s article for PCPlus to my editor, just a smidgeon late. A couple of days is all. It’s on ray tracing, something I’ve wanted to discuss and play around with for a while. I downloaded POV-Ray, an open-source ray tracing renderer for Windows, OSX, and Linux to use as a test-bench, and spent some fun hours with it.

PCPlus logoFor the article I had to create an original image. Well, not ‘had to’ exactly, but I thought it only right that I show something that didn’t come from wikipedia or some other ray tracing enthusiast’s site. I certainly didn’t want to show the standard reflective ball hovering over a checkerboard image, although I admit snagging the sphere code from Christoph Hormann’s site. I decided to go for an image showing a 6×10 pentomino solution, since the previous article was about pentominoes and how to solve geometric puzzles with them.

Here’s the final image, after I’d spent entirely too much time this morning messing around with various options instead of completing the ruddy article.

Raytraced pentomino solution

(Click to make larger.) In essence I wanted to show off most of the topics I discussed in the article in one image. The pentominoes are translucent, so the shadow is colored. There are two light sources, a main white one and a slightly reddish-tinged dim one. The spheres reflect each other, the solution, and the shadows.

If you’ve downloaded POV-Ray and want to generate this image yourself, here’s the code. If you want to read the article, buy PCPlus’ June issue when it hits the newsstands, or wait until June 2011 when I’ll publish it here on this blog.

Album cover for Shepherd MoonsNow playing:
Enya - Marble Halls
(from Shepherd Moons)


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2 Responses

#1 Anders Isaksson said...
22-Mar-10 12:40 AM

"... after I’d spent entirely too much time this morning messing around with various options ..."

Heh, heh. Watch out, you might get hooked and waste your time tweaking parameters and say to yourself "just this one render too...".

A couple of years ago I was there, but I'm out of it now, honestly, cross my heart etc. - there's just this tiny adjustment I need to do on this...


julian m bucknall avatar
#2 julian m bucknall said...
22-Mar-10 7:54 AM

Anders: Nice image! I bet that took more than the, oh, I don't know, not more than 4 hours, honest, really I was just waiting for the dinner to cook, time it took me to knock up the pentomino shot. :)

Cheers, Julian

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