We all have our personal milestones, those marker days that tick off the passing years. July 4th has become a big one for me over the years. I’ve always liked fireworks (and thunder), so the day was always something of a joy. Various personal events over the years give it a bullet list of associations.
At the top of that list, today is my blog anniversary, so I’ve spent all month working on a little something to celebrate:
A couple of readers have asked about the diagrams in this series of Special Relativity posts. I created them with the freeware 3D ray tracing application, POV-Ray. The diagrams are actually three-dimensional “scenes” designed to be viewed as flat pieces. If some of the “dots” look more like little spheres, that’s because they are!
I wrote some introductory posts a while ago (here, here, and here). You can read those if you want more details about the application.
For a little (optional!) Friday fun, I thought I’d share some POV-Ray images that have a bit more “dimension” to them.
By all indicators (page reads, Likes, comments), most of my readers don’t find POV-Ray quite as interesting as I do. That’s too bad, because I’ve finally decided on a theme for this blog. It’s going to be all-POV-Ray all the time! Think of the fun we’ll have!
Yes, of course I’m kidding. Anyone who knows me at all (hello, have you met me?) would know better. Me, one topic? It is to laugh. Out loud. (Honestly, I don’t know how mono-topical bloggers do it.)
But I do promise this is the last post—for now—about POV-Ray. We’ll just swing by the gift shop, and then move on to other things.
Take a seat! (click for big)
As promised last time, my simple tour of POV-Ray continues with some examples a bit more interesting than an abacus stone or a box with holes in it. Time to move beyond a bunch of teal-colored spheres! (How about a bunch of hunter-green cones?)
I think it’s nice to have a place to sit while I lecture, so I’m going to use my digital woodworking set to provide a bar stool (and maybe a beer). The beauty of the virtual world is that , well, free stools (and maybe beers) for everybody.
Because I don’t just make a stool. I make a thing that makes stools.
Recently I took you on a tour of a virtual theatre I “built” to help illustrate a post about light and color. It’s virtual because it wasn’t built with wood or metal or rock, but only with 100% natural electrons grown in the U.S.A. (free range; no pesticides or antibiotics).
I also showed you some smaller objects I built with the same tool: a freeware ray tracing application, called POV-Ray. The application is a “rendering engine.” It takes your design and renders it as a 3D image, complete with textures, shadows, reflections and a variety of other life-like effects.
Today I’m going to take you down into the engine room!
Back on my first Sideband post, I wrote that, “Sideband posts are miscellaneous thoughts that accompany the main thread of posts. Think of them as small paths that meander off the main road. Some branch off, go a short ways and die after a short while. Others are scenic trails that follow along the main road.”
They never quite achieved that vision, so this year one goal is getting Sidebands back on track with that original “mission statement.”
And I’m going to start with fun topic: computer-generated 3D images!