More Software

I recently came across another free software tool for CAD/3d design. The software is called CoCreate by PTC, which offers both a commercial and a free personal version. The interface looks pretty straight forward and the software on the whole reminds me of another tool in this category called Alibre Design. Both tools seems to take a similar approach, offering a free application to attract people into the 3d market, while maintaining a more traditional CAD-like approach. I find this approach to be less intuitive than other tools that do not follow so closely to the CAD tradition, such as Rhino, Form Z, and Google’s SketchUp, which is, technically, more of a visualization tool than a true modeling program.

In any case, both CoCreate and Alibre Design Xpress have the potential to be good, free tools, attracting new comers to the 3d fabrication arena.

Art of Illusion

Another piece of nifty 3D modeling software. Open-source. Runs on Linux, OS X, and Windows.

Quote from the website:

Art of Illusion is a free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. It is written entirely in Java, and should be usable on any Java Virtual Machine which is compatible with J2SE 1.4 or later.

The current version is 2.6, released April 30, 2008. This version is both stable and powerful enough to be used for serious, high end animation work. Many of its capabilities rival those found in commercial programs. Some of the highlights include subdivision surface based modelling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials.

http://www.artofillusion.org/downloads

Wings 3D. Another Mesh Modeler

Wings is another piece of open source software available for Linux, OS X, and Windows.

Here’s what a recent reviewer said:

Wings is a great modeler that I have been using for years now. Don’t let the UI put you off. Similar to Blender, tt is fully cross platform which is why it doesn’t fit in to any OS.

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Unlike Blender, Wings’ method of editing meshes doesn’t take years to learn and years more to master. After learning the basics, enabling advanced options in the menus, and learning a few…repeat FEW hotkeys, I was off an running. Also, unlike Blender, all of Wings’ buttons and windows work like any user would expect.

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http://www.wings3d.com

Moment of Inspiration (software)

There is another software package I just thought of this morning that might be useful. It is called Moment of Inspiration (MOI) (I am not so hot on the name) but it is good software in any case. The interface is very intuitive and in many ways it is a nice blend of the features found in Rhino and Sketchup. I find it really easy to work with and much more powerful than Sketchup or CB Model Pro. It also reads and writes the proprietary Rhino file format, making it very useful as a supplement to Rhino. The reason I have not bought it is that it is the same price as the educational cost of Rhino ($195). But compared to the full cost of Rhino ($995), it is a great deal. It is a PC-only application, though. In any case, it may be worth a look and a means to get things rolling quickly. There is a demo you can download at the above link.
MOI
(cdc)

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Blender Open Source 3D Software

Blender is an open source 3D modeling suite that runs on multiple platforms.

http://vva.org/blog/?p=3312
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