I’m currently subscribed to PCPro magazine, which gives me an issue of the aforementioned publication each month. With each issue, is a DVD of freeware/trial software for readers to install and play with. Usually, I don’t look at these disks as 80% of the software is the same from month to month. There’s always CCleaner, WinRAR, OpenOffice Adobe Reader AVG etc. But this month, something caught my eye. Vue8 Pioneer, animation and rendering software package, which claims it will allow you to ‘Create your own 3D world’.
The ‘Pioneer’ version is cited as a full product, but with some limitations. Within about 10 minutes, I’d created the picture you see below. It really is quite easy to get some amazing scenes out of the program. Shadows and reflections are created automatically by the renderer. It’s after about 20 minutes however that you start to realise the limitations. Firstly, a lot of objects aren’t available. For instance, if you want to insert a tree, there may be 100s, but only 4 will be available to use in the free version. Also, one of the bigger drawbacks is the rendering options. Although no watermark will appear on output images, a ‘Vue8’ logo will appear on the bottom right corner. Also, image resolution is restricted, a panoramic shot rendered as a mere 1,000 pixels wide.
The good thing however is the upgrade model. You won’t have to pay £3,000 for the suite all in one go. Again, an example, to improve rendering you would buy the RenderUp package. This would remove limitations from this part of the application, you can but the package for (I think) $69.