POV-Ray(1) Version 3.7 POV-Ray(1)

povray - POV-Ray: The Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer

povray [+Ooutput_file] [+/-option ...] [input_file]

povray [+Iinput_file] [+Ooutput_file] [+/-option ...] [INI_file]

POV-Ray is a free, full-featured ray tracer, written and maintained by a team of volunteers on the Internet. On the UNIX platform POV-Ray can be compiled with support for preview capabilities using the X Window System.

This manual page only lists the basic POV-Ray and UNIX specific features and command-line options for this version of POV-Ray. For a complete description of the features of POV-Ray and its scene description language (a.k.a. POV-Ray SDL), or for a better explanation of the meaning of the command-line and INI file options, please consult the documentation that should accompany all versions of POV-Ray. The documentation is installed in PREFIX/share/doc/povray-3.7, where PREFIX is /usr/local by default, or a path specified when configuring the source package for compilation and installation.

Some of the UNIX-specific features are:

Support for X Window display automatically uses the best visual class and deepest depth available. For visuals that do not support 24 bits of color per pixel, Floyd-Steinberg error diffusion dithering is used, along with a dynamically allocated and optimized palette to produce the best display possible with the current visual, depth, and available colormap.
ICCCM compliance for the X Window version means that the preview window will behave like standard X Window programs, communicate properly with the window manager, and will accept the standard command-line options. See X(1) for more information.
ASCII graphics in the text-mode version allow a basic view of the current rendering on text-only terminals.
An interrupt handler allows rendering to be interrupted in a safe way, so that any data not currently written to disk will be saved before exiting. Control-C or SIGINT will cause a user abort, and save the current rendering, before exiting. See kill(1) for more information.
Platform and architecture-independent rendering means that the same scene will render in the same way on all computers and operating systems (with the exception of the rendering speed, of course).

Options can be specified with either a leading '+' or a leading '-'. Many options are switches, meaning a '+' turns the option on, and a '-' turns the option off. For other options, it doesn't matter if a '+' or a '-' is used. Most options cannot have spaces in them so you should specify +FN rather than +F N, and combining options is not allowed, so +SC is very different from +S +C. Options are not case sensitive.

The command-line options are shown below with their corresponding INI file options. If the same option is specified multiple times, whether in INI files or on the command-line, the last such option overrides any previous ones, with the exception of the +L or Library_Path option, which is cumulative.

Specifies the input file to use. If the input file name is '-', the scene description will be read from the standard input. The
Specifies a file as the first include file of a scene file. This can be used to always include a specific set of default include files used by all your scenes.
Specifies a directory to search for input files, include files, fonts, and image maps, if the specified file is not in the current directory. This may be specified multiple times to increase the number of directories to search.
Treat scene files as if they were version n.n instead of the current version. This may be overridden from within the scene file.
Split bounded CSG unions if children are finite. This allows automatic bounding of CSG objects to take place.
Remove unnecessary bounding objects. This allows automatic bounding of older scene files to take place.
Enable BVH (Bounding Volume Hierarchy) bounding (the default).
Enable BSP (Binary Space Partitioning) tree bounding.

The image should be n pixels high.
The image should be n pixels wide.
Start the rendering at row n from the top of the screen.
Start the rendering n percent from the top of the screen.
End the rendering at row n from the top of the screen.
End the rendering at n percent from the top of the screen.
Start the rendering at column n from the left of the screen.
Start the rendering at n percent from the left of the screen.
End the rendering at column n from the left of the screen.
End the rendering at n percent from the left of the screen.
Continue a previously interrupted trace.
If previewing, pause when the rendering is complete before closing the window.
Output verbose status messages on the progress of the rendering.
Set warning level to n.
Enable the 'q' and 'Q' keys to interrupt a rendering in progress.
Only check every n pixels for a user abort.

Output options - display related:

Display the rendering in progress, optionally specifying the palette. The only valid X Window palette option is G, which forces grayscale preview. The X Window palette is based on the visual used, whether selected automatically by POV-Ray or via the -visual option. To specify the palette, you must first specify the display type (the second character, shown here as '0') for compatibility reasons, even though it is ignored in UNIX versions.
Start mosaic preview with blocks n pixels square.
End mosaic preview with blocks n pixels square.
Draw vista rectangles before rendering has been deprecated.

Output options - file related:

Store the rendered image using one of the available formats, namely Compressed TGA, OpenEXR, Radiance High Dynamic-Range, JPEG, PNG, PPM, System specific (PNG) and TGA.
Write the output to the file named output_file, or the standard output if '-' is given as the output file name.
Sets the allowable size of the output image cache in megabytes.

Use automatic bounding slabs if more than n objects are in the scene.
Render at quality n. Qualities range from 0 for rough images and 9 for complete ray-tracing and textures, and 10 and 11 add radiosity.
Do antialiasing on the pixels until the difference between adjacent pixels is less that 0.n, or the maximum recursion depth is reached.
Specify the method of antialiasing used, non-adaptive (n = 1), or adaptive antialiasing (n = 2).
Specify maximum radius, in pixels, that antialiased samples should be jittered from their true centers.
Set the maximum recursion depth for antialiased pixel sub-sampling.
Use alpha channel for transparency mask.
Use light buffer to speed up rendering has been deprecated.
Use vista buffer to speed up rendering has been deprecated.

