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POVLAB is a full 3D graphic modeller,which models 3D objects for the photo-realistic © povteam Persistence Of Vision Raytracer (POV-Ray). Look below for power...
If you've founded a bug not referenced in the faq, please go to the bug report page and fill it out.
Only bug reports and questions for POVLAB problems will be accepted with this policy.

  • CSG

    • Can you change CSG behaviour to allow us to select the first object, like for difference, then choose multiple objects for boolean operation without having to select the 'difference' button for each 2nd object? May be we could select as many 2nd objects as we wish until we click the right mouse button.
      You can do that! Just select the objects you want to use as 2nd operator, check the select case, and then assign a CSG operation to an object using the selection as 2nd operator.

    • I have no idea of what this "Inverse CSG" operation is. Would you mind explaining it a bit to see if I am in the right track?
      Well, imagine a sphere in a cube... but with the sphere just a little bigger than the cube. If you use a CSG difference 'cube - sphere', only the cube vertices will remain visible. Then select CSG-Inverse and click on the second object, the sphere. What have you got? A nice dice!

  • Installation

    • I have just received the file for POVLAB 4.0, but I'm not sure of how to make the executable file. Must I unzip the complete file first?
      You have to run the .EXE file from a temporary directory and then run "install" from this directory using the sintaxis "install X:" where X is the drive you want the POVLAB program to be located.

    • When I try to install POVLAB 4.0 I get the following message: "Not enough memory..." The drive I am installing the program on is D:, using "Install D:".
      This is the right syntax. Try to remove some TSR programs or boot your computer with a clean floppy disk. After the installation, it will work.

    • When I run POVLAB it displays:
      and doesn't work.

      Edit the modeller.cfg file located in the \povlab\system directory and delete the tab stop '' manually.

    • POVLAB crashes all the time
      If memory problems may be discarded, here you have a report kindly sent by a friend, that may be of your interest:
      "Well, I have solved the problem, and it's something that you may want to keep in mind for future reference, because I don't think this is an easy one to figure out. The problem was an old version of DOS4GW.EXE (from 1992!) that was in my C:\UTIL directory (which is listed in my PATH statement before C:\POVLAB). A lot of programs have used this extender, and it has been supplied with hundreds of DOS applications. I'm not sure why I ever had a copy there, nor why Povlab would go looking for it there when the proper version was present in the Povlab directory, but there is no doubt that this was the problem (I thought DOS was supposed to look for files in the current directory first). I have verified it by disabling and reenabling the old DOS4GW.EXE file (by renaming it to DOS4GW.EXX). When the extension is .EXE, Povlab crashes at 'init graphics'; when the extension is 'EXX', Povlab works fine. Another version of DOS4GW.EXE (from 1994) was also in my Polyray directory, and C:\POLYRAY is also listed in my PATH statement, but this version does not seem to cause the problem."

  • Import/Export

    • Is it possible to import .RAW and .DXF files from POVLAB?
      For .RAW it's simple: just click on "Objects|raw" and select the file you want to import. There's not support for .DXF files.

    • I create most of my objects in "mdl" lib format. Can I import them from POVLAB?
      It is not likely that there will be ever a direct support for the MDL-format in POVLAB because there is no available description of this format and the MDL files are encrypted too.

    • How can I use my 3D studio (.3DS) files under POVLAB?
      Convert them first with the 3DS2RAW or 3DS2POV utilities.

  • Makethem

    • I have tried to run MAKETHEM without success: every time it send me the message: "usage: ..." but I'm using the right syntax.
      If you are using the version 1.1 of MAKETHEM or below, this may be a wrong message. You must check the following items:

      • The first line in POVLAB.TEX tells MAKETHEM where the file POVLAB.INC is. Check if the path to this file is corrected (normally it should be "X:\POVLAB\TEXTURE\POVLAB.INC" where X is the drive you have installed POVLAB into.
      • Check if the path you are using with the "-p" option is the correct path to the executable POV-Ray file.

