• Price: 106 . 80 . 256 . 160

  • Company: Pandromeda

  • Pros: Powerful fractal scene generator that generates whole planets with local overrides. Pro version adds vegetation and animated textures.

  • Cons: Unusual user interface takes a lot of learning, though plenty of presets – including whole worlds – