Postprint version. Published in The Physics Teacher, Volume 44, Issue 6, September 1, 2006, pages 369-373.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1119/1.2336141.
This paper provides a brief introduction to using ray-traced computer graphics for creating illustrations to be used in physics teaching. The article focuses on Povray, a freely available ray-tracing software program. We have found that a ray-traced illustration produced with this software provides a final-image quality that is far superior to hand-drawn illustrations and those produced using standard click-and-draw computer drawing software. Techniques for illustrating time-dependent scenarios are discussed as well.
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