This is the base page of the section of raytracing.
Explanation of raytracing
raytracing traces the rays of light from light sources someone places in a scene and bounces off of objects and spectrums of color drop out according to the color of the object that it bounces off of. the ones that hit the virtual camera are the ones that are recorded. fortunately, most of the time this process is not so wasteful and slow - a direct path from object to camera can be calculated to save time.
which raytracer you use is purely personal taste (and budget). I use POV-RAY because it is free. There is also 3D Studio Max which costs money.
a very popular 3D raytracer (even used in rendering farms) is POV-RAY. scenes are generated from scene files that are CSG object-based. pov-ray is also capable of doing complex mathematical surfaces using quartics.
scenes can be hand-coded, or they can be rendered from 3D CAD dxf format layouts.
some scenes I have created:
Jesus Is Lord video (330 frames, 1+ hour rendering time). still trying to add refraction to this.
crossroads sign, wood (1 frame - done for singles group)
crossroads sign, aluminum (1 frame - saw a sign styled like this at church)
A while back I lost the files for getting the 'rainbow-lens' effect off of metal objects. this were really important to me, because it was a great/really cool effect.