Raytracing Frequently Asked Questions

But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old:
'It's clever but is it art?'
Rudyard Kipling, The Conundrum of the Workshops

This is the comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List. It's not the most definitive ray tracing reference you'll ever come across, but then, it was never meant to be. What it does set out to do is to answer some of the questions which keep cropping up on c.g.r.r and to give pointers to other references. It keeps the noise down on the group and we get to spend an extra 10 minutes in bed. This is a Good Thing.

It was originally cobbled together by Andy Wardley, abw@peritas.demon.co.uk, from answers posted to c.g.r.r (actually from when it was c.g.r), from information people have supplied and from other existing ray tracing lists and references, most notably, Eric Haines' Ray Tracing News and other lists. Since the spring of 1995, I have taken over the maintenance of the FAQ.

You may distribute this document to whoever, or wherever you like, as long as you keep the copyright message and give correct attributions for material used. This is just to stop nasty people with a substantial lack of moral fibre from taking the document and fobbing it off as their own. The FAQ belongs to the group, Andy just wrote it (and I update it).

Lines with a '+' in the first column have been added recently, while lines with a '|' in the first column have been changed recently. If you think that parts of the FAQ are outdated, or need improvement, please feel free to send me your updates, and I will try to maintain and update it, as time permits. Authors of utilities should definitely send updated descriptions if they feel their tool has improved since this was written.

If you're only reading this document because your machine is locked up tracing, remember that all things come to those who wait.

Table of Contents

You may have noticed one or two gaps in the FAQ or spotted a glaring error, or just thought of something that I really should have mentioned. If that's the case and you can provide some info or corrections, then let me know and sort it out. Note that much of the HTML FAQ is automatically generated, so there may be a few oddities here and there.

Well here you are at the end of the document, and your trace is still only half done. You've probably got time to walk the dog before it's finished...

Happy Tracing.

© Copyright 1994 Andy Wardley
© Copyright 1995, 1996 Andreas Dilger