      As you can see, these things have nothing to do with the syntax, but it works this way :-) .
      If you use version 1.2 or later and you get this message there is something wrong with the syntax you are using. Check that ALL the options you wrote were correct.

    • When I run MAKETHEM, POV-Ray can't find the POVLAB.INC file.
      If you are sure that the first line of POVLAB.TEX is correct (see above), look in your config.sys for "FILES=30" (or more). If this line doesn't exist, that can be the problem.

    • My computer is not very fast and I'm practically unable to have all the thumbnails named in POVLAB.TEX rendered. Can I download them from somewhere?
      Yes :-) : You can download, from the download page of the POVLAB site (this one!), the file POVLABTX.ZIP (1.4 Mb aprox). It contains:

      • POVLAB.INC, with the definitions of about 386 textures classified and ordered.
      • POVLAB.TEX with the names of those textures, also ordered.
      • All the GIFs thumbnails of those textures.

    • Can I use my own GIF images as thumbnails for POVLAB, without use MAKETHEM?
      Yes, you can, provided that:

      • You should build up a .TEX file with the same structure that POVLAB.TEX, and in the "General|Enviroment" dialog put the full path to this file as the .TEX file that POVLAB must use.
      • This .TEX file must contain the name of each texture with the full path to YOUR GIF files (if the directory-ies- is-are- directly below the POVLAB directory, it isn't necessary to put the full path, but just what is below the POVLAB directory, i.e: "MINES\STONES\STONE1.GIF").
      • The color palette of the GIF files must match the interface's color palette of POVLAB, or what is the same, must be identical to PALETTE.PAL (in the TEXTURE directory). You can achieve this by using the program TGAVGIF (also in the TEXTURE directory) to create the GIF files with the "-i" option to force the use of the PALETTE.PAL file.

    • I have tried to render the textures in POVLAB.INC running MAKETHEM, but POV-Ray issues an error message in each texture. I suppose I'm doing something wrong but I can't find it out.
      In fact, although it seems that POV-Ray find an error in each texture, may be that there is an error in just one of the textures. This is so because POV-Ray parses each texture in POVLAB.INC and not only the one referred to by the .POV file that MAKETHEM build.
      Sometimes, a new release of POVLAB.INC has a minor bug: Try to catch the error message from POV-Ray (pulse the "Pause" key) and search in POVLAB.INC for this error. It may be something like this:

      #declare Skin_Dull = texture { pigment { <1, <---- ERROR!

      In this example, just add "color rgb" before the color vector.

  • Miscellaneous

    • How can I save a file with a new name?
      Rename the scene before saving.

    • It seems that my antivirus software detects a virus (I don't know what one) in the POVLAB.EXE version 4.0. I would need to know if you have some other experience about it.
      I haven't had any problem about virus in POVLAB, and there are also 12 beta testers, with two machines per guy, so if it would be any virus in the program, my systems would have been destroyed long time ago.

    • I have internal FPU errors or strange things when I manipulate objects.
      There are sometimes problems with no Intel FPUs. You can try with and emulator but, although I have successfully tested someone, sometimes they works well only in some machines.

    • How can I provide you with more info about what was going on when an error happened?
      Send me a LOG file. You can make it by using the command "povlab > povlab.log" at the dos prompt.

    • I have used the POV-Ray (version 3.0) SEED() and RAND() functions in several ways but, every time, I was doing it with trial and error method. Is someone out there who can explain to me exactly how these two functions work together? Why does RAND() absolutely need SEED(), and what is the purpose of SEED()?
      POV-Ray RAND() function is a pseudo random number generator --that is, the numbers it generates aren't really random, just look that way.
      Calling the SEED() function applies a complex mathematical formula that generates a series of numbers that appear random. Calling the RAND() function after that, simply returns the next number in the series.
      If you use the same SEED() function, all the numbers returned by RAND() will be in the same series. For example, if you run an animation of bubbles appearing randomly on the screen, you want the bubbles to "flow" between frames, otherwise it just looks like a bunch of flashes and white noise. Using the SEED(0.5) function in every frame, will generate the same series of random numbers and the bubbles will always be in the same spot (but in random-looking arrangement).
      (Thanks to Martin Conlon)

    • I can't save a new scene in my own directory. POVLAB always save it in the POVLAB/SCENE directory. Is there any way to do it?
      No: At the moment you must save the file to the SCENES directory, then shell to DOS and MOVE (DOS command) the file to your own directory and after reentering in POVLAB, load the file again. Before shell to DOS, select the option "File|New".

