POV (.pov)

Background & Context

    • MIME type: model/x-pov
    • POV-Ray 3D scene description language and format.
    • Used for storing 3D models and scene descriptions.
    • Native file format of the POV-Ray raytracing software.
    • POV-Ray is an acronym derived from Persistence of Vision Raytracer.
    • Plain text ASCII format.
    • Uses the syntax of the POV-Ray scripting language.


  • Export["file.pov",expr] exports a Graphics3D object to a POV file.
  • Export["file.pov",expr,elem] creates a POV file by treating expr as specifying element elem.
  • Export["file.pov",{expr1,expr2,},{elem1,elem2,}] treats each expri as specifying the corresponding elemi.
  • Export["file.pov",expr,opt1->val1] exports expr with the specified option elements taken to have the specified values.
  • Export["file.pov",{elem1->expr1,elem2->expr2,},"Rules"] uses rules to specify the elements to be exported.
  • See the following reference pages for full general information:
  • Exportexport to a file
    CloudExportexport to a cloud object
    ExportStringexport to a string
    ExportByteArrayexport to a byte array

Import Elements

  • Data representation elements:
  • "Graphics3D"POV file containing 3D geometries, represented as a Graphics3D object
    "GraphicsComplex"list of GraphicsComplex objects, each representing a geometry stored in the file
    "LineData"lines represented as lists of indices, referencing the vertices as given by the "VertexData" element
    "LineObjects"list of Line primitives given in absolute coordinates
    "PointData"point data in indexed form
    "PointObjects"list of Point primitives given in absolute coordinates
    "PolygonData"polygon data in indexed form
    "PolygonObjects"list of Polygon primitives given in absolute coordinates
    "VertexData"list of vertex coordinates
  • Export uses the "Graphics3D" element by default.


  • Advanced option:
  • "VerticalAxis"{0,0,1}orientation to assume for the coordinate system used in the file
    "Comments"Nonelist of comments to be embedded in the file
  • By default, the Wolfram Language assumes that in the coordinate system used by the POV format the vertical axis corresponds to the third coordinate.
  • With the setting "VerticalAxis"->{0,1,0}, the Wolfram Language will apply the transformation {x,y,z}->{x,z,-y} to all graphics coordinates when exporting to POV.


Basic Examples  (3)

Use ParametricPlot3D to create a solid 3D geometry:

Export it to POV:

Export inline graphics to a POV file:

Exporting with comments: