> Drawing complicated scenes in much more complicated in 3D than in 2D—and more interesting, since some real ideas are required. Much high-end 3D drawing, for example in video games or movies, relies on a pixel-by-pixel treatment. the pixels in hardware designed for this purpose incorporate a depth coordinate—that is to say, depth with respect to the plane of the screen—and pixels are colored in the order of their depth, so that close pixels are painted after far ones. This hardware option is unavailable to PostScript, which is essentially device-independent. The PostScript program itself must therefore be responsible for keeping track of depth. The standard method for doing this is to use a binary space partition.
Yeah, this is a good reminder that there's no Z-buffer in vector rendering. I haven't used painter's algorithm for a couple decades, but this makes me want to play with PostScript and code up a little 3d surface renderer with a BSP tree and painter's algorithm.
I'm also reminded of ray tracing in PostScript http://www.realtimerendering.com/resources/RTNews/html/rtnv6...
At some point I wanted to make a book of PostScript code on left pages / graphical output on right pages, but I only made four pages:
Right around this same time, X11 was coming up on other platforms like HP and Apollo, and it seems to have "won", and NeWS disappeared.
I wonder if the time is right for a resurgence in this idea, now that we're rethinking compositors, X servers, Wayland etc etc.
ps: nice idea btw
"The figure below shows how the curve x^2+y^2−1=0 is approximated by four quadratic curves (in red). An approximation by eight quadratic curves is just about indistinguishable from a true circle."
The basic drawing operations in postscript and PDF are the same, but that’s about it.
An important difference between PDF and Postscript is that PDF isn’t Turing complete (1). Benefits of that are that, for example, you can determine how many pages are in a .pdf without rendering it in full.
Disadvantage for drawing fractals is that PDF doesn’t have a notion of looping or recursion. That postscript program to draw a fractal can, at render time, check the resolution of the output device and then decide how deep to recurse. A PDF file has to decide at file creation time, and has to contain every single drawing command, so it will be larger (I don’t remember PDF internals well enough to be sure about the latter. It may be possible to avoid the latter a bit by redrawing scaled parts of a drawing)
> No, they don’t. That’s like saying PNG files can contain postscript code because tools exist that convert postscript to .png.
It's clear you know the difference between PS and PDF, so don't you think your straw man example is a bit exaggerated? PDF is originally based on PS, and it has 1:1 correspondence for almost all it's rendering features with PS. PNG is completely different, since it's a raster format, it doesn't share any drawing operations with PS.
You could have offered a gentle nitpick that PDF is interpreted PS rather than source PS, but claiming @pletnes' comment is completely wrong, when it isn't, makes your comment seem both unnecessarily snarky and somewhat off base, FWIW.
"PDF contains tokenized and interpreted results of the PostScript source code, for direct correspondence between changes to items in the PDF page description and changes to the resulting page appearance."
In fact the "PDF page description language" is PostScript constrained to only drawing operations which have somewhat extended semantics, as PDF drawing model does Porter-Duff composition while PS does not.
In all, when you rewrite any piece of PS code delimited by /showpage into shortest PS reprasentation without control structures you get valid PDF representation of exactly same final page image.
(this also makes your analogy pretty weak - it's more like "having a PNG include a bitmap image", in addition to all the other data it can contain)
of course, most _readers_ will ignore raw postscript because the PDF format is intended for print documents and having an insanely complex code instruction that draws "a picture" is crazy inefficient compared to just including the vector graphic (not the bitmap graphic, that would be quite dumb) that the postscript program is supposed to yield.
you have to evaluate the whole source to be able to know the actual output, PDF mitigate this by giving static structure (pages etc) so that a program can find its way out of the box. Allowing for showing the page N only, quickly. Such things.
Edit: PostScript has to be interpreted and rendered, PDF only has to rendered. You can't jump to page 100 in a PostScript if you haven't interpreted page 1 to 99 before. A PDF can do that.
Still, advantage PostScript.
In my little printing world I like to have control over the page, I don't like that the printer (RIP) can control the page "in a way that is optimal for the printer". I am responsible for the output, not the printer. If something goes wrong inside the RIP, the printer doesn't pay the damages, I am. And things can get costly.
It is also pretty resource intensive to work with PS (because it has to be interpreted every time you want to have a look at it). All things considered (and there are a lot more differences) it is simply more pleasant to work with PDF instead of PS. That's why the majority uses it. But it definitely has flaws, too.
Edit: I wrote parsers for PDF and PSD in CL years ago and still cringe when remembering that ordeal.
[Edit: this observation should probably be taken as relative to various other "plain-text with byte offsets as decimal ASCII number" I have seen, with PDF being the most sane from the set of such formats I've seen, with Netscape/Mozilla Mork beeing the most insane]