Chapter 11
Ray Tracing

In Section 1, we develop a data type for surfaces in space that maintains important connectivity data and surface normals. The new data type is especially important for preparing ray-tracing input from Mathematica graphics. Section 2 discusses ray tracing and Section 3 treats conversion utilities for preparing input from Mathematica graphics for two popular ray-tracing programs, POVray and rayshade. Section 4 shows how the color plates were generated. Finally, Section 5 shown an application: ray-traced stereo pairs of images that can give a true three-dimensional appearance.

Ray tracers make it feasible to produce stunning images with moderate effort. The graphics conversion programs described here allow you to tap Mathematica potential to easily create input for ray tracing.

Color Plates
Plate 4-a
Plate 4-b
Plate 4-c
Plate 7
Plate 9
Plate 10
Plate 11-a
Plate 11-b
Plate 12
Plate 13
Plate 16
Additional Material
POVray input for Plate 10.
Rayshade input for Plate 12.
Resources on the Internet
The POVray home page
The home page for the POVray program. By the time you read this, the new version POVray 3.0 should be available. Consult the update page for the availability of a new version of POVray.m supporting POVray 3.0.
Rayshade Homepage
The home page for the Rayshade program with documentation, samples, and the source distribution.

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Rev. 1.0, REM, © 1996 Roman E. Maeder