Design Models

Copyright© 2010-2011, K.E. Ayers Designs, LLC

By K.E. Ayers


I have used the free POV-Ray ray tracing engine for years. I have often used it to create models of projects, in order to visualize the finished product. In addition, building the model often gives me insights into challenges I might face when constructing the actual piece ... whatever that might be. So far, over the years, I've built models for projects ranging from shelving units to a few of my TreeJewels™ ornament designs.

Without a doubt, my most ambitions model was a detailed representation of the interior of our house, based on dimensions taken from the floorplan. Most of that model was created before construction was complete! And, my wife and I have since used the model to try out decorating ideas, and even to plan a remodeling project in the basement.

However, using just POV-Ray, which is heavily oriented toward geometric shapes, it is generally difficult to model the kinds of "organic" shapes that often make up a pleasing jewelry or ornament design. Rounded edges on shapes are especially challenging.

During the fall of 2010, I was working on a new ornament design theme, and I really wanted to model my ideas, because the "line" of ornaments I was contemplating was significantly different from my past designs. Not only was I unsure that they would be as attractive as I expected, but there were some construction challenges, as well. These motivations prompted me to develop a technique by which I can, with just a small amount of additional effort, convert my original design patterns into a POV-Ray model.

In these pages, I will present various design models I have since created using POV-Ray. In many cases, I produce not only a still image, but I also generate an animation of the piece rotating. Because POV-Ray accurately depicts shadows, reflections, and surface features, these animations help me see how light will play off the design.

For several years, a co-worker had this quote posted on his whiteboard:

All models are wrong
Some models are useful

For some of the models presented here, I have gone on to produce the actual piece ... frequently referring to the model as a reference for how the piece should look. In most of those cases, I provide a link to an image of the finished piece, so that you may be the judge as to how accurate the models are.

Follow the links below if you are interested in seeing the design models I have created, so far: