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PovRay UFO Kite Animation

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OpenGL vs PovRay Comparision
OpenGL UFO Kite Animation

After making an OpenGL version of a spinning UFO kite, I wanted to try the same thing using a raytracer. As their was really only one choice of raytracer that is commonly available and free for use, the choice of raytracer was simple -- PovRay -- Persistence of Vision Raytracer.

How was the UFO Created

Once I learnt the numerous options of povray available, it took me an equivelent amount of time to generate the same UFO object in povray as it did for me to program it into OpenGL. The UFO is exactly the same as that from OpenGL, except a real torus and disks are used, and not polygonal meshes, required by OpenGL.

In OpenGL most of the time involved was in the programming. But in povray the scene description itself was fast, small and simple, so my time there was involved more with scene parameters, like the bridle lines, ambient lighting, anti-aliasing.

Final Notes

The result is shown above (reload the page to re-activate the animation). the background and shadows work very well, and even the bridle lines get appropriately shadowed when the light is from behind the kite! That last would not be worth the effort in OpenGL, but is automatic in Povray.

The scene on my pentium II computer takes 13.1 seconds (povray is also good at statistics) and takes about 4 minutes to generate the full animate shown. This includes the final conversion to GIF, as options allow povray to call a small shell script to combine all the animation frames (in PNG format) to the optimised GIF animation (see image above). Not bad at all.

OpenGL though is quicker though it generally requires actual display hardware to do its job, and special sub-routines, so batch operation is much more difficult. Of course the result is not nearly as good as the above.


Created: 24 Feburary 2001
Updated: 24 Feburary 2001
Author: Anthony Thyssen, <anthony@cit.gu.edu.au>
URL: http://www.cit.gu.edu.au/~anthony/graphics/ufo_povray/