POV-Ray graphics coursework

A fine example of the power of POV-Ray - taken from Hall of Fame

Computer Graphics 2 (CS-307) is by far my favourite module that I’ve taken at Swansea. I find the immediate applications of the theory really interesting and love the way coding graphics allows you to completely change the scene with just a few lines of code – results immediately visible. I’ve also had a keen interest in the games industry for a number of years, following a number of developers such as the legendary Peter Molyneux and smaller indie developers such as Mojang and Wolfire.

The Graphics module isn’t a direct application of games however but I still find it massively interesting. The software that the lecturer (Dr Mark Jones) has decided to give examples in  is POV-Ray or the “Persistence of Vision ray-tracer”. Before the course, I must admit I’d not heard of it but it’s a very impressive ray tracer capable of very realistic scenes given enough time and effort (render time can be weeks for some of the more in-depth scenes). Some of the incredible projects people have made can be found in the Hall-of-fame.

Our  coursework for the module is split into 3 parts:

  1. A simple scene rendered in POV-Ray to demonstrate basic scene description ability.
  2. An essay based on a complex function of our choice that’s available in POV-Ray. I have chosen to study “The use of fog in gaming”
  3. The third coursework is by far the most interesting to me. It is an open ended project requiring us to demonstrate a number of the computer graphics techniques taught in the course in POV-Ray. I intend to make a detailed interior of a house (possibly on an island or beach front).

If you are interested in writing your own scenes in POV-Ray simply visit the download page and get started :). Tutorials on the scene description language it uses (also called POV-Ray) can be found here.

Thanks for reading, check back soon to see how I got on with my first coursework.

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