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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Realsoft 3D

As I write this the 3D CG program I have most recently used is called Realsoft 3D. I have not finished my Spot Review but I am very impressed. It seems it has been around for a long time under the name Real 3D the latest version had to change its name to avoid confusion with a video card of that name. Realsoft 3D trances its roots at least back to the Commodore 64. This made me wonder why I had never hear do of it, or if I had then why didn't then name stick in my mind. It turns out that the current version 4.x (4.1 as of this writing) is a total rewrite and a very major upgrade from version 3 and has taken several years to complete. From what I can see it was worth the wait. I have read some criticism that Realsoft 3D is hard to use. I think that must be coming from people who take a quick look around the interface and try to jump right in. If you follow the excellent tutorials in order from the beginning you will quickly see how the program is logically organized and you will soon find yourself correctly guessing how to use features the tutorial has not yet introduced you to. In fact I have few instances where I got stuck trying to do something and in each case I had figured out a good way around the problem before I received email from the users group telling me yet another good way to do the same task. In most programs you can count yourself lucky if there is a single way to do something and lucky again if it is not difficult or confusing.

Realsoft 3D has a whole lot of very advanced tools for a program of its price range. Around $600. They even offer a $200 competitive upgrade from almost any program that cost you at least $200 to purchase. One associate said he once bought Cinema 4D for the price of this program. He went on to explain that his most recent upgrade of C4D cost him that much. And that Realsoft 3D looks to be the same kind of program. On its way up. From what I've seen I am inclined to agree. After looking at the price and the feature list my first question to the email group was. Okay, so what's wrong with it? The resounding answer was "practically nothing". Its just that 4.x is very new and most people don't know about it. After spending a lot of time with this program I tend to agree. I have yet to start with the texturing engine which seems as though it may be a bit more on the difficult side but I'll reserve final judgment until I have completed the tutorials.  It could be another case like the main interface where it only seems difficult until you read the instructions and understand how it is laid out.

There are so many goodies in this program and they all work really well. It actually has most of the things I liked in all of the other programs. And they all work at an advanced level. Features are not merely thrown in as half-baked toys. The character and spline animation tools are quite good yet simple. The renders are very good quality though there are not true caustics yet. The physics engine works well once you get the settings correct and it even has soft body dynamics built in, not as a plug-in or a separate function!

There is currently no direct audio or MIDI support in this program though the developers say they are very interested in adding at least some sort of audio support to the next versions.

The program is so new that there as been little time for anyone to create any plug-ins but the fact that it is so competent means there will be much less need for plug-ins.

I am hoping that they add audio support and that it is as good as the rest of the program but even if they do not that does not mean it can not be used to produce animations to go with your music. It only means the will have to be created separately and combined in some other package. As much as I would prefer to have the audio more intimately tied to the animation via the animation program itself I think I can accept this limitation if the pay off is a program that lets you quickly do the animation and get back to the business of making music.

I have made a few models in Realsoft 3D in the short time I have had it and they are among the most pleasant modeling experiences I have ever had. The models are more complex and came along much quicker than anything I have done in the past. Even playing around in the tutorials I was easily able to produce animations that could easily be modified into something to go with my music online. This all bodes well for the future of this program. It also says a lot for its appropriateness for use by the kind of people who tend to visit this web site.


This article is such a large undertaking that I plan to re-read and re-write large sections of it to add more information as I find the time so there is not particular reason not to post it as it stands right now. In the future I will try to go back and talk more about the specific lessons I learned about 2D and 3D graphics as well as adding more pages including my experiences with more graphics applications. I also plan to discuss the difficulty I found regarding we delivery methods and bandwidth limitation problems. When this article receives a major update I will post notice if it on the News page.

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