You are here

Image Rendering Information

  1. What programs did you use to create the stereo pairs,animations, and Distant Worlds scenes?

    All the graphics in 3D Universe are computer-generated. For the animations, the Basic stereo charts, and the Distant Worlds planetary systems, I used POV-Ray 3.1, a ray-tracing program freely available for many platforms.

    For the reference charts in the Basic Stereo Views page, I used Voyager II, a commercial astronomy/planetarium program.

    For the Advanced Stereo Views, and the Distant Worlds Star Mapper, I used PHP with the "gd" graphics library to make the charts from position and distance data obtained from the Hipparcos database.

  2. Some of the stars change size/brightness slightly during animations.

    This is an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of ray-tracing methods. Very small objects (e.g., small starlike spheres) usually don't render well -- they look ragged or "pixelated" -- unless the image is smoothed somewhat during production. (Trust me on this -- unsmoothed renditions look horrible.). In any event, this smoothing process (called anti-aliasing) tends to distribute small objects over more pixels, or alter the brightness of the pixel(s) used for displaying the object. The result: small objects sometimes seem to change size or brightness slightly when rendered repeatedly in different locations (as in an animation). This is normally a problem only for stars that are so small they occupy just a single pixel; larger stars are generally unaffected.

  3. I have POV-Ray (or a similar program) and I'd like to try making images like these. How do I do it?
    Long, tedious approach: Write a few programs to extract data from Hipparcos and convert it to a POV-Ray digestible format.
    Short, less tedious approach: I've already done the long, tedious stuff, so send me an e-mail message asking for an include file or two. I've directly converted the Hipparcos star data into several files in POV-Ray include (.inc) file format. Some sample include files are now available in the Downloads section of this site.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer