Using the GPU to speed-up a program?

John Gay johngay at
Mon Feb 28 12:23:11 PST 2005

On Monday 28 February 2005 19:38, Hui Zhou wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 28, 2005 at 07:14:16PM +0000, John Gay wrote:
> >So I was wondering if programmes like POV-Ray could take advantage of the
> > GPU in 3D cards for quicker rendering? I know that it doesn't use it, but
> > maybe code could be added for it? It just seems strange that Maya and
> > Houdini render much faster with a good 3D card.
> POV-Ray is a ray tracing program which calculates individual rays to
> render an image.
> I am not sure but suspect the Maya and Houdini don't do ray tracing at
> all and use openGL to render images, which is what a 3D card designed
> for.
You mean to tell me that the battle of Neo and 10,000 Mr. Smiths was rendered 
in OpenGL?

I know that POV-Ray is a ray tracer, but Houdini and Maya use radiosity for 
rendering. Either way, they both should use similar algorithms to determine 
what is in front of the camera to render.

> As for the speed, OpenGL is much less CPU intensive than raytracing
> even without GPU.
OpenGL cheats by using polygons, mainly triangles, to simplify the images 
before it reached the rastering stage, whereas POV-Ray uses mathematically 
correct spheres and curves. However, they still make extensive use of 
matrixes to perform the calculations, which should suit GPU's fine.

Any other thoughts? I'd like some proper programmer input to send the POV-Ray 
team to suggest adding GPU code.


	John Gay

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