PovRay and ldraw frustration


PovRay and ldraw frustration
#1
I don't usually start like this on a forum I'm new to, but the whole stuff is totally frustrating, and I need to vent off some steam. Nonetheless, these are (imho) legal complains about something that should be an out-of-the-box success instead of a chain of failures and frustrations.

I'm really a beginner with all this digital building stuff, but I've learned that ldraw & co can be frustrating to no end.

I started with the all-in-one-installer to create building instructions. I got a lot of help and could get the basics up and running with MLCad (which I had used before to create the models) and LPub3D within a few days. But then it got frustrating. LPub3D produced really, really bad (I'm tempted to say shitty) output. Even when I set the DPI to 600 (and cleared the caches), the PDF was horribly blocky. I finally fixed that by upgrading the provided LPub3D to a more current version. Why does the current all-in-one-installer provide outdated, buggy software?

But even with the updated version, the rendering with LDGLite still just crashes when rendering the model, and I never got the PovRay rendering to work, even after hunting for obscure lg_colors and lg_materials files. The only change I got was that instead of staying open and presenting obscure error messages, it now opens and closes povray without producing anything. It still seems to produce an error of some sorts, but it immediately closes the window, so I cannot tell what the problem is, and the stdout_povray and stderr_povray files are empty.

Hunting for the LGEO library (e.g. to look for updates or to find thoses mysterious lg_colors and lg_materials) files only leads to dead ends - looks like el lutzo closed up shop with his website. Why are those mysterious files (and whatever else may be needed for rendering with PovRay) not part of the all-in-one-installer? I finally found those two files somewhere on sourceforge in another projects archive, but I have absolutely no idea if those are the right ones.

Those rendering problems lead to the idea to use L3P and the L3PAddon to attempt a rendering of the model with PovRay. Sorry, but that was a total failure. The program wants to know the location of some files (which cannot be found within the installation, ldraw files, or program installation directories) and a strange tool (ledit.exe, according to google this is a electric circuit/layout program!?!) that it cannot run at all without.

Maybe this all works for some people who have installed numerous updates over time, have some old files still hanging around from 20 versions ago that some current programs still need, but no installer provides, or have tweaked their system over time to cover some of the problems I found. But it just does not work on a freshly installed system.

Please, take a fresh machine, install the AIOI, and try those things yourself if you don't believe me.

At least, with the updated LPub3D i get a decent PDF with the LDView renderer.

But the program is still buggy on many aspects. E.g. all measurements are in inches, even if the default unit is cm. A A4 page is 29.7 by 21.0 cm, not 11.6929 by 8.2677 (without any unit given, but it looks like inches) in Configuration->Page Setup.

If there is anything I can do to help debugging this whole mess, ask me, and I'll try my best. If a developer needs my mpd files to fix his software, no problem, just ask, and you will be given. But working with a software suite where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing is utterly frustrating.

Leg bedre,
Christian
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#2
Hi Christian, I had a similar experience.

Here's a list of what I did recently to troubleshoot similar issues:
http://forums.ldraw.org/thread-21309-pos...l#pid21319
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#3
Hi!

(2016-04-25, 9:10)Brian Wrote: Hi Christian, I had a similar experience.
That's a relief - I didn't know if it was only my installation that made such a trouble.

(2016-04-25, 9:10)Brian Wrote: Here's a list of what I did recently to troubleshoot similar issues:
http://forums.ldraw.org/thread-21309-pos...l#pid21319
Thanks! I'll try to implement this.

What is still needed is a real source for an approved set of lg_colors.lst and lg_elements.lst - I have no idea if the files I found are any good.

Leg bedre,
Christianj
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#4
(2016-04-24, 19:14)Christian Treczoks Wrote: Why does the current all-in-one-installer provide outdated, buggy software?

But even with the updated version, the rendering with LDGLite still just crashes when rendering the model, and I never got the PovRay rendering to work, even after hunting for obscure lg_colors and lg_materials files. The only change I got was that instead of staying open and presenting obscure error messages, it now opens and closes povray without producing anything. It still seems to produce an error of some sorts, but it immediately closes the window, so I cannot tell what the problem is, and the stdout_povray and stderr_povray files are empty.

Hunting for the LGEO library (e.g. to look for updates or to find thoses mysterious lg_colors and lg_materials) files only leads to dead ends - looks like el lutzo closed up shop with his website. Why are those mysterious files (and whatever else may be needed for rendering with PovRay) not part of the all-in-one-installer? I finally found those two files somewhere on sourceforge in another projects archive, but I have absolutely no idea if those are the right ones.

Those rendering problems lead to the idea to use L3P and the L3PAddon to attempt a rendering of the model with PovRay. Sorry, but that was a total failure. The program wants to know the location of some files (which cannot be found within the installation, ldraw files, or program installation directories) and a strange tool (ledit.exe, according to google this is a electric circuit/layout program!?!) that it cannot run at all without.

Maybe this all works for some people who have installed numerous updates over time, have some old files still hanging around from 20 versions ago that some current programs still need, but no installer provides, or have tweaked their system over time to cover some of the problems I found. But it just does not work on a freshly installed system.

Please, take a fresh machine, install the AIOI, and try those things yourself if you don't believe me.
Hi Christian,

you might have noticed that the AIOI doesn't provide any paths or settings for POVRay under LPub3D. It is totally up to you to set it up. A smooth installation is currently not doable also because LPub3D relays on L3P for its LDraw2POV conversion. L3P hasn't been updated for 8 years now while the LGEO library has and works fine with LDView generated files. L3P is provided as silent install, but your rant thought me that it is high time to remove L3P from the installer, so that it is clear that you have to provide all the pieces needed.

As for the buggy software included in the AIOI please read: http://www.ldraw.org/article/104.html

Code:
Note that newer version of each application may be available as this installer was created for the release of the latest LDraw parts library update, which happens twice or three times a year.

Bye, w.
LEGO ergo sum
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#5
Hi!

Thanks for replying even when I started this thread off with such a rant...

(2016-04-26, 12:53)Willy Tschager Wrote: you might have noticed that the AIOI doesn't provide any paths or settings for POVRay under LPub3D. It is totally up to you to set it up. A smooth installation is currently not doable also because LPub3D relays on L3P for its LDraw2POV conversion. L3P hasn't been updated for 8 years now while the LGEO library has and works fine with LDView generated files. L3P is provided as silent install, but your rant thought me that it is high time to remove L3P from the installer, so that it is clear that you have to provide all the pieces needed.
OK, so there is (or soon was) a L3P hidden somewhere to do this. Yes, I already learned that this L3P was antique, and had my problems with it, so I left it out of my plans. But I also learned that one can produce pov files (that actually work! Miracle!) with LDView - would it be possible to use this path instead? I have no idea whether this can be done with LDView in a command line mode like the rendering LPub3D does. But I would love to see a high-quality instruction set rendered with POVRay.

(2016-04-26, 12:53)Willy Tschager Wrote: As for the buggy software included in the AIOI please read: http://www.ldraw.org/article/104.html
Code:
Note that newer version of each application may be available as this installer was created for the release of the latest LDraw parts library update, which happens twice or three times a year.
OK, I have to accept this. It would be nice, though, if the download page would get an expanded table under this section with a column stating which applications got an update since the release of the AIOI - This would be easier that the hassle of re-packing the AIOI (I guess that the most difficult part here is the QA), and would give a good "heads up" information for everyone who installs this AIOI package.

Leg bedre,
Christian
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#6
(2016-04-26, 16:33)Christian Treczoks Wrote: OK, so there is (or soon was) a L3P hidden somewhere to do this. Yes, I already learned that this L3P was antique, and had my problems with it, so I left it out of my plans. But I also learned that one can produce pov files (that actually work! Miracle!) with LDView - would it be possible to use this path instead? I have no idea whether this can be done with LDView in a command line mode like the rendering LPub3D does.

No, LDView does not export in command line mode.

