RayDream Studio

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A qood place to start with 3-D modeling and computer rendering.

This is another in the integrated set of 3D applications by MetaCreations .  It fills a middle ground under the high-end Inifi-D.  Granted, it is not the most sophisticated modeler out there, but it is definately worth a look.
First, it is affordable.  The discounted price is around $230.  You can save even more buy purchasing it with the MetsCreations 3_D suite which includes Poser, Bryce, and Painter 3D.
Also, being cross-platform, it is a good choice for an education lab that includes both Mac and Windows computers.  One lecture-demonstration covers use on both platforms as the applications are virtually identical.  The file format allows files to be moved from windows to mac and back with no losses.
 
 

   The program is actually very easy to use.  The interface has been designed to be as graphically based as possible.  A key element is the multi-function browser through which you can choose, then drag and drop various elements to your model.  Object libraries can be accessed through this browser as can shaders, deformers, lights, rendering effects and various animation controls.  Objects, cameras, lights, object scene trees and animation can all be controled through graphic windows.  Of course this means that screen space is at a premium and a large screen monitor can help a lot.

The modeler has most of the features seen in high-end applications although accessing them is unusual.  Meshes, lathing and complex extrusions are done in a seperate window and then dropped back into the main scene.  This can be awkward when trying to create objects in one window that need to fit other objects still in the main window.

We particularly like the lighting features.  After positioning a light source, click on it and the object you wish to illumnate.  Then use the "aim at" command to automatically aim the light.

Educational users can find it discounted at education resellers such as journyed.com  Check out the save-disabled demo application at  MetaCreations software.
 
 
 


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