Ray Traced Geodome
This is a ray traced image created with POV-Ray Version 2.2. I used a utility that I wrote myself, uninspiringly called GEODOME (V1.1), to create a geodesic dome out of black metal pipes and joints. Inside this, there is a blue metallic sphere with some interesting lightning arcing around it.
Click on the image above to see a larger version.
The lanscape consists of stone blocks, walkways and ramps created from a height map. The image used as the height map started out as a fractal plasma cloud in 256 shades of grey. I repeatedly saved it as a JPEG image using the highest compression and lowest quality settings. The ramping you see is a visible artifact of the JPEG compression algorithm.
I worked on the image for about 3 months on and off. The final render took 167 hours to trace on an IBM PC, 486DX 50MHz with 16 Meg RAM, running MS-DOS 5.0. The official Intel Code Builder version of POV-Ray 2.2 was used.
The complexity of the geodome certainly contributed to the length of time to trace, but the main factor was the big fat area light I used (appreciate the smooth shadows) coupled with the complexity of the ground and fog textures (lots of transparent, bumpy and layered bits).