POV-Ray input format (pov)#

Generate an input file for the open source POV-Ray ray tracer.

The POV-Ray file generated by Open Babel should be considered a starting point for the user to create a rendered image of a molecule. Although care is taken to center the camera on the molecule, the user will probably want to adjust the viewpoint, change the lighting, textures, etc.

The file babel_povray3.inc is required to render the povray file generated by Open Babel. This file is included in the Open Babel distribution, and it should be copied into the same directory as the .pov file before rendering. By editing the settings in babel_povray3.inc it is possible to tune the appearance of the molecule.

For example, the image below was generated by rendering the output from the following command after setting the reflection of non-metal atoms to 0 (line 121 in babel_povray3.inc):

obabel -:"CC(=O)Cl acid chloride" --gen3d -O chloride.pov -xc -xf -xs -m SPF


This is a write-only format.

Write Options#


Add a black and white checkerboard


Add a mirror sphere

-m <model-type>

BAS (ball-and-stick), SPF (space-fill) or CST (capped sticks)

The default option is ball-and-stick. To choose space-fill, you would use the following command line:

obabel aspirin.mol -O aspirin.pov -xm SPF

Add a sky (with clouds)


Use transparent textures