    • How can I make the spline's spheres smaller all at once?
      Just make smaller those spheres at the first and last vertices and then select "smooth spline".

    • What support for animation does POVLAB provide?
      None at all, sorry.

    • I have downloaded from the POVLAB site the tutorial by Klaus Lepschi, in Word DOC format, but my Word program is unable to read the doc. What is wrong?
      This format is for Word 7.0. That's perhaps why you can't get it into your Word. You can download the .WRI file in windows 3.1 format.

    • I have taken a True Type Font and a Box, and applied a CSG difference operation on them. I expecting to "carve" out the letters from the box but it doesn't work at all. I have edited manually the .POV files but without success. Could you provide some explanation about it?
      The thing is quite easy to explain:
      POVLAB generates TTF objects as triangle-meshes, which means that such objects ONLY have a surface BUT NO INTERIOR. For POV-Ray an interior is mandatory to perform CSG operations. So if you try a CSG operation involving triangle meshes you will get several error messages.

      But there is a way to engraving with POVLAB: simply use a height field!!!

      If you want to know how it works, check the tutorial from Klaus Lepschi that you can find in this site. See the paragraph "Tips on working with height-fields".

    • I am able to render most of the textures that comes with POVLAB but when I tried to use the Fx_explosivenovae01 I got nothing. I have put no background, a camera and one omnilight. What could I did wrong?
      There is a thing you might know about this texture by Klaus Lepschi: It is a HALO texture, which means that the object you apply it to must be set to "hollow", because a Halo can only exits in hollow objects.
      By the way: if you are using halos in scenes and they cannot be seen when rendering, check out if you have planes in the scene. If so, set the planes to hollow.
      Remember: You can use the "Modify|Manual" option dialog or the "?" button to set an object to hollow.
      (Thanks to Klaus Lepschi)

    • I'm interested in creating 3D fractals shapes to render in POV-Ray, i.e. a Julia set or a reverse Mandelbrot like in Dan Farmer's Frosty pic. What would be the best way of going about this? Does it require existing software?
      You can use FRACTINT and generate TGA or GIF files that you can import as height-fields into POVLAB. Then you can use them, for example, with CSG difference operation. It works quite well.
      (Thanks to Gully Foyle)

    • What program can I use to generate "lather" files that could be imported from POVLAB?
      You can download from this site the lather generator from Klaus Lepschi. It generates files that POVLAB can import.

  • Mouse

    • I have problems with the mouse pointer.
    • I can't use the mouse in POVLAB: when I move it, it locks up my system. If I move the mouse very slowly, I can manage just to exit the program. I don't know if this has anything to do with the program or is just my system. Any idea?
      Answer to both questions: Try to install your mouse driver as the last of your drivers (config.sys and autoexec.bat as well). This fix some troubles sometimes. Or try to find a real compatible Microsoft 9.0 or newer driver.
      Thanks to Olivier Fayoux.

    • I'm not sure of how "scale" works in POVLAB. I click on the "scale 3D" button and use the mouse to scale a cube. The only problem is that I keep getting all sorts of numbers jumping from 60 to 1000, etc... Is there no way to simply enter a scale factor?
      Yes: you can enter the values in the "modify|manual" dialog. Also you can use Alt while scaling to have a more soft scaling.