(2016-04-26, 16:33)Christian Treczoks Wrote:
(2016-04-26, 12:53)Willy Tschager Wrote: As for the buggy software included in the AIOI please read: http://www.ldraw.org/article/104.html
Code:
Note that newer version of each application may be available as this installer was created for the release of the latest LDraw parts library update, which happens twice or three times a year.
OK, I have to accept this. It would be nice, though, if the download page would get an expanded table under this section with a column stating which applications got an update since the release of the AIOI - This would be easier that the hassle of re-packing the AIOI (I guess that the most difficult part here is the QA), and would give a good "heads up" information for everyone who installs this AIOI package.

You'll surely have noted that the current table includes the current version number. A column indicating an update can be added. However I usually contact all programmers prior a release asking for their latest version - sometimes delaying the release a week or two to get the latest release.

w.
LEGO ergo sum
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#9
re: "... this L3P was antique ..."

For what it's worth, I spent some time testing the AIOI version of L3P and it works with POV in my case if I do all of the following:

1) Remove spaces from all paths, filenames, and internal model names, and
2) Put the LDraw file in a directory with proper permissions, and
3) Point LPub3D to a simple utility app to parse the L3P command options, remove -lgeo, and then call L3P
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#11
(2016-05-03, 5:26)Brian Wrote: 3) Point LPub3D to a simple utility app to parse the L3P command options, remove -lgeo, and then call L3P
On linux, this is a one-minute-job in bash or perl, but I have no clue how to even start this on windows except digging out some visual C and write a program.

Leg bedre,
Christian
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#13
re: " ... no clue how to even start this on windows ... "

Here is the code and a step-by-step of what I did if you are interested:
https://gist.github.com/geekygravity/08a...6ca4e5ee7a
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#12
(2016-04-26, 18:35)Willy Tschager Wrote: No, LDView does not export in command line mode.
Dang! Big Grin  LDView does a nice job with the pov-files. It would be a nice enhancement if LDraw could be bothered to do this...

Leg bedre,
Christian
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#7
Hello Christian,

LPub3D is very much "alive" and being update by Trevor on short notice. The best was to keep up is to chekc his announcements in the relevant thread.
Jaco and others also intensively test the SW and propose additions or enhancements to help and improve LPub3D

Gerald
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#8
Since you mentioned ldglite, I wonder if maybe you could give a few details and possibly test a thing or two for me.  I get very little feedback on it these days.  So, are you saying that ldglite renders the parts, but not the model when you use it with LPub3D?  Does the model file have spaces in the file name?  I suppose that might jumble things up when LPub3D passes the command line arguments to ldglite.  If that's not the problem, then perhaps you could do me a favor and try this new build of ldglite and let me know if the problem persists.  

ldglite_1_3_1_2g2x.zip

It works for me but I only have an old XP laptop for Windows testing.

Thanks,

Don
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RE: PovRay and ldraw frustration
#10
Hi!

Sorry for the late reply...

(2016-04-27, 1:14)Don Heyse Wrote: Since you mentioned ldglite, I wonder if maybe you could give a few details and possibly test a thing or two for me.  I get very little feedback on it these days.  So, are you saying that ldglite renders the parts, but not the model when you use it with LPub3D?  Does the model file have spaces in the file name?
Yes, I think so. I have to look it up on my other computer (I use Linux for my everyday work, and only occasionally windows if I cannot avoid it).

(2016-04-27, 1:14)Don Heyse Wrote: I suppose that might jumble things up when LPub3D passes the command line arguments to ldglite.  If that's not the problem, then perhaps you could do me a favor and try this new build of ldglite and let me know if the problem persists.
I'll check this as soon as I've time for this. But this would not surprise me, as LPub3D seems to have problems with spaces with other command line tools, too, iirc.

(2016-04-27, 1:14)Don Heyse Wrote: ldglite_1_3_1_2g2x.zip
It works for me but I only have an old XP laptop for Windows testing.
OK, same as above. My windows system runs win8.1, so you'll get an additional opinion - if the fault is not with LPub3D...

Leg bedre,
Christian
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