In addition to the molecular file formats, VMD can read the input file for Raster3D. (Raster3D converts an input file into a shaded raster image for use in making high quality pictures. It is often used with MolScript.) The ability to read Raster3D allows users to view MolScript files in 3D and incorporate special images into the display without having to edit the VMD code. The file format, which is part of the Raster3D documentation, describes a simple collection of triangles, spheres, and cylinders with either flat or spherical ends. Each shape is colored by an RGB triplet.
Certain newer Raster3D objects are ignored, such as quadrics. Also, nearly all of the header information is ignored--most notably, the viewing matrix. Raster3D uses many cylinders with spherical (rounded) ends. VMD deliberately omits these rounded ends since the resultant image would be very slow to render interactively. VMD uses a fixed size palette of colors, each triplet is converted into its ``nearest'' indexed color. This may cause images to be colored slightly differently than expected.