Just wondering if it is possible to revolve or pan a raytraced (rendered?) model without having to switch back to wireframe to do it?
Not really. There's an experimental mode that provides that shaded viewing of geometry, but that's not presently a feature available to most users. We're working on providing that feature in a more robust and default manner soon.
The raytraced view is a raster (2D) image, so you can't perform 3D operations on it any more than you can on images in a web browser. The feature you're probably wanting is shaded 3D geometry, which is what we're working on. In the meantime, a) the 'rt' command will pop up a quick 512x512 window, b) the raytrace control panel make it easy to enable/disable the framebuffer with a checkbox, and c) the Geometry Browser has a thumbnail preview option that continually updates a small 64x64 raytrace rendering.
The reason it's not shaded now is rather involved and complicated, but comes from BRL-CAD's support for robust implicit geometry instead of explicit geometry you might be more familiar with working on in other CAD or content modeling systems. Our approach has much better guarantees for analysis work, but makes things like interactive shaded viewing harder.
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