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                            Review: Light ROM 3
  Bohuslav Blahut x5440                              bmb000@dns.colum.edu
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If you've worked in any of the 3D animation softwares available for the
Amiga or the PC, you may recall your feeling of awe at the vastness of the
virtual universe that were creating.  Combine that with the limitless
reaches of the Internet, and you've got a mindboggling amount of space to
fill.   Graphic Detail has bridged some of that vastness with the release
of Light ROM 3: a set of three CD roms primarily dedicated to the Lightwave
3D artists.   Don't let the name fool you, there is much to interest users
of other software packages on both the Amiga and PC.

Most of the 3D models, textures, et al are available in the public domain.
These CDs bring all of these resources together in one convenient and
inexpensive package.  Much of the material on the discs is available
exclusively to Light ROM 3 purchasers. 

The first disc in the set contains literally hundreds of LightWave models,
loadable into both Amiga and PC versions.  Also on the disc are full color
thumbnail pictures showing you the models already rendered.  Since there is
no good way to preview models on the net, this feature alone makes the
discs worth adding to your collection.  New to this version of the
collection is the fact that the models, their surfaces, imagemaps, etc.
are in directories on the CD optimised for easy loading into LightWave. 

Another LightWave-aimed directory includes several Plug-ins, Arexx scripts,
surfaces, and other related programs.  Also is a directory of Jpegs
produced by Questar's World Construction Set, a landscape generating
program.  I loaded this demo sequence into my DraCo, and was surprised at
the stunning realism.  The WCS demo sequence takes you on a slow flight
into a canyon, as the sky goes from day till night.  This is truly a superb
demonstration of the latitude of this program.  Those of you who have Vlab
Motion or PAR cards, would do yourselves a service if you load up these
frames.

Disk #2 in the set has 100.7 megs of objects in 3D studio format, some with
GIF thumnail renderings.  Other directories contain objects in Imagine (176
Megs), Real 3D (7.2 megs), and Sculpt (32.7 megs) formats.   These objects
can be converted for use in LightWave by using both Pixel Pro (axiom) and
Interchange (Syndesis). 

820 textures are included in Jpeg format, along with thumbnail renderings.
It would be nice to have these organized into categories, and have names
instead of numbers.  Another of Graphic Detail's CD collections Texture
Gallery, does have it's textures named and categorized.  These new textures
include cloth, brick, tiles, and a directory of greyscale images for
bumpmapping and alpha channel compositing.

In addition to a Video Toaster directory with accessories and textfiles for
NewTek's Amiga video hardware, is a directory of DEM objects.  Landscape
generators such as World Construction Set and Vista Pro use DEM (Digital
Elevation Maps) to create their landforms.  DEMs are geographic digital
data gathered by the US Government.  DEM compatible software uses this
information to fractally generate landscapes.  This disc's DEMs have been
converted into actual 3D objects for use in LightWave, 3D studio, and
Imagine.

There are Thumnail indexes in IFF and Targa format on disc 2 for the true
DEMs on disc 3.  Also included on Disc 2 are various PD programs for both
Amiga and PC, and issues of "Tesselation Times", another electronic
publication concentrating on 3D graphics.

Disc 3 contains the true DEMs mentioned earlier.  On this disc are
thumbnail rendering of the DEMs in JPeg format.

In my work I've used all three volumes of LightROM, and this latest 3 disc
set represents an impressive accomplishment.  While many of these programs
and objects are available in the public domain, having so many of them
assembled in one place on a rapid access disc makes this volume well worth
the $49.95.  If you're a 3D graphic artist, you cannot be without a CD ROM
reader.  Internal double speed drives are availble for about $50, and there
are several good PD CD interface programs for the Amiga.  With the
increasing number of texture and object CDs coming out, you won't want to
be left behind.  This CD set is a great example of what's out there for
computer users with CD rom readers.

LightROM 3 is an excellent investment for any artist, and the investment of
time that Graphic Detail has put into this collection is clear in the high
quality of the CDs.  Since the objects and textures are created by users of
varying skill levels, be prepared for varying levels of quality in the
material on the discs.  I've been very satisfied with the CD's objects.  
Even if an objects isn't exactly what I need for a particular project, I've
found that having even a rough object to use as a template saves me
considerable time in modeling.  As you can see LightROM 3 is a very
complete answer to the needs of beginners and pros alike.  The CDs are
updated every six months, and are very reasonably priced.

  Available from:

    Graphic Detail Inc.
    4556 South 3rd St.
    Louisville, KY 40214
    USA

    orders:    1.800.265.4041
    voice/fax:   502.363.2986
    email: michael@iglou.com

    Light ROM 3: $49.95
    shipping:    $ 4.95 US and Canada
                 $ 6.95 international orders