I am a mathematician and I have been using povray for making pictures of 3D
surfaces which are fairly complicated. The results are much more beautiful than
what I can make using matlab or similar software but I feel like I am still
missing a great deal of potential.
I typically choose things like lighting, camera angles, colors, refraction, etc
etc almost arbitrarily. I lack the artistic training to have a good
understanding of the choices involved and I typically just change these choices
almost randomly to try and improve the picture. The resulting pictures are nice,
but still lacking quality and I want to learn how to get better.
As a typical example, I uploaded a rendered picture here:
In this sample, the background sky, lighting, and essentially every choice other
than camera placement is pretty much arbitrary. I don't have a great
understanding of how to use transmittance, reflection, lighting, etc to make
shadows and produce a nice texture. I can change these things and I get
different pictures, but I don't know how to make "intentional" changes to create
The images themselves represent objects with some mathematical relevance (called
manifolds for those interested). The green/red surfaces are generated as unions
of triangles (about 500,000 in this picture). The blue curves are generated as
unions of cylinders. There is probably a better way to use povray to generate
both types of object but this is likely the least of my issues.
Just a couple examples of things I would like to learn how to improve:
1. There is a great deal of fine detail here. Both the red and green surfaces
actually fold over themselves very sharply (like folding a piece of paper in
half) many times. However, I can't see this detail because the surfaces lack
texture or proper shadows.
2. In several places the reflection seems to make a the picture completely
white. Sometimes it looks cool but in other places it just looks washed out and
"hazy". I think this is because I don't know how to properly choose and place
If anyone has any advice or resources for me to read I would be very
appreciative. I have read through much of the povray tutorials which covers the
kinds of functionality included in povray, but obviously its up to me to decide
how to use it and that is what I'm having trouble with. Thanks so much.
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