GSoC/GCI Archive
Google Code-in 2014 BRL-CAD

Beginner: Install and run BRL-CAD! #41

completed by: Hannie

mentors: Deepak, Popescu Andrei

This is a two-part task. First part is about open source communication, second part is to install and run one of BRL-CAD's tools.

PART 1: For the first part, see the Voluntary Communication Checklist on our org profile page here:

Simply do one or more of the checklist items and leave a comment here saying which you did. Provide some evidence that we can verify like if you talk on our IRC channel, let us know your username. If you join a mailing list, just leave a comment stating the first four letters of your e-mail address (please don't post your whole address). We encourage you to do all four!

PART 2: The second part of this task involves downloading, installing, and running BRL-CAD and then proving you got it working. You'll prove it by creating some really simple geometry, rendering it, and submitting a screenshot.

You have a choice of how to obtain our software, each with different learning challenges:

  • BEST: You can download and compile directly from our repository:
  • EASY: You can download our Virtual Machine image:
  • MEH: You can use a binary tarball:

Once you have BRL-CAD installed, you'll want to run either mged or archer. You can see our Intro to MGED on for extensive tutorials on how to model, but here are some quick steps to get you going:

  1. First, create a simple 512x512 black and white image that has your name in it somewhere. Any paint program will do here. You'll want to create white text on a black background.
  2. Save that as a png image named hello.png
  3. Convert your png image to a bw image by running our png-bw command (png-bw hello.png > If you can't figure out how to do that on your system command line, this command on the mged> prompt should work if you copy-paste it exactly as written into mged: exec \[ file join \[ bu_brlcad_root bin \] pix-bw \] hello.png \>
  4. Create your extruded bitmap geometry: in gcirocks.ebm ebm 512 512 64
  5. Render a pretty picture:
    B gcirocks.ebm
    ae 35 25
    zoom 1.5
    l gcirocks.ebm
  6. You should see a rendering window pop up if everything else was okay. Take a full screenshot and submit it here.

Once you submit your screenshot, remember to leave a comment with details about which communication checklist item(s) you performed along with your evidence.

  • <-- if you're trying to compile from source
  • <-- intro to mged and quick ref command card
  • <-- more details on the ebm you are creating