  • Operating Systems and Enviroment

    • I think that this has something to do with memory and DOS4GW: Several times, after attempt to render, I got lock up with some sort of DOS4GW diagnostic referring to a page fault.
      How much memory do you have? How much disk space do you have where POVLAB is installed? (you need more than 20 Mb free). Enable the debug mode (DebugMode=1) in the MODELLER.CFG file to check for errors (them will be reported into POVLAB.LOG).
      And/or send me a MSD system file output via e-mail (zipped). Is your CPU from Intel, or from another company? What video card do you have?

    • Is there any chance of a native Windows version of POVLAB? I'm using WinNT now, and don't have dual boot set up yet to use DOS and, even then, a Windows version would be much more preferable, provided the speed were acceptable.
      This version 4.0 is a DOS version and it will show if I will continue or not POVLAB after the final release.

    • I am running Win 3.11 on top of DOS 6.2. I run POVLAB directly from DOS without Windows running, because if I run POVLAB from a DOS window, the fonts are unreadable and the background color of the UI is changed.
      Well...yes: you can use POVLAB only under Win95 shell or directly from DOS (with DOS4GW). It needs 32 bits mode.

    • I tried your POVLAB program in a DOS windows and it didn't run. Then I read somewhere that it was unable to run in a Win95 shell. Is that true?
      Usually it runs fine in a Win95 shell, but it seems that there are problems on some machines, perhaps due to a lack of enough memory, the video card when you switch between the DOS box and Win95, etc...

    • Is there some POVLAB version for SunOS 4.1.34 sun4c.
      Not really!! If you have a DOS emulator perhaps (I say perhaps!!! :) ) you can run it, but I can't say anymore.

  • POVLAB Links

    • Where can I reach you on IRC?
      You can reach me in the #povlab channel on EFNET, from 10:30 pm to 0:00 pm local time (France, Europe). You must connect trough an EFNET IRC server (sometimes, not always, the nearest to you is the best). Then use the command "/join #povlab". Some European IRC EFNET servers you can try are:
      • frc.univ-lyon1.fr
      • irc.eurocom.fr
      • salambo.enserb.u-bourdeaux.fr (the one I connect to)
      You can find lists of EFNET IRC servers on:
      • http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~pirovich/efnet.html
      • http://www.sisna.com/users/danib/irclist.html
  • POV-Ray Support

    • Does POVLAB support POV-Ray version 3.0?
      Yes, and only this for now.

    • I got POVLAB 4.0 from the incoming/modellers directory and found many missing and some misplaced "," (virgules) in POVLAB.INC. Many of them were missing in scale and rotate statements, and some like this: "scale <1,1,1,>" (notice the extra coma).
      Are you using the POV-Ray 3.0 version...? If no, yes, there are a lot of problems as the .INC file has been restructured for POV-Ray 3.0 only.

  • Rendering

    • but when I try to use texture mapping it says file not found ? What am I not doing ?
      Just because you have not defined the paths into "material" then "library" section.

    • I've been trying POVLAB and it works fine, but I'm unable to render the scene. I see a brief flicker of a rectangle on the middle of the screen and then nothing. Just like if I hadn't selected the "Render|Preview" option (all the render options do the same). It seems that POVLAB even doesn't generate a .POV file.
      Have you place the correct paths in the "General|Enviroment" dialog (included the POV-Ray path)? Check it. If the problem persists then parse the files: MODELLER.CFG (in POVLAB\SYSTEM), POVLAB.TEX and POVLAB.INC (in POVLAB\TEXTURE) manually.

    • Sometimes it happens that when I try to render a scene, POVLAB send an error message of "Invalid Path to POV-Ray" and shows something like "\POVRAY\BIN\PVENGINE.EXEPVENGINE.EXE". It seems that it adds again the filename to the path I have written in the "General|Enviroment" dialog. But if I don't put the filename in the path, it doesn't work neither.
      It's a bug that may be already corrected in the final 4.0 version. But you MUST put the full path (filename included): POVLAB won't do it for you.

