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Flux Studio is a powerful VRML modeler/manipulator/builder tool that is reasonably priced ($100.00 US). Flux Studio has tools for creating graphics primitives, but additionally has tools for creating extrusions, swept surfaces, revolutions from a profile, and sculpted surfaces. Flux Studio also has text and animation wizards. Additionally...Flux Studio has included the capability to create gestures for blaxxun Cybertown avatars. Flux Studio now supports blaxxun's NURBS proposal and the DEFORMATION node. If you take the wonderful tutorials, you will see that I wrote several of them! (Cybertown citizens with jobs can get Flux Studio through a link in the Flux Studio club for a discounted price of $35.00 US.)

The objective of this application is to provide an easy way to create 3-D interactive environments. The environments can be displayed in the Flux Studio Screen Saver, they can be viewed and experienced in Flux Studio, or in a VRML 2.0 Browser, such as Cosmo Player, a standard Netscape plug in. Not only can you create static 3-D geometry, but you can animate the geometry, add light and sound, and define the rules of interactivity in the VRML 2.0 world.

Flux Studio is a typical Windows object oriented application. It utilizes standard Windows GUI components such as property sheets, wizards, multiple document interface, multiple view windows per document, right mouse button context sensitive popup menus, cut and paste, drag and drop, dockable tool bars, context sensitive help, mouse wheel support, and tree windows to illustrate the hierarchical relationship of the nodes. Flux Studio virtually eliminates the need to ever type a number. Virtually all of the numerical values can be modified by dragging the cursor. It uses OpenGL to fully render 3-D images. It supports lighting, shading, and texture mapping of 2-D images on the 3-D objects. Flux Studio allows for virtually infinite undo/redo and undo/redo history. You can create 3-D text. Flux Studio's Browser Simulation Mode lets you experience your world without leaving the application. Flux Studio also provides a Browser Simulation Debug Mode where you can step through time as you are presented with enough information to understand exactly what is happening. Flux Studio will FTP your VRML world file and all the dependent files up to your web site.

VRMLpad is a professional VRML editor. VrmlPad combines time saving features of the text editor with visual support for the scene tree and document resource operations. VrmlPad is must have for all VRML professionals. I downloaded the demo (works on files up to 64KB for free), and got so dependant on it that I purchased it. I use it almost daily. I can easily build something in Flux Studio, copy it to the clipboard, and paste it into VRMLpad to tweak it. Wonderful!

Key Features

Smart AutoComplete
Dynamic errors detection
Visual support for the scene tree operations
Routing map
Operations on resources
Ability to preview the VRML scene
Automation and scripting Publishing wizard

If you have VRMLpad, you probably want to get my macro add-ins that add menu items for some commonly used VRML nodes.

I used a 30 day demo of  HomeSpace Designer  to make some Greek temple structures in VRML2.0 format. HSD was from a company called Paragraph International; a Russian company. It was distributed in the USA by Silicon Graphics through their CosmoSoftware branch. CosmoSoftware was sold to Platinum, and Platinum was purchased by Computer Associates International. The rights to HSD reverted back to Paragraph International (now known as Parallelgraphics) and they renamed the software to Internet Scene Builder [whew!]. They are still actively developing it and it's sister program Internet Scene Assembler. You can download a FREE demo from their website. They also have many other interesting programs.

While HSD is not a full fledged CAD package, it has many features which make it a powerful architectural rendering tool. One of the more powerful features is the ability to extract or remove a volume from another volume, e.g. cut a spherical area out of a cube. I made some pretty neat stuff with the 30 day demo and then I later purchased this program ($89.00 US) to make houses.

Cosmo™ Software HomeSpace™ Designer (HSD) lets you easily create 3D worlds and publish them on the World Wide Web. Anyone can visit and experience your 3D Web site using standard VRML2.0 browsers. HSD adds a new dimension of reality to your Web sites with a complete library of editable 3D shapes. Combined with interactive texture mapping HSD brings your 3D space to life.

HSD includes new advanced features that help you work conveniently and quickly. These features include:

Creating and loading scenes in VRML 2.0. format.
Creating true 3D scenes with any 3D shapes including spheres, pyramids and cones, not just vertical or horizontal faces.
Creating and editing 3D scenes using logical operations (union, subtraction) with basic and custom shapes.
Utilizing rich galleries with standard shapes, textures, pictures, objects and movies.
The ability to create custom shapes, textures, pictures, and objects and to save them to libraries.
Creating and formatting 3D fonts.
Drag and drop functionality with automatic "gravity type" arrangement of objects.
Multimedia attachments (sounds, movies), and URL attachments to arbitrary objects.
Using top and custom vertical views.
Visual support for a user-defined object hierarchy on the Scene Tree.
Customizable interface.
Using 8-bit (256 color mode), 16-bit (high color mode), 24-bit (true color mode) and 32-bit (true color mode with advanced lighting) rendering modes.
Support for Intel's MMX instruction set.
Optimization of VRML output.

3D Studio Max... The demo CD is cool but it is only a demo (free from the website). The software is for professionals and costs around $3,000.00. I am no Steven Spielberg. If you can afford it, write me and tell me how cool it is.

Rhino3d is a next generation general purpose modeler, it uses NURBS technology to create smooth surfaces. What is a NURB, you may ask...

NURBS, Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines, are mathematical representations that can accurately model any shape from a simple 2-D line, circle, arc, or box to the most complex 3-D free-form organic surface or solid. Because of their flexibility and accuracy, NURBS models can be used in any process from illustration and animation to manufacturing.

There is a "15 try" demo and very good tutorials. It
costs $795 (US) and so is rather expensive for the home hobbyist. I followed the online tutorial amd made an interesting model of a rubber ducky with it.

Born out of a compulsion to create, a fascination with free forms, and a passion for precision, Rhino satisfies our obsession to dream, explore, and design in 3-D.
Start with sketches, drawings, physical models, or only an idea—Rhino provides the tools you need to accurately model your designs ready for rendering, animation, drafting, analysis, and manufacturing.
Rhino needs only your imagination and an ordinary Windows PC.

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