POVRay Short Code Contest - Round 3

Other rounds: [Round 4] [Round 5]

Final results

Maintained by Paul Bourke


This is round three of the POVRay short code contest. For those who haven't wasted hours on this sort of thing before, the idea is to create an "artistic" work using a very small POVRay file. In the last round entrants were allowed to use 500 bytes, to increase the challenge this round will be limited to 256 bytes!

This is intended to be a friendly competition between POVRay aficionados but this round I am pleased to announce a prize will be awarded to the gold place winner. They will receive a copy of Ian Stewarts book titled "What Shape is a Snowflake" which just happens to have lots of ideas for new POVRay models and textures.

Important dates
  • Entries may be submitted up to: midnight of the 29th February 2004 - Entries closed

  • Voting open to the public: sometime in early March 2004 - Voting closed

  • Voting closes: midnight of the 10th March - Voting closed

  • Results released "soon" afterwards - Final results.


  • A valid entry will consist of a single text file containing between 16 and 256 bytes. Including external files with the #include directive is not permitted.

  • The image to be judged will be rendered using POVRay 3.6 beta 1 running on a reasonably well endowed Linux machine.


An entry can include the following, obviously the first is compulsory.

  • A text file that containing no more than 256 characters. It is this file that will be rendered by POVRay at 800x600 pixels to form the image to be judged.

  • A more human readable version of the above file.

  • A text or HTML formatted file with any other comments the entrant wishes to make. For example, a description of the image, the motivation, any tricks employed, etc.


Voting is open to anyone and is based solely on the merits of the image, the source code will not be visible. There will be three prizes awarded as suggested by Greg Johnson: gold, silver, and bronze corresponding to efficiency (best image with the least code), artistry (best image), and paucity (smallest code that was still interesting). The voting process will be made as transparent as possible, however the coordinator (me) exercises the right to decide upon any matter in dispute. The voting algorithm will be as follows:

  • Each voter will choose their six favourite images based upon artistic merit. A first choice will get 6 points, the second will get 5 points, and so on.

  • The gold place winner will be determined by dividing the total number of points awarded by the byte count.

  • The silver place winner will be the entry with the highest number of points.

  • The bronze place will go to the entry with the highest number of points divided by the square of the bytes used, this rewards the lower byte counts while still requiring an interesting image.

In addition to the above, a small panel of critics with a professional digital arts background will be invited to vote independently and comment/critique entries they find notable. The members of the panel will be announced in due course.

  • Each entry will be rendered with the default POVRay settings along with the following ".ini" file. If you have any special requirements please let me know. The image will be rendered by POVRay to a TGA file and converted to ".jpg" using the UNIX "convert" program with the quality option set to 95%.

  • It is possible (likely even) that some entries will take a long time to render. While I have extensive rendering resources available, entrants should realise it isn't infinite. I will make every attempt to render your scene no matter how excessive. However here are only 5 days between the closing of the competition and the start of voting, so you are treading on dangerous ground if your scene takes more than a couple of days on a high clock speed P4 processor.

  • After the winners have been announced, the image, source code, and any additional information provided by the entrant will be included on a WWW page that will stand as a monument to this silliness.