1.3.8 Making Animations
There are a number of programs available that will take a series of still image files (such as POV-Ray outputs) and
assemble them into animations. Such programs can produce AVI, MPEG, FLI/FLC, QuickTime, or even animated GIF files
(for use on the World Wide Web). The trick, therefore, is how to produce the frames. That, of course, is where POV-Ray
comes in. In earlier versions producing an animation series was no joy, as everything had to be done manually. We had
to set the clock variable, and handle producing unique file names for each individual frame by hand. We could achieve
some degree of automation by using batch files or similar scripting devices, but still, We had to set it all up by
hand, and that was a lot of work (not to mention frustration... imagine forgetting to set the individual file names
and coming back 24 hours later to find each frame had overwritten the last).
Now, at last, with POV-Ray 3, there is a better way. We no longer need a separate batch script or external
sequencing programs, because a few simple settings in our INI file (or on the command line) will activate an internal
animation sequence which will cause POV-Ray to automatically handle the animation loop details for us.
Actually, there are two halves to animation support: those settings we put in the INI file (or on the command
line), and those code modifications we work into our scene description file. If we have already worked with animation
in previous versions of POV-Ray, we can probably skip ahead to the section "INI
File Settings" below. Otherwise, let's start with basics. Before we get to how to activate the internal
animation loop, let's look at a couple examples of how a couple of keywords can set up our code to describe the
motions of objects over time.