Quick Navigator

Search Site

Unix VPS
A - Starter
B - Basic
C - Preferred
D - Commercial
MPS - Dedicated
Previous VPSs
* Sign Up! *

Contact Us
Online Help
Domain Status
Man Pages

Virtual Servers

Topology Map

Server Agreement
Year 2038

USA Flag



Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  RTRAY (1)

.ds Aq ’


rtray - raytrace an mged model, writing a VLD rayfile



rtray [options...] model.g objects... > model.ray


Rtray operates on the indicated objects in the input model.g and produces a VLD standard ray(5V) format ray file on standard output. The "ob" field of the ray(5V) file is set to the region id of each intersected region, or to the negative of the aircode for each air region, or to one of five VLD-standard reserved values:


zero-thickness "paint" at rays first entry into the model.


zero-thickness "paint" at any rays exit interior to the model RPP.


(unmodeled) air between modeled regions.


zero-thickness "paint" at any rays entry interior to the model RPP.


zero-thickness "paint" at rays final exit from the model.

The "rt" ray tag field of the ray(5V) file is a 32-bit value set to a combination of the grid X and grid Y coordinates, plus the recursion/iteration (a_level) value (used mostly for multibounce effects in radar simulation). This allows all ray(5V) records pertaining to the same grid cell to be identified.

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


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

-U #

sets the Boolean variable use_air to the given value. The default for rtray(1) is on, i.e. -U1, but the effect of air regions may be disabled with -U0.


output.ray specifies a named ray file for output. By default, the rays are written to stdout. Note that the VLD standard ray file format ray(5V) is a machine-specific binary format, which means ray files should be moved between machines with care.

As an alternative to the

-s# option, the grid cell sizes can be specified with -g# used to set the grid cell width, and -G# optionally used to set the grid cell height. If the grid cell width is specified and the grid cell height is not specified, the grid cell height defaults to be the same as the width.


Set librt debug flags to (hexadecimal) number.

The rtray program is a simple front-end to librt(3) which is most useful when used with mged(1) and the VLD ray filters. In order to convert a ray file into a minimal monochrome UNIX-plot image for viewing, run:

/vld/bin/rayvect -mMM < file.ray > file.vect /vld/bin/vectplot -mMM < file.vect > file.plot tplot -Tmeg file.plot # or other plot filter pl-sgi < file.plot


gift(1V), mged(1), raydump(1V), rayplot(1V), rayvect(1V), rt(1), rtpp(1), librt(3), plot3(5), ray(5V).


Numerous error conditions are possible. Descriptive messages are printed on standard error (file descriptor 2).


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




This software is Copyright (c) 1986-2013 United States Government as represented by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. All rights reserved.


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

Search for    or go to Top of page |  Section 1 |  Main Index

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

Powered by GSP Visit the GSP FreeBSD Man Page Interface.
Output converted with manServer 1.07.