This page provides information on the various 3D rendering tools I use, have used, or that I have just looked at. I have also included links to the home page of the tools (where available).
A fast RenderMan® compliant renderer
I don't know anything about this program other than what is stated on the web site. It is another in the growing line of RenderMan® compliant renderers. While available for free like the others listed below, it is not in the public domain. There is an end-user license agreement one should read before using this software.
A high quality ray-tracing package
The Persistance-of-vision raytracer (POV-Ray) was the first program I used when I started learning about ray-tracing and 3D modelling. Doing any modelling for POV-Ray seemed rather primitive compared to using high end tools like Rhinoceros 3D and IronCAD when I was first starting using it. I had to create a text file with the information about the objects, textures, and lighting for a scene by hand as I did not know of any decent modelling tools back then.
I still experiment with POV-Ray from time to time as it has some very nice textures which I don't yet have available for use with BMRT.
A high quality, photorealistic, 3D rendering solution
This is one of many rendering packages available today for free via the Internet which complies with the RenderMan® interface standard.
(RenderMan is a registered trademark of Pixar.)
Rendering and shader development
The Blue Moon Rendering Tools (BMRT) was the first rendering software I used after POV-Ray some time after I started using Rhinoceros 3D (Rhino). It was a collection of programs which adhered to the RenderMan® interface standard.
When I first started using BMRT, I had to export my models from Rhino and run the renderer from a command line. The process of using BMRT as an external renderer got a lot easier once I discovered the RhinoMan program. It became a few clicks of the mouse from inside Rhino to manage materials and render an image.
BMRT was an ideal program to use with Rhino as both programs use NURBS yielding very smooth surfaces even when viewed closeup.
The BMRT package is no longer available due to copyright(?) issues between the creators of BMRT and Pixar. While it was a shame to see it disappear a number of alternatives to BMRT have appeared. The first of these I discovered was the Pixie project.
Rendering and shader development
Once I learned that updates to BMRT would no longer be available I started looking around for a replacement package I could use. Pixie was the first RenderMan® compliant renderer I found as a possible replacement to BMRT.
Yet another free raytracer
This is not another RenderMan® interface standard compliant raytracer. The YafRay web site describes it as "a powerful raytracer, under the LGPL license". I learned of this program via my interest in Blender. YafRay was listed on the Blender web site as an external rendering package.
A plug-in for Rhinoceros 3D
This plug-in greatly simplifies the process of creating and maintaining textures, assigning them to objects, and invoking one of several different external rendering programs.
Shader development tool
ShaderMan is a visual RenderMan® shader building tool, made in the spirit of ShadeTree, Slim, and XSI. I have only looked at it briefly as I'm not ready to start building my own shaders yet but it looks like an amazing program.