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AC3D

Type of Program: 3D Model/Editor
Supported Platforms: Windows 95/98/2000/XP
Company Name: Inivis
Version: 3.5
Installed Size: 5MB (Including All Plugins for Registered Users)

Download/Homepage

When you think of modeling and rendering 3D images you might think that it is too difficult and far too expensive to contend with. In many instances (to be fair), it can be intimidating and in some cases, such as using other modeling programs, they can be expensive. But once you take a good look at AC3D you will soon see how polygons, meshes, splines, vertices and algorithms all become easy to use. So easy in fact that you may soon consider rendering and creating 3D images much less than just "work" and instead, more play.

AC3D was one of the first few 3D modeling programs introduced on the Internet. It has been around for awhile and seems to be an on-going development (during my review of it, the program went from version 3.4 to 3.5), in a short time. So you can rest assured that AC3D will meet most your needs now, and in the future. If you canít find your answer in the 44-page PDF manual that can be downloaded, email support is fast and dependable.

So what really makes AC3D better than other programs of like nature? For one, the price! Donít let the price mislead you. AC3D is a full fledged 3D editor that has most everything you would need to create 3D images and visualizations. Especially if you are a game designer on a low budget. When you register the program you will be able to export your models using various plugins in formats such as .3DS, .POV, VRML, .OBJ, DirectX (.X), and more. Because it has this flexibility to create 3D models that you can insert and use in game development, AC3D shines. Secondly, the ease of use. AC3D is so easy to use, whether you are a beginner or experienced user, you can be up and running within an hour, making 3D masterpieces! I personally have tried a number of 3D applications similar to AC3D but found so many of them either lacking in features, far too cumbersome to use, too high priced, lacked any decent Help files, so hard to use, or so slow, I just quit using them altogether! And some of these "other" programs were supposed to be the "top of the line," "name brand" programs!

As with most programs of this nature when you launch it, you will be presented with the four views (Front, Side, Top and Perspective). You can easily setup the grids and gridsnap to begin building 3D images with the various shapes from its Control Panel. You will essentially be interacting with models through the orthographic views and view the model in the 3D window (Perspective). What I really liked was the feature of being able to expand any of the windows to full screen with the click of the mouse. In this way I could zoom in and out, rotate the image, place coordinates precisely, and go back to the four views quickly.

AC3D gives you the ability to work with Objects, Surfaces, Vertices, Faces, Materials, Textures, 1-Sided or 2-Sided figures along with a host of other features. In short, most everything one would need to build 3D images! AC3D seems to expand as you expand. The better you become, the more it will do. In this way you should be able to use the program for months, if not years to come. When you become more experienced you will soon be working easily through Normals, Extruding objects, Lights, Fragmenting, Sub-dividing Surfaces and more!

If what you need is a program for creating 3D images for game development, AC3D may be what youíve been looking for. You can create an endless amount of objects, textured and exported in either the .3DS or .X format (Registered Version only). If what you need is a 3D-modeling program just to play around with, you canít go wrong with the price here. If what you want is a program that is easy enough to begin with but expands as you gain knowledge, AC3D will be ready. Although AC3D can be used for scientific and/or general data visualization as well, I found it to be very useful for game development. If there were one item I could put in my wish list for AC3D, that would be the ability to create animated .X objects. . .and, given enough time, Iím confident the author will find a way to work this in as an added feature for a future upgrade.

Bottom line: If you need a program to aide you in your development of 3D images for insertion into your 3D engine, one that is easy to use and least expensive, AC3D should fit right in with your other programs. You can, if preferred, design your 3D image in AC3D and if needed render them in-depth with another program (itís default is ready to work with PovRay via the Menubar), but can be setup to work with a number of other rendering applications in this same manner.

When the Help file says that AC3D was designed to make the designing and building of 3D objects fast and easy, that is the most accurate statement I have seen about a program in a long time. If you donít think you can master 3D modeling, you may want to think again and then try AC3D. . .one of the grand daddyís of 3D modeling.

Performance
User Friendly
Cost
Ease of Installation
Support
Reviewed by Robert Hall
Purchases can be made online from their Web site.


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