    • When I am in POV-Ray and switch back to POVLAB, POVLAB is unable to render the scene again. POV-Ray send a message about "invalid INI file or error in INI file".
      Well, this happens usually when you are working in POV-Ray, for example modifying some texture and then rendering again the POV file created by POVLAB, and also if you work with POV-Ray and then run POVLAB and try to render the scene without having closed the POV-Ray application before. At the moment I don't know exactly why this happens, but there is a simple solution: close POV-Ray and render the scene from POVLAB again. If this doesn't work, run POV-Ray by itself, then go to the EDIT Settings/Render (ALT+C) and clear the source name, the INI name and and any command line options. Then select "Set but don't render" and quit. It will work now.

  • Selection (See also CSG)

    • Selection toggle with the spacebar doesn't work until you have pressed "Selection" on the side menu once with the mouse.
      Yes, that the depend on what you are doing. If you select "Modify" and then translate an object, and hit the spacebar, it won't work... You have to press the right mouse button and then hit the spacebar and reselect the "Modify" option.

    • Translating objects in POVLAB is in general very handy, but it's missing a function that would allow to move more than one object at a time or haven't I just noticed it?
      Select the objects you want to move, activate the checkbox "Selection" and then translate all the selected objects.

    • Sometimes I want to modify an object obscured by another. I can select the obscured object by name. Then I can activate the Selection option and translate, rotate, etc... But how can I use the "Modify Manual" option: it seems that with this option I must click exactly on the object. If I click on another object, the dialog box refers to this object, not to the selected one. Some help?
      It's easy: Hide ("Display|Hide") the object(s) that hidden the one you want to modify, redraw the viewport and you only have to choose "Modify|Manual" and then click on the object.

  • Textures

    • I've problem with IMAGE or BUMP mapping into POVLAB under Windows 95, it locks the machine !
      With Win95, to fix this, turn OFF access to XMS memory in MS-DOS Window properties.

    • Have the POVLAB.INC file a limit to the size or number of textures defined inside it?
      No, but POVLAB can handle only 1000 textures. Besides, if you use MAKETHEM to build POVLAB.TEX or whatever other .TEX file, it only will render a maximum of 1000 thumbnails.

    • How do I apply a 'checkered' or 'tiled' texture to objects in POVLAB?
      In the same way you do with other textures: just use "off the shelf" textures or build them by yourself and incorporate them in the .TEX/.INC files.

    • Does POVLAB support halos?
      Yes and no: halo is a texture keyword and POVLAB hasn't a texture editor. But you can make your own halo textures and add them to the .INC and .TEX files you are using.

    • I would have POVLAB read also some includes files, as "colors.inc" when it renders a scene. How can I do this?
      If you want to add names of your textures in POVLAB.INC, just add a #include "colors.inc" statement at the top of your POVLAB.INC file, and also, select the button "Texture|Library" and add the path to your include file (this where colors.inc, textures.inc, etc... are located in).

    • I have added a few textures to the textures list. Many of them use pigment names (instead of defining the whole pigment). When I try to render it, the .POV file generated uses only the pigment names, and then POVRAY send an error message. Wouldn't be it nice if POVLAB included the pigment definition when it sees it's name in the pigment field? Just a thought (and huge fustration...)
      In the Enviroment settings of POVLAB you can add a user-specific include file. If you define and use your pigments in "POVLAB.INC", just add as user-specific include file: "(PATH +) POVLAB.INC". This done, POVLAB will generate a .POV file with include statements like this:


      This ensure two things:
      a) If POVLAB finds a texture an it conforms to the structure POVLAB expects, it will be included in SCENE.INC.

      b) If only the pigment name is included, POVRAY will find it also, because it's in the POVLAB.INC include file.

