New Products: Vue d'Esprit 3: Divine 3D Creations

SAN FRANCISCO (03/06/2000) - Have you ever daydreamed a beautiful scene? The French call this image a vue d'esprit, a view of the mind. And that's the name of a powerful 3D application from France. The latest version, Vue d'Esprit 3, lets anyone create and animate stunning 3D scenes of nature. It lists for $199, while upgrades are $99.

Vue 3's primary rival, the $199 Bryce by MetaCreations Corp., sports a more playful interface, more ample preview screens, volumetric lighting (to simulate dust particles, for example), and a more realistic sun. But Vue 3 is just as accessible, and it beautifully mimics nature with soft shadows, wispy clouds, and blurry reflections. The 18 plant species look amazingly real, even on close inspection.

The application's Terrain Editor lets you carve lakes, mountains, and meadows.

You can import photos or U.S. Geological Survey maps. A Texture Editor lets you mix and select materials.

Animation tools accurately simulate motion blur and camera focus. A Motion Wizard helps you make anything in the scene look as though it were moving, using ten styles (such as pedestrian or airplane). To populate your world, Vue 3 can import 3D models of figures saved in DXF, 3DS, LWO, or OBJ format. You can save 3D scenes in Vue 3's native VOB format or export rendered images and animations. However, only terrain can be exported to other 3D applications, via nine standard formats.

Vue d'Esprit 3's superb foliage, animations, and natural scenes make it a fine, affordable choice for 3D newbies or nerds.

--John Goddard

Vue d'Esprit 3

Pro: Impressive 3D landscapes, motion blur, camera focus, and foliage feature.

Con: No text tool, unrealistic sun.

Value: Outstanding 3D scenery creation for a low price.

List price: $199 ($99 upgrade)

E-on Software (U.S. distributor)

Product info no. 641.

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