Author (Your Name)

Eleanor O'Rourke, Colby College

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)

Department

Colby College. Computer Science Dept.

Advisor(s)

Dale J. Skrien

Second Advisor

Clare Bates Congdon

Abstract

The Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer, commonly known as POV-Ray, is a computer graphics package that can be used to produce highly sophisticated and photorealistic images and animations. POV-Ray is widely used in the computer graphics community for a diverse variety of applications, including teaching college courses, creating visual music animations, and generating computer art. Although the popularity of POV-Ray is apparent, the teaching materials available for the package are confusing, disorganized, and inaccessible. In this project, I have designed an online system that provides a series of interactive tutorials that teach users how to create images using the POV-Ray package. My system is known as the POV-Ray Interactive Tutorial, or POV-IT for short. The POV-Ray package is free to download, and the program is therefore accessible to a large variety of people. As a result, POV-Ray enjoys widespread popularity among a diverse community of artists and computer scientists. The artistic applications of the program are many, ranging from the Visual Music animations of Dennis Miller to the still images of Tor Olav Kristensen, Jaime Vives Piqueres and others who have submitted work to the POV-Ray hall of fame (1, 2, 3). Additionally, many computer science departments use POV-Ray to teach computer graphics including those at the California Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois-Springfield, and Smith College (4, 5). POV-Ray images are created using an object-oriented programming language, however this language is simple and intuitive enough to ensure that the program can be utilized by people without extensive programming experience.

Keywords

Computer graphics, Computer animation -- Software, Interactive multimedia, Three-dimensional imaging -- Computer programs

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