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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 4: A better first rendering

Yikes! It isn't what you hoped it would be, is it? It is a bit dark ...sort of a "car floating in space. Well you are right... the car is floating in space!

When making LDraw models, you usually don't need to define floors or backgrounds. Ldraw models look fine floating in space because of the flat, 2-Dimensional nature of the look. However, when you create a fully ray-traced model, you see something much closer to items in the real world that you see every day. When you see this "real" image, you expect it to also appear as though it is in a real environment. So let's fix this!

Open L3PAO again and choose the CAR.DAT again. If you look in the right side column, you will see two options: background (-b) and floor (-f) Click the checkbox to select background. The default background color in L3PAO is black,however, for our new rendering we will choose a different color. Click on the big black square, and a color picker window will open. Choose a nice shade of blue from the predefined colors. Click "OK".

Now select the floor option. By default, the floor is a light shade of gray, but we have some options to change that. There is a pull-down menu were you can choose between "g" (gray) or "c" (checkered, like a chess board).

In addition, there is a box with "Y" above it. This is the distance between the model and the floor. By default, this number is zero and this means the lowest part of your model will touch the floor. You can adjust this distance to make different effects. For instance, if you wanted to render an airplane or other flying object, you can lower the floor to make the model appear to be flying.

For our rendering select the "g" (gray) floor option, and leave the Y field blank. This will provide a rendering of the car sitting on a gray floor.Now, let's see what these new changes do for the rendering. Before we convert the file with these new options, let's change the "output name" of the file, to avoid overwriting our original car.pov file. In the "POV-Ray Output File" field at the top of the interface, change the name CAR.POV to CAR01.POV.

Now we are all set, so hit "Run L3P", and when it is done converting, switch back to POV-Ray, load the new CAR01.POV file, and Hit the "Start/Run" button to render. Note if you check off "Render upon complete" in L3PAO. L3PAO will open POV-Ray for you automatically and render the image using the last setting that POV-Ray had.

The result should look something like this:

Ah, that looks much better!

Because we have added the added floor, much more light will reflect back on the car, so the car looks much better. In addition, the car casts shadows on the floor so you get a lifelike image. The background will reflect light in the same manner as the floor, but since the background color is blue, the light being reflected is also somewhat blue. You can always change this by changing the background color to white.

Next stop: camera and lenses!

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