POV-Ray : Documentation : Can I get a wireframe render of my scene?
  POV-Ray 3.6 Documentation Online View Can POV-Ray use multiple processors? Can I specify variable IOR for an object? Can I get a wireframe render of my scene?

"Is there a way to generate a wireframe output image from a POV scene file?"

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

You have to understand the difference between a modeller like 3D-Studio and POV-Ray in the way they handle objects. Those modellers always use triangle meshes (and some modellers use also NURBS which can be very easily converted into triangles). Triangle meshes are extremely simple to represent in a wireframe format: Just draw a line for each triangle side.

However, POV-Ray handles most of the objects as mathematical entities, not triangle meshes. When you tell POV-Ray to create a sphere, POV-Ray only handles it as a point and a radius, nothing else (besides the possible matrix transform applied to it). POV-Ray only has a notion of the shape of the object as a mathematical formula (it can calculate the intersection of a line and the sphere).

For wireframe output there should be a way to convert that mathematical representation of the object into actual triangles. This is called tesselation.

For some mathematical objects, like the sphere, the box, etc, tesselation is quite trivial. For other entities, like CSG difference, intersection, etc, it is more difficult (although not impossible). For other entities it is completely impossible: infinite non-flat surfaces like paraboloids and hyperboloids (well, actually it is possible if you limit the size of the surface to a finite shape; still the amount of triangles that needs to be created would be extremely high).

There have been lots of discussions about incorporating tesselation into POV-Ray. But since POV-Ray is just a renderer, not a modeller, it does not seem to be worth the efforts (adding tesselation to all the primitives and CSG would be a huge job).

(Of course tesselation could give some other advantages, like the ability to fake non-uniform transformations to objects like most triangle mesh modellers do...)

If you just want fast previews of the image, you can try to use the quality parameter of POV-Ray. For example setting quality to 0 (+q0) can give a very fast render. See also the rendering speed question.

More about "the rendering speed question" Can POV-Ray use multiple processors? Can I specify variable IOR for an object?

Copyright 2003-2004 Persistence of Vision Raytracer Pty. Ltd.