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Reference: Tutorials: Conversion 101 - Converting LDR Files to POV Files for Rendering

Conversion 101 - Converting LDR Files to POV Files for Rendering
By: Jeroen de Haan and Jake McKee
Posted: March 26, 2002
Version: v1 rev.1 110202

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Chapter 3: First conversion and rendering
All the software is installed and you are ready to go! From the Start menu, choose L3P Add-On. The program starts and will show the following window:

The L3PAO Interface
Across the top you see three menu-items: File, Tools and Help. Below this are two text fields: the Model File (input) and POV-Ray Output File (output). Then there is the "switchboard" which is divided in 3 columns: camera, lights and other commands. Below these three columns is the "Generated Command Line"-box. This is where you can see (but not edit) the command line, which will be sent to L3P when you hit the "Run L3P" button bottom right. And lastly, the "Exit" button next to the "Run L3P" button, which will simply close the application.

The commands in the three "switchboard" columns will be covered in detail throughout this tutorial. Some of the more advanced topics are not covered. They will be discussed in other tutorials.

Alright, let's get started!

First, we need to load a .dat or .ldr model. To do this, use the "Model File" pull-down menu. Find a model file on your computer, by hitting the "..."-button to the right of the pop-up. You will be presented with a standard Open window where you can browse your computer. Throughout this tutorial, we will use the CAR.DAT, which is located in the LDRAW\MODELS-directory on your computer. This file is copied on your hard disk by the LDraw installer.

Because it is the first time you use L3PAO click the "..." button next to the "Model File"-pop-up. Browse to the LDRAW\MODELS-directory, click the CAR.DAT file and click "Open". The POV-file will be generated in the same directory as the DAT-file, unless you choose to specify a different location. For this example, we will not.

Uncheck "render upon complete" located near the bottom of L3PAO. Now click the "Run L3P" button. A DOS command window will appear and you will be able to watch the L3P commands run. However, if you have a fast computer, the box will disappear before you noticed it was there!

So now it is time to make your first rendering! Open the LDRAW\MODELS folder from your desktop and double click the CAR.POV file. The POV-Ray program will open, and will display the POV-Ray source code.

Before we get into any detail about POV-Ray, follow these instructions:

  1. On the top left-hand side, there is a pull-down menu with a series of dimensions. Choose 320 x 240, NO AA
  2. Hit the Start/Run button at the top of the interface to kick off your very first rendering
  3. POV-Ray will double check the code and prepare to render the car.pov file.
  4. After a few seconds (depending on your computer speed and the size of the file) a new window will open and line for line your first ray-traced (rendered) LEGO image appears!

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