Using the GPU to speed-up a program?

TAustin stineconsulting-switch- at
Tue Mar 1 09:42:10 PST 2005

John Gay wrote:
> 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
> 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.
> Cheers,
> 	John Gay

	This topic has come up a couple of times in the POV-Ray newsgroups and 
has had some good discussion.  Basically it isn't something that they 
are going to pursue at this time because it does not fit into the 
development model that they follow.  For the same reason multi processor 
systems are not supported.

I think the major hang up is making these ideas cross-platform.  They 
are good ideas and have their merit.  You might want to do a search in 
the newsgroups for the previous discussions.
There is also a web interface - go through to get to it.

You are welcome to bring it up again - actually it might be good to 
bring up, but I would suggest not trying to argue that it is a good 
idea.  Just about everyone will agree with you, but the hang up will be 
with cross-platform functionality.  If you can foster the discussion on 
how to make something like that cross-platform, you might have some real 
good and productive discussion going on.  Otherwise you might get 
frustrated that you can't get it into their heads that it really is a 
good idea.

The POV-Ray team is not opposed to someone taking the source code and 
modifying it to incorporate this functionality.  It is not open-source, 
but is freely available.  Some other people have made some interesting 
mods in the past - SLIME-POV (or something similar) is one that comes to 

My only affiliation with POV-Ray is that I have been a fan for 10 years 
and have been following the newsgroups for 2-3 years.  I'm only trying 
to prevent what I see happen lots of times in the newsgroups - someone 
comes in with a good idea and gets frustrated because it isn't readily 

Have a great day and see ya in the POV newsgroups.

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