Ray-Tracing with POV

POV-Ray is a multi platform free Ray-tracer that generate very high quality images (objects such as spheres or cylinders are considered as mathematical objects, and no tesselization is needed).

How to get POV

There is an official POV-Ray WWWsite and ftp site, from where you can download all the necessary stuff.

After having downloaded the archives, follow the instructions to install POV. I don't have the time to help you with this. However, I have explained a POV scene generated by Swiss-PdbViewer, and you might be able to learn enough from it to actually modify it as you wish.


Some problems are very frequent. I give you some hints how to solve them.
if you get the following message:

  • Too many symbols. Use +ms### option to raise Max_Symbols
    select the "Rendering options" of the "render" menu, and raise the value of the max symbols poup-up menu.
  • ## Error! Ran out of memory.
    Quit POV, increase the memory allocated to the program, and start again. If the problem persists, find a friend that has more memory, render on an UNIX box or buy extra memory. Sorry, no miracle at this point!
  • Cannot open include file: molcolor.inc
    Remember that the file "molcolor.inc" should be in the same directory that the scene you try to render (or in the same directory that all the default .inc files).
  • Cannot open include file: colors.inc
    The path to the folder containing all the needed "include" files is probably not properly defined. On Macintosh, select the "POV-Ray Preferences" item of POV "Edit" menu, click on the "Set Include Folder" button and follow the indications.