File Conversion Utilities

Height Field Utilities
Modeling Utilities

General Utilities


Utilities as the name suggests perform a wide variety of functions. There's a range of utilities available and we've divided them into four categories. File conversion utilities are listed first, followed by heightfield utilities, modeling utilities then general utilities which don't fit any of the other categories.

File Conversion Utilities

dxfPr is a DXF to POV-Ray file converter. It takes a DXF file as input and converts it to a POV-Ray triangle mesh objects. It can also smooth the resulting meshes above a user specified breaking angle. dxfPR is written in Java so should run on any computer with a Java Virtual Machine. The author has only tested it on Macintosh. I've found dxfPR to perform flawlessly on every model I've run through it. Converting large files consumes a lot of RAM, but dxfPR gracefully informed me when it didn't have enough memory to perform a conversion. Being a Java program it tends to run a little slowly even on a fast computer, and the lack of a progress indicator during conversions can make you think it has locked up your computer, however I have never had it crash. One other thing to remember is you can end up with some large triangle mesh files which take a lot of memory and a long time to parse.

A Mac port of a series of programs for generating objects for raytracer benchmarking. This includes a couple of file converters including a dxf reader which can output POV-Ray. I got spotty results with this.
The current version of MacSPD is 3.11a

A quick Mac port by Michael Louka of the original program by Paul Thiessen which is available for PC and SGI here. Converts a VRML file into a static POV-Ray scene.
The current version of VRML2POV is 0.5

am2pov is a Hash Animation Master plug-in which adds exporting to POV-Ray as an option in Animation Master. Available for Windows and Macintosh, this is apparently a fairly early and feature incomplete version. The web page says it exports AM patches as bezier patches for POV-Ray.

A Mac port, courtesy of Smellenbergh, of an original Windows conversion program for Poser files. Converts OBJ files exported by Poser 4 to POV-Ray code and Moray UDO files. It was written for and has only been tested with OBJ files created by version 4 of Poser. Also, of course, the Moray file will do you no good if you dont't have a Windows box to run it on. Unfortunately there is currently no home page for the Windows version of PoseRay and I don't know a URL where it can be downloaded.
The current Mac version of PoseRay is beta 0.1
RAW2POV RAW2POV is a command line program for Mac OS X, which converts RAW triangle files to POV triangle or smooth triange primitives. Diego Krota, developer of D-form, has done this port of the original RAW2POV utility Steve Anger wrote for MS-DOS, which can be obtained at Steve's web site here. The older POV Utilities contain a Mac version of this utility which runs under the classic versions of Mac OS.

Height Field Utilities

Terrainman is a terrain generating program for the Mac. It takes a grayscale PICT file and generates a terrainwith height based on each pixel's brightness. Terrainman outputs in DXF format which can then be converted to POV-Ray triangles using dxfPR. Terrainman performs the function it was created for well, however, at a sufficient resolution for relatively smooth mountains you get huge include files so this is not generally an ideal solution for POV-Ray. Terrainman has apparently not been updated in years.
Terrainman is $10 shareware and the latest version is 2.0.1

LandSculptor 3D
LandSculptor 3D is small terrain making application which, like Terrainman outputs DXF files. Rather than creating your image file for the height field in another program, LandSculptor 3D has tools to create it within the application. It also displays a 3D preview of the resulting heightfield. This is also an old program and has not been updated in years.
LandSculptor's version is 1.2.1

MacDEM PPC displays, edits and converts digital elevation models (DEM). These are topographic maps available from the US Geological Survey. MacDEM can export these files as Targa files for use in POV-Ray heightfield objects.
The current version of MacDEM PPC is beta .0.8.2

Another utility which takes DEM files and outputs a Targa file for use in a POV-Ray heightfield object. Not as fully featured as MacDEM PPC, this program just converts the DEM files for use in POV-Ray.
The current version of MacDEM2POV is 1.2

FracHill is another program from Paul Bourne, who wrote Vision 3D. FracHill generates heightfields using a fractal algorithm. You can give it a random seed to work from, define a water level and a height-based color map. There are also several levels of resolution. FracHill outputs to several formats including POV-Ray.
The current version of FracHill is 1.2

For creating your own images to use as a map for a heightfield some kind of paint program is indispensible. In Photoshop using the airbrush tool with white on a black background is ideal for making height maps. Or a single run of the clouds filter with default foreground and background colors will generate an instant image suitable for a mountain range. Photoshop also saves in several formats including Targa, GIF, and PNG. While I'm just listing Photoshop here, any paint software with similar capabilities can be used for this purpose.
The current version of Adobe Photoshop is 6.0

Modeling Utilities

D-form is a Mac only utility which takes a polygonal mesh or bezier patch object and allows you to apply various deformations to it. D-form supports several file format including RAW triangle, Amapi .txt, Vision 3D .vtxt and DXF. This allows D-form to also be used as a file converter. I've had mixed results using it for this purpose with problems triangulating some objects. Another nice feature is its ability to read a POV-Ray file and search for bicubic patch objects and display a wireframe of them in a window for editing.
The current version of D-form is 1.3.2a

EPStoPOV is a nice Mac only utility for creating lathe, SOR, prism or polygon objects. Written with Hypercard, this little utility takes an EPS file of a bezier curve outline created in a draw program such as Illustrator or Freehand and generates a POV-Ray include file with the code for your chosen object. It's simple to use, works well and should run on virtually any Mac with a copy of Hypercard Reader. While MacMegaPOV has a built in spline editor for the same purpose, if you have access to a drawing program, this program offers a much more powerful option for creating lathes and prisms, etc.
The current version of EPStoPOV is 1.0

The previous utility brings us to this item. Used in conjunction with EPStoPOV, Illustrator gives you powerful tools for creating outlines to use for lathe, SOR, prism and polygon objects. The ability to mirror outlines make it easy to create symmetrical shapes. You can enter text with the type tool then change it to outlines. This would be one way to use a font for a text object that you may not be able to convert to a PC truetype font. The author of EPStoPOV has tested his program with Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand. Other drawing programs which can output EPS files such as CorelDraw or Canvas should also work.
The current version of Adobe Illustrator is 9.0.1

General Utilities

POV Utilities
POV Utilities is an old Mac port of a collection of DOS POV-Ray utilities. They include utilities for generating shapes such as shells and Lissajous curves. Another utility named Swoop can be used for creating swept shapes out of polygons. There are also some general utilities like a DXF converter which unfortunately drops some faces so it isn't real useful. There is a triangle smoothing utility though which takes an unsmoothed triangle file and regenerates it with smoothed normals using the breaking angle you specify. This utility works quite well. While POV Utilities is fairly old and outputs POV-Ray version 2 language some of the utilities are still useful and you can generally edit the output file to work with version 3.1 if necessary.
POV Utilities version is 2.1

3D-Filmstrip is a mathematical visualization program for Macintosh. It handles plane curves, space curves, surfaces, polyhedra, conformal maps, waves, and various kinds of differential equations. It comes with a large number of built-in mathematical objects. It also allows for user defined objects. 3D-Filmstrip has its own 3D display of objects and allows for various animation options within the program. It comes with a converter program which will convert files saved in it's native format to POV-Ray.
The current version of 3D-Filmstrip is 7.1.3b

POV-Ray is an Applescript applet which opens the system color picker allowing you to choose a color. It converts this color into a POV-Ray rgb color statement and places it on the clipboard so you can paste it into your scene or include file. POV-Ray Colorizer is a handy little utility which makes defining colors in POV-Ray quick and easy.
The current version of POV-Ray Colorizer is 1.0

Mac Mingle is a utility that puts two pictures together in one 3D density file in the new POV-Ray 3.1 DF3 file format. Unfortunately there is no executable that I'm aware of right now but author Joost Egelie has made the source code available in the hopes that someone will produce a finished app with it.
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This page last updated Sunday, June 10, 2007