Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cover art design with PovRay 3

Every Pov-Ray newbie should start at the Pov-Ray organization's web site:

http://www.povray.org/

There, you can download the latest version of Pov-Ray, read tons of Pov-Ray documentation, look at amazing galleries of art created with Pov-Ray, find ancillary software that you can use with Pov-Ray, and acquire libraries of Pov-Ray objects that you can insert into your own renderings.

I use Windows, and my Pov-Ray installation was easy. When you open the application, you can choose to open a .pov script editing window [in which you write and save your scripts]. Whenever you get to a point where you think you can render the script, you simply click on an icon, and Pov-Ray will try to render your image.

In practice, especially for people new to Pov-Ray, you will build your first images by taking parts of sample .pov scripts created by others, and placing them into your own scripts. You will repeatedly render the images, making changes in the positions of the camera and lighting, in selection of colors, texture, and size, in modifications of the properties of textures and pigments, until you are happy with the rendered image, and then it becomes "your own". You will eventually add new objects into your image. Eventually, you might reach the stage where most, if not all, of the image is entirely your creation. Even then, you will be indebted to hundreds of Pov-Ray enthusiasts whose works led you to a level of competence.

Like so many other programming languages, you can write your first simple .POV script in under an hour, and you can spend the remainder of your life sharpening your skills.

Pov-Ray needs a little help for certain types of objects. 3-D text is actually very difficult to create "from scratch" in Pov-Ray. For text, you might want to use another freely available software application, Breeze Designer.

Breeze Designer is available at:

http://www.imagos.fl.net.au/

For the cover image I created a few days ago, I used Breeze Designer to make the text object, then I simply copied the object specifications from Breeze Designer and pasted them into my Pov-Ray script for the cover image. Then I added a marble texture to the text.


Click on image for larger size

Finally, I positioned the text on top of the globe from the scene, to produce the final image.


Click on image for larger size

Pov-Ray blends geometry, mathematics, and programming, and art. The online Pov-Ray tutorials are excellent.

- © 2010 Jules Berman

tags: graphic art, 3-D rendering, cover art, self-publishing