ModLight's Overview

Most of 3D-Modeling softwares are huge, user-friendly and very expensive softs. Most of all works under MS-Windows. For example: Maya, 3DStudio Max, LightWave...

Opposite to them are some little software, mostly in Free Software (POVRay, ...). But, although those are very powerfull, their GUI (Graphical User Interface) is poor, when they have one. POVRay is cross-platform.

What is POVRay?

POVRay is a 3D renderer. It takes scene's descriptions in a script file, and produce an image. POVRay is a ray-tracer. Ray-tracing is a different way to render an 3D scene: it takes all lightrays going through viewer's eye, and computes intersections between each rays and the objects composing the scene. The ray-tracing rendering system is known to produce higher quality images than the system used by 3DS (for example). In fact, 3DS can use ray-tracing too, but it is more a modeler than a ray-tracer.

Well, POVRay is better than 3DS then!

In fact, what is lacking to POV is a good user-interface. There were many tries to create a good one. Many software can export to POV. We can mention Giram, MoonlightAtelier, G3D, and many other(even 3DS...). But, there is only one who can handle POV primitives system: Giram. Without this feature, the modeler can only create faces in POV, and ray-tracing becomes less useful: no more perfect spheres, like there were in a good old script.

Then, Giram is the one?

Not again. Giram is great, that's for sure. But it is yet far from perfect (sorry David, you know we love your work! ;). And it seems that Giram is no longer maintened by its author (if someone want to continue for him, mail to David Odin). Then we thought that something new, starting from scratch and using some modern technologies like OpenGL, could be better.

Is that here you start speaking about modlight?

Right! Modlight is taking ideas of Giram, but has been fully build from scratch. You probably love OpenGL, we do! A library on which great games like Quake3 relies could do great things in a 3D-modelling software. To be honest, most of them uses it. But none of the "POV compliant" ones, which is a pity.

Will it work on my computer?

Well, it depends on your computer! First, you need an operating system. A real one. Forget your good old Win95 (or try to port it, this could be great). No more for your always-trusted-Macintosh. Modlight compiles and run on an x86 Linux Box(we tried PIII, K6-II and PII). As we use no assembly language, it may run on any Unix system who have the required libraries installed.

Why are you using an old OS like UNIX?

We can fight hours on this point, but I'll be quick: one of the most impressive feature of POV is the hability to make parallel computing. And parallel computing is much more develloped under UNIX Operating Systems.

Okay, UNIX is the right choice, but why do we need to compile something?

Since Modlight is Open-Source, we do need to publish sources. We do not release binary stuff. Maybe one day... If you need more informations on the way to compile it, take a look at installation instructions.

What software are Modlight depending on?

Take a look at technical information.

And what is Modlight able to do yet?

The 1.0.42 release will be able to manage multi-objects, surfaces of revolution, a bit of POV import, loading and saving of scenes, lights. Maybe a bit of CSG and POV export. But check for new versions time to time.