Render a single frame of an animation with the clock value n.n.
Specify the initial frame number for an animation.
Specify the final frame number for an animation. This must be set at a value other that 1 in order to render multiple frames at once.
Specify the clock value for the initial frame of an animation.
Specify the clock value for the frame final of an animation.
Render a subset of frames from an animation, starting at frame n.
Render a subset of frames from an animation, starting n percent into the animation.
Render a subset of frames from an animation, stopping at frame n.
Render a subset of frames from an animation, stopping n percent into the animation.
Generate clock values for a cyclic animation.
Render alternate frames using odd/even fields, suitable for interlaced output.
Start a field rendered animation on the odd field, rather than the even field.

Write all INI parameters to a file named after the input scene file, or one with the specified name.
Write the stream to the console and/or the specified file. The streams are All_File (except status), Debug_File, Fatal_File, Render_File, Statistics_File, and the Warning_File.

In addition to the standard command-line options, POV-Ray recognizes additional command-line switches related to the X Window System. See X(1) for a complete description of these options.

Display preview on display_name rather than the default display. This is meant to be used to change the display to a remote host. The normal dispay option +d is still valid.
Render the image with WIDTH and HEIGHT as the dimensions, and locate the window XOFF from the left edge, and YOFF from the top edge of the screen (or if negative the right and bottom edges respectively). The WIDTH and HEIGHT, if given, override any previous Wn and Hn settings.
Display the X Window System-specific options. Use -H by itself on the command-line to output the general POV-Ray options.
Start the preview window as an icon.
Override the default preview window title with window_title.
Use the deepest visual of visual_type, if available, instead of the automatically selected visual. Valid visuals are StaticGray, GrayScale, StaticColor, PseudoColor, TrueColor, or DirectColor.

Currently no X resource or app-default files are supported for the X Window options.

POV-Ray for UNIX allows a povray.ini file in the current directory to override the individual setting in $HOME/.povray/3.7/povray.ini. POV-Ray looks for initial configuration information, like the Library_Path settings, which gives the location for the standard include files, first in the environment variable $POVINI, then in ./povray.ini, then in $HOME/.povray/3.7/povray.ini, then in PREFIX/etc/povray/3.7/povray.ini. The PREFIX directory can be changed at compile-time using the --prefix option of the configure script. For backward compatibility with POV-Ray version 3.5 and earlier, the $HOME/.povrayrc and $PREFIX/etc/povray.ini files are also searched for when none of the above files were found.

Since version 3.5 POV-Ray features an I/O Restriction mechanism. I/O Restrictions attempt to at least partially protect a machine running POV-Ray from having files read or written outside of a given set of directories. The settings are defined in two configuration files, a system-level PREFIX/etc/povray/3.7/povray.conf file and an user-level $HOME/.povray/3.7/povray.conf file with more restrictive settings. As of POV-Ray 3.6 the format of these configuration files has changed, and no backward compatibility is retained with the configuration files in POV-Ray 3.5. See the documentation for further details and examples of I/O Restriction settings.

povlegal.doc should accompany all installations of POV-Ray, and outlines specific conditions and restrictions on the POV-Ray software. A condition of povlegal.doc requires that documentation, INI and scene files be available to all users of POV-Ray. Scene and INI files are typically installed in PREFIX/share/povray-3.7, and documentation in PREFIX/share/doc/povray-3.7, but these may be in other locations on some systems.

The most recent version of POV-Ray and its documentation can always be retrieved via anonymous FTP at ftp.povray.org or via HTTP at povray.org, as well as many other locations.

X(1), kill(1), The POV-Ray Manual

Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer (POV-Ray)
Copyright 1991-2013 Persistence of Vision Raytracer Pty. Ltd.

For further information see the file povlegal.doc that comes with this program.

The X Window System is
Copyright 1984 - 1991 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Copyright 1992 - 1996 the X Consortium, Inc.
Copyright 1998 the Open Group, L.L.C.
Copyright 1999 - 2004 the X.Org Foundation, L.L.C.

The terms Persistence of Vision Raytracer and POV-Ray are trademarks of Persistence of Vision Raytracer Pty. Ltd.

UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the US and other countries.

Before reporting a bug to our bug-tracking system bugs.povray.org you should make sure you have the latest version of the software, in case the bug has already been fixed. There are a large number of POV-Ray users on the POV-Ray newsserver news.povray.org and a list of available groups can be found on povray.org/resources/newsgroups. You should try to find help and assistance in there before lodging a bug report.

Primary POV-Ray 3.7 Architects/Developers: (Alphabetically)

Chris Cason Thorsten Froehlich Christoph Lipka

With Assistance From: (Alphabetically)

Ton van den Broek Nicolas Calimet Jerome Grimbert James Holsenback
Christoph Hormann Nathan Kopp Juha Nieminen

Past Contributors: (Alphabetically)

Steve Anger Eric Barish Dieter Bayer David K. Buck
Nicolas Calimet Chris Cason Aaron A. Collins Chris Dailey
Steve Demlow Andreas Dilger Alexander Enzmann Dan Farmer
Thorsten Froehlich Mark Gordon James Holsenback Christoph Hormann
Mike Hough Chris Huff Kari Kivisalo Nathan Kopp
Lutz Kretzschmar Christoph Lipka Jochen Lippert Pascal Massimino
Jim McElhiney Douglas Muir Juha Nieminen Ron Parker
Bill Pulver Eduard Schwan Wlodzimierz Skiba Robert Skinner
Yvo Smellenbergh Zsolt Szalavari Scott Taylor Massimo Valentini
Timothy Wegner Drew Wells Chris Young

Other contributors are listed in the documentation.

POV-Ray is based on DKBTrace 2.12 by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins.

July 2021 POV-Team