Now, the m2p program works and the .udo format seems quite simple to understand. Was my effort in vain? No, I don't think so. It seems to me that the .dxf format is more general, and is accepted as a farily standard 3-D object description format, so many people, not just those in the POV-Ray community, will hopefully be able to take advantage of it. I also was able to (after having some rather bad experiences with the POLYLINE strcture) incorporate the POLYGONS type PLOT3D object, which alone would definitely be worth the trouble of writing the script. The POLYGONS type enables one to use the the geom3d package in Maple to generate some very interesting objects.
The process I use, then, to render the Maple objects, is as follows:
1. Create the object in Maple and give the plot a name.
2. Use plot2dxf to create a .dxf file describing the object.
3. Use 3dWin to convert the .dxf into a .udo file.
4. Include the .udo file in my POV-Ray source, or use Moray to do it for me.
Note that if you are a user of some other rendering package, 3dWin can convert the .dxf into a number of other formats, including 3D Studio, so you might be able to use this utility and plot2dxf to import an object into your package. I recommend, though, that you try POV-Ray if you haven't done so before. The results are quite spectacular, and I guarantee you'll like the price.
I'm a physicist, not a computer scientist, so the code may not be very efficient, and there are some more problems I would like to tackle. If you have any ideas as to how the code could be improved, or other features you would like to see in a future release, please let me know and I'll be happy to hear whatever you have to say.
12 June 1998
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This page was last updated 03.05 12-Jun-98.