    • I have at the top of my "POVLAB.INC" file (in \povlab\texture), 2 lines that read:

      #include "x\stones1.inc" (where x is the path to this file)
      #include "x\colors.inc" (where x is the path to this file)

      In "stones.inc" there is a texture called T_Stone18. This texture reads:

      //--------Green Jade with white veining-----------
      #declare T_Stone18= [ ... ]

      When I place T_Stones18 into POVLAB.TEX, and run MAKETHEM.EXE, everything works fine. I get the thumbnail to show just perfectly. However, when I try to USE this texture in a scene, the texture is declared as it is above, but the line from colors.inc is omitted. This causes an error when rendering. The cases are, as you can see, the same. Can anybody explain this to me??? I know that when you render a scene, a corresponding .INC file is created to compliment that scene. However not all the needed information is in this file... Apparently, POVLAB didn't realize that the SeaGreen color had not yet been declared...or may be that I'm just missing something...

      To put it in a nutshell:
      Swap the lines in the POVLAB.INC file so that they read:

      #include "x\colors.inc"
      #include "x\stones1.inc"

      "colors.inc" MUST be included before "stones1.inc"; otherwise POV-Ray knows nothing about. I checked this and it rendered fine when "colors.inc" was included BEFORE "stones1.inc".

      Also, you should ensure that POVLAB.INC is set up as user-specific include file in the Enviroment settings of POVLAB. If not, only the scenes-inc-file is passed to POV-Ray, and are not evaluated by POV-Ray.

      MAKETHEM will nevertheless render the thumbnails correctly, since it uses POVLAB.INC, where you have placed the references.

    • When I try to define a texture map, that is, to put a bitmap picture on an object, POVLAB accepts it, until rendering. It gives this error message: "Path invalid. Check libraries".
      Go to the "Texture|Mapping" option and enter there all the paths (without filenames) where your map files are (i.e. C:\POVLAB\MAPS).

    • In the Modify|Manual dialog box there is a checkbox "Scale Texture" to switch this option On or Off for the selected object. Sometimes it's desirable to have the texture scaled but not using the same factor for the three dimensions and/or not in the same extent that the object. How can I do it?
      You must edit manually the Scale MX, MY and MZ values in this dialog box (the same is valid for Rotate and Translate).

  • Video Cards

    • I would like to know if somebody has successfully used an ATI Match64 VIDEO CARD with POVLAB in 256 colors. I have to use the 16 color POVLAB interface because the screen gets scrambled in 256 colors.
      I've this card too on one of my computers :) I've trouble in 640x480x256 color mode, but it works fine in 800x600 and 1024x768... try them! Or test the news UNIVBE 5.2 or 5.3 VESA drivers.

    • When I construct scenes in POVLAB and render them, it happens that the image has wrong colors. Looking in the .POV files I can see that the rgb values are correct. If I run POVRAY directly on the .POV file the colors are correctly rendered. What may be happening?
      Perhaps you are running a bad configuration for your video card. Check the render/palette and render/video for the config of the card under POV-Ray...
      Example: I've a video card that supports VESA specifications and true color modes. I've checked the radio buttons for:

      render/palette: 24 bits
      render/video: VESA mode

      This is similar under DOS and POV-Ray command line to: -dGT

    • I have a Cirrus 9440 type video card and I'm unable to install POVLAB. What could I do?
      Try the UNIVBE 5.2 or 5.3, or some other tsr program that can make your card work with VESA support (some manufacturers of video cards make these programs available trough Internet. You can find ftp servers with a "drivers" directory with updates).

    • I wondered if those new graphics chips with 3D Accelerators, like the Matrix Millenium, also work with POV-Ray and speed up the rendering.
      Certainly all the new graphics cards should work well with POV-Ray, but to tell you right away: unfortunately, 3D accelerators cards won't improve the rendering speed. 3D acceleration is meant in terms of:

      • accelerating the display of lines, triangles and other geometric shapes.
      • accelerating the display of shaded surfaces (for example Gaurod-Shading).
      • accelerating display-related tasks like transferring Bits and Bytes from the memory to the graphic processor (BitBlit, Scrolling...).

      The only thing in RayTracing where accelerators cards really can improve the system performance is during the modelling of a scene, where you could have, let's say, 120.000 triangles forming the rim of a tyre. Such cards have normally more graphic-memory onboard than a regular PC (16-48 Mb). This graphic RAM is used for several purposes, like z-buffering.

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