E frontier has released an upgraded version of its Shade 3D artwork software. The company, which was previously called Curious Labs and is best known for being the current owner of the ubiquitous Poser, says that Shade 8 adds stronger modelling tools, as well as gaining a wider range of rending options.

Shade 8 offers Boolean and Bézier modelling tools, plus polygon mesh modelling and auto-smoothing of curves to detail projects.

Shade's Global Illumination Renderer supports photon mapping, path tracing, raytracing and what e frontier calls 'radiosity with physics'. Shade 8 upgrades the Callisto rendering plug-in with faster Radiosity calculation, translucent and metallic shaders, and support for aberration has been added. A Toon renderer for cartoon-style is also available.

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The new release adds the ShadeGrid network rendering module, which supports a single other computer in the Standard version of Shade, or unlimited computers in the Professional release. The module automatically searches your network for render stations and administrates rendering.
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The software includes the PoserFusion2 module, which allows Poser scenes and characters to be used within Shade.
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Shade 8 is available in two versions for Mac OS X 10.3/4 and Windows 2000/XP. Shade 8 costs £102.13 plus VAT. Shade 8 Professional adds advanced modelling, lighting and rendering tools, and costs £476.60 plus VAT.
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