Price: £51 . £20
Pros: Inexpensive, faster rendering, dual-processor and multi-threading support.
Cons: Poor installation of content DVD, no Intel Mac support, dismal number of showstopping bugs.
Show a 3D landscape to most digital artists, and they’ll bet that Bryce was the application that created it. Debuting in 1994 on the Mac, Bryce has endured a chequered history – from periods of stagnation to changing hands every few years.
Fast forward to today, and Bryce 6 is the first, full-point release from new owners Daz, which acquired the software in 2004. Unfortunately for long-time users it continues Bryce’s less than glorious past when it comes to bug squashing and stability issues, while adding little in the way of new features.
Bryce is a modelling, animation, and texturing tool that specializes in the creation of 3D vistas, and comes loaded with a series of specialist tools that help artists build and populate virtual landscapes. Artists can build terrains either using greyscale 2D maps or by directly editing 3D greyscale representations using brushes or a series of settings such as erosion, valley depth, and so on. With this release, Daz has bumped image support in the Terrain Editor to 16-bit, offering up finer terrain control.
Many of Bryce’s tools and much of its workflow is identical to the previous version, and the interface still features the original workings of the previous incarnation. It’s all shiny control balls, glassy sliders and various Labs that are heavy on experimentation, if a little light on finessing and measured control. The Bryce interface is something you either love or hate.