Computer-Music.com contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music. Computer-Music.com is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com

Computer-Music.com  contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music.
Computer-Music.com is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com



 

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Merlin 3D

One day a friend on the trueSpace mailing list asked me what I thought Merlin 3D. I said what? He pointed me to a web site with a few pictures and a short page about a coming 3D program that promised real time rendering nearly as good as a final render! Boy, would save a lot of time with test rendering I thought. So I kept an eye on it. Eventually that same friend said he was applying to be a beta tester. A short time later I had the idea to ask them for a beta so I could start work on a Spot Review as early as possible while I had some down time. The beta was indeed something very different. The program had a very simple interface and passed the "just jump in and fool around" test with flying colors. The Lightworks rendering engine is very modern and capable while the program is exceedingly easy to use. However, like most brand new 3D applications, there are quite a few tools that really should be there and are not yet as of version 1.0. Because of this it may be a good choice for beginners or those looking for a program to render objects created in a program with a less capable renderer. Merlin 3D was the first program I saw which allowed you to turn any object into a light. Pretty cool. That object can disappear as a solid object or continue to be a visible object and a light, both. The vaunted real-time rendering works quite well with bitmapped textures and has some fairly good tools for orienting those textures on the object. But it works not at all with algorithmic textures. As of 1.0 there is not real-time display of algorithmic textures and being a lazy musician type that is the kind I lean towards. In fairness you will probably get much getter results in any 3D CG program if you take the time to use carefully chosen bitmapped textures rather than relying on algorithmic textures with a few exceptions. Darktree Textures is one of them.

So many things are planned or proposed for versions past 1.0 that I am eager to see how Merlin 3D evolves and whether it can stay in the running until those later versions arrive on the scene. A 3D CG program with a simple interface is rare enough as it is. My attention was quickly taken away from Merlin when I bumped into Realsoft 3D 4.1.

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