Contents | < Browse | Browse >

===========================================================================
                           Review: Imagine PD 3D
  Bohus Blahut- Modern Filmmaker                           bohus@xnet.com
===========================================================================

Imagine PD 3D- 
  A CD rom of public domain objects for the Amiga and PC modeler/renderer 
Imagine 3D published by Impulse.

  Graphic Detail
  4556 South 3rd Street
  Louisville, KY 40214
  vox/fax: 502.363.2986
  net: michael@iglou.com

  Graphic Detail has been producing CD roms for the 3D and graphic artist
for some time now.  Amiga Report has reviewed Light Rom volume 3, a similar
volume to Imagine PD 3D, a multiplatform collection of PD objects and
textures for NewTek's LightWave 3D.  This disc contains many of the same
objects converted for use in Imagine.

  The objects are mostly available on the Internet, but the disc brings
them all together for your convenience and ease of use.  Also, since the CD
is multiplatform capable, users of both Amiga Imagine, and PC Imagine can
make use of the disc.  The objects are divided into categories i.e.
Anatomy, Animals, Aviation, Botany, Buildings, Computers, Fonts, Furniture,
Household, Kitchen, Land, Logos, Music, Phones, Robots, Ships, Space,
Sports, Video, Vehicles, Weaponry and more. 

  The objects range in quality from amateur-ish to excellent quality scale
models, all in Imagine format.  Where necessary, the models include IFFs of
textures.  Some of the best models are in the "space" directory, populated
mostly by requisite numbers of craft from Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.  A few
more excellent space models are tucked in the "showcase" directory.  The
showcase features models by the same artist.  Some of the most outstanding
is by Carmen Rizzolo, who has created several outstanding Star Trek models.
I've seen many of Mr.  Rizzolo's animations on the Internet, and recall his
outstanding Arexx contributions to Centaur Development's OpalVision.  If
you use an OpalVision, your Arexx directory is empty without Rizzolo's
handiwork.

  While many of these objects are fun to manipulate and animate, remember
that many of the model designs are subject to the original creator's
copyright.  Most objects include text files detailing how to contact the
modeler.  Also, since most of the objects in the "space" directory are
modeled from existing designs of movie space ships, this precludes you from
using them in any commercial applications, or even your demo reel.  This
shouldn't prevent you from using these models as a starting point for your
own work.  If you're an aspiring modeler, the best way to start out is by
emulating the work of others to define your own style. 

  Also included on the CD is a library of 950 textures in Jpeg Format
originally found on Graphic Detail's 2CD Texture Gallery collection.  There
is an "indexes" directory containing 16 color hi res IFF (and 24bit Targa)
previews of all of the textures by category.  Again, the textures range in
quality, but the ones that are good are quite good.   I'd recommend working
many of these textures over in a paint/image processing program like
ImageFX before applying these graphics to your model work.  Many of these
graphics are quite small, some are from video framegrabs, and all are
Jpegged (which affects overall image quality), but if you apply these onto
a moving model, then these textures will work out fine.

  Of interest in the "textures" directory is a series of bumpmaps created
by R.  McVey (creator of the New Icons WB replacement set, also reviewed in
AR), and features a particularly weird readme file.  3D programs capable of
bumpmapping use greyscale images to "fake" raised and shadowed areas on
objects without actually changing their geometry. 

  Bumpmapping implies detail without actual modeling.  Again, it's a good
technique to use if the viewer will not be dwelling on a particular model.
If the model is on the move, and you apply motion blur, this will hide many
sins.  These bumpmaps tile seamlessly.  Remember, though, that if you tile
a pattern too much, the human eye will pick up on the repeating grid of
patterns.  McVey wisely created the bumpmaps in 4 bits, since often times
8bit details isn't particularly necessary.

  Note, however, that many of these objects require the textures from the
original distribution of Imagine.  This means that those of you who are
using versions of Imagine that were bundled coverdisks will need to buy the
full version of Imagine.  Some objects will also require the Essence series
of textures.  Included are the Essence attribute files for objects that
need them.

  While the disc is well organized, I wish that Graphic Detail had carried
their LIghtROM model further into the production of this CD.  The LightROM
discs have 24bit and 16 color preview thumbnails of all of its objects.
Without the convenience of these thumbnails, you will need to load each
object that you might want to work with into Imagine, and render out your
own previews.  Also, I find it a little odd that the scene featured on the
cover of the disc isn't actually on the CDrom.  It's a frame from a
LightWave scene called "Boomer" and blows up Lightwave's over-used
SpaceFighter object.  It's a good explosion scene, and it's a shame not to
see it here.

  It looks like these objects will load quite nicely into older versions of
Imagine, but it would be nice to see objects included that address some of
Imagine's newer abilities i.e.  Blobby modeling. 

  It's nice to see Imagine owners getting some attention.  With so much
attention focused on Lightwave (even though NewTek's attention isn't
especially focused on the Amiga these days), it's unfortunate to have
programs like Aladdin 4D, Cinema 4D, and Imagine.  These programs make good
use of the Amiga's abilities and still make us all capable of doing
respectable work.  If you are a new or a seasoned Imagine user, this CD
will come in handy.  While there is a range of quality in the overall
contents of the CD, the average Imagine user will undoubtedly get some use
out of it.