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Manual Reference Pages  -  RTHIDE (1)

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rthide - ray-traces a model and writes a hidden line removed UNIX-Plot file.



rthide [options...] model.g objects... >


Rthide operates on the indicated objects in the input model.g and produces a hidden line removed UNIX-Plot file with bas-relief features. rthide produces plots by drawing a boundary whenever a change in region_id is detected. It also recognizes and portrays abrupt changes in surface curvature and changes in surface height. This permits the recognition of pits, protrusions, and changes in surface curvature.

The orientation of the rays to be fired may be specified by the -a and -e options, in which case the model will be autosized, and the grid will be centered on the centroid of the model, with ray spacing chosen to span the entire set of objects. Alternatively, with the -M option, a transformation matrix may be provided on standard input which maps model-space to view-space. In this case, the grid ranges from -1.0 <= X,Y <= +1.0 in view space, with the size of the grid (number of rays fired) specified with -s This option is most useful when rthide is being invoked from a shell script created by an mged(1) saveview command.

The following options are recognized.


Number of rays to fire in X and Y directions (square grid). Default is 512 (512x512).


Select azimuth in degrees. Used with -e and conflicts with -M


Select angle for shading. Default is 5.0 degrees. 89.0 will produce a plot where only steep drops and rises are shaded.


Select elevation in degrees. Used with -a and conflicts with -M


Read model2view matrix from standard input. Conflicts with -a and -e


Select grid cell width.


Select grid cell height. If not specified, cell height equals cell width.

-U #

sets the Boolean variable use_air to the given value.

-o specifies a named file for output. By default, the plot is written to


Set librt debug flags to (hexadecimal) number.

The rthide program is a simple front-end to librt(3) which is most useful when used with mged(1).


This section shows the ordinary usage of rthide. For example,

rthide -a# -e# -s32 model.g all.g >

results in a 32 by 32 UNIXplot file of the named model at the specified azimuth and elevation. There will be some cross-hatching of the plot based on surface curvature. In order to minimize this cross-hatching, an angle can be specified:

rthide -a# -e# -s32 -A89.0  model.g all.g >

eliminates cross-hatching due to curvature. However, cross-hatching resulting from sharp changes in gradient cannot be eliminated.

The plotfile resulting from an rthide run can be viewed directly via pl-sgi and may be rotated with plrot at the users option:



plrot -a# -e# -g | pl-sgi

or it can be overlaid onto a solid model in mged:

mged> overlay

This technique can be used to position and plot rthide output.

The output of rthide can be overlaid on top of a rt shaded image, for "edge enhancement". Here is a complete example, which assumes that FB_FILE points to a valid framebuffer:

        # Directly to the framebuffer
        rt -s512 -a$AZ -e$EL moss.g all.g 2> rt.log
        rthide -A89.9 -s256 -a$AZ -e$EL -o moss.g all.g 2> rthide.log
        eval ‘rtregis rthide.log rt.log‘ < | pl-fb -o -s512


cell-fb(1), mged(1), pl-sgi(1), plrot(1), rt(1), rtray(1), rtregis(1), rtscale(1), librt(3), libplot3(3), plot3(5), ray(5V).


Numerous error conditions are possible, usually due to errors in the geometry database. Descriptive messages are printed on standard error (file descriptor 2).


Most deficiencies observed while using the rthide program are usually with the librt(3) package instead.


Susanne Muuss, J.D. Michael John Muuss


This software is Copyright (c) 1990-2013 by the United States Government as represented by U.S. Army Research Laboratory.


Reports of bugs or problems should be submitted via electronic mail to <>.

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BRL-CAD RTHIDE (1) 04/04/2016

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