Ray Tracing the Frames with POV-Ray

Because the frames for movies don't have to be generated in real time we can take advantage of using ray-tracers such as Pov-Ray to render the individual frame images. This takes more time for the computer than taking screenshots but POV-Ray offers greater control over the lighting in our scenes. With it we can make beautifully complex shadowy scenes with very little effort on our part. Pov-Ray is free open source software and can be downloaded from http://www.povray.org/download/.

For this tutorial you will need POV-Ray 3.7, Seamless3d 3.009 or up and the FFmpeg installer for Seamless3d 64 bit installed.

Create the frames for POV-Ray

The animation created for a future tutorial: Creating a Simple Realistic Animated Female Step by Step will be used as an example for this tutorial. You can download the example file from this link: simple-realistic-animated-female.zip

Unzip and put the simple-realistic-animated-female.smls file in a new empty folder and double click it to open it into Seamless3d:

Set the resolution of the frames to 1280 by 720 pixels by setting the Seamless3d window to this pixel size. To do this click settings-button to open the settings control panel and set the win3dSize field to 1280 720:

If the window size was not already set to this size, close down seamless and reopen (and the file) again for the window size specification to take affect.

Select export->movie in the file menu and check the povRay check box in the ExportMovie control panel:

This causes a PovLight node to be inserted as the first node in the Scene:

You can change the direction of the light (you won't see any change untill povray renders the frames), by clicking on the PovLight node in the scene tree window and changing the PovLight's location field.

Click to go into animation mode and right click on the Anim bar and select, output povray movie:


When done we will get a message showing we have created the following files:

and we are prompted to open the ini file in Pov-Ray, click Yes:

If we are prompted to enable the POV-ray editor we can click Yes:

and install the editor file after it has downloaded. Then this prompt will not show again after we output to POV-ray and POV-ray will automatically be opened with the ini file (simple-realistic-animated-female.ini). Alternativly we can drag the ini file into POV-ray to open it without installing the editor but without the editor we have to do this each time we want to render a movie. After installing the editor we will need to repeat outputting to POV-ray or open the ini file into POV-ray manually this one time.

Render the frames

Set POV-Ray's resolution to 1280 by 720 or 1920 by 1080 and make sure AA.03 is selected:

AA (Anti Alias) smooths out the pixels very nicely.

Note we can render in POV-Ray with 1920 by 1080 resolution when exporting from Seamless with a 1280 by 720 window size because the ratio is the same.

Click Run and let POV-Ray render the frames.

Convert the png files to an mp4 file

Open the folder containing the files using windows explorer and run the batch file (simple-realistic-animated-female.bat) by double clicking it:

The batch file will run FFmpeg with the command to create our file simple-realistic-animated-female.mp4 from the png files.

When done:

the simple-realistic-animated-female.mp4 movie file will be added to the folder that contains the png images:

Setting 4k Resolution For POV-Ray

Because POV-Ray does not have 4k resolution already set up we must edit one of POV-Ray's ini files if we want to make a 4k movie but fortunatly this is very easy to do. Open the folder Documents\POV-Ray\v3.7\ini and open the file quickres.ini into a text editor (the POV-Ray text editor will do). Copy the folowing text:

[3840x2160, AA 0.3]

and paste it into the end of the ini file.

Save the file and now when you open Pov-Ray (you must close POV-Ray before opening it) you will be able to select 3840x2160 resolution:

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