18.104.22.168 Why are there no converters from POV to other formats?
"Why are there so many converters from other 3D file formats to POV, but practically no converters from
POV to other formats?"
It is a mistake to think that a POV-Ray file is just the same kind of data file as in most other renderers.
The file format of most renderers is just a data file containing numerical values (vertex coordinates, triangle
indices, textures, uv-coordinates, NURBS data...) describing the scene. They usually are very little more than just
numerical data containers.
However, POV-Ray files are much more than just data files. POV-Ray files are actually source code of the POV-Ray
scripting language. The POV-Ray scripting language is by many means a full programming language (it is Turing-strong).
It contains many features typical to programming languages and non-typical to data files (such as variables, loops,
mathematical functions, macros, etc). It has many features to describe things in a much more abstract way than just
This is why converting a POV-file to a data file readable by other renderers is so difficult. The converter program
would actually have to "execute", that is, interpret the scripting language (in the exact same way as a
BASIC or Perl source code is interpreted). Making a scripting language interpreter is a much more laborious job than
just converting numerical data from one format to another.
There is also another problem: POV-Ray describes most of its objects as mathematical entities while most of other
renderers just handle triangles (or NURBS or similar easily tesselable primitives). A converter would have to make
some tesselation in order to convert most POV-Ray primitives to other formats. This can be a quite laborious job for a
converter to make (it would have to practically implement an almost fully-qualified POV-Ray renderer).
This is why making a full-featured converter from any POV-file to any other format is an almost impossible task.