POVRay vs. Renderman/BMRT

A long time ago (around Linux 2.0.27) I made some comparisions between two raytracers, POVRay and BMRT. Since the pages were mentioned in the Linux Gazette and some people still try to access them, I put them up again on my new site. In the more than ten years since then a lot has changed. Among other things, BMRT is gone, and POVRay has acquired function patterns, which are a type of procedural shaders. Still, here are my old pages, mostly unchanged. Share and enjoy.

These pages have their origin in a discussion in comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing on the relative merits of POVRay and RenderMan. Comparing the two is a little bit difficult, since one is a program and the other one an interface specification which is implemented by different programs, like [Ext. Link]Pixar's Photorealistic RenderMan or PRMan and Larry Gritz' [Ext. Link]now defunct Blue Moon Rendering Tools. If you want to do your own experiments, try one of the renderers in the [Ext. Link]list of renderers at the RenderMan Repository.

In most of what follows I used the raytracer from BMRT (which was shareware) as an example for a RenderMan compliant renderer.


POV is a great program, but the one thing that won me over to a renderman compliant renderer was the shading language, which gives you an enormous flexibility.

cane Surfaces are parametrized, so textures can follow arbitrary surfaces.
hemisphere You can map images onto surfaces in many ways, in my example I use a map to generate an image of a globe.


Height Field Height fields are convenient objects in POV.

Rendering software for most images:

Blue Moon Rendering Tools by Larry Gritz and [Ext. Link]POVRay 3.0
Florian Hars <florian@hars.de>, 2009-03-25 (orig: 1999-02-27)