POV-Ray Free Software

POV-Ray free software

POV-Ray, or the Persistence of Vision Raytracer, is a cross platform ray tracing engine for creating striking 3D, photo-realistic graphics. Available for various computer platforms, this freeware was initially based on DKBTrace developed by Aaron A. Collins and David Kirk Buck. POV-Ray’s source code is available.


POV-Ray features a library of ready-made objects, textures, and scenes; refractions, reflections, and light caustics that use photon mapping; surface patterns like bumps, ripples, and wrinkles for use in bump mapping and procedural textures; and image format support for rendered output and textures, such as JPEG, TGA, PNG, among others.

POV-Ray also has Turing-complete scene description language (SDL) that supports loops and macros, support for several constructive solid geometry (CSG) and geometric primitives, and atmospheric effects like media and fog (clouds, smoke). What’s more, the freeware features radiosity, several types of light sources, and extensive user documentation.


POV-Ray has remained one of the best quality rendering engines available for PCs after all these years because it’s really good at what it does. Many users have been fans since the middle of the 1990’s, when POV-Ray was only few of the 3D engines affordable at the time. Today, it’s still preferred by many users even with the increasing accessibility and availability of other 3D apps.

Who wouldn’t be impressed by POV-Ray, in the first place? For one, the ray tracing is outstanding in almost all aspect, creating astonishing effects not available with other engines. In addition to cost, POV-Ray is more advantageous compared to other software in terms of cross-platform nature and access to source code.  Moreover, being freeware, the POV-Ray users are considered among the most supportive communities in all of computing.

Advise for first time POV-Ray users

However, first time POV-Ray users should be informed that it has incredibly little GUI and the learning curve is somewhat steep. If you’re a first timer, don’t expect to master POV-Ray in a snap of a finger. Perhaps a year or two will do if you have the leaning for it, after you master Photoshop for UV mapping of textures.

On a positive note, you need to master the language to make all other 3D apps with a GUI seem somewhat easy and simple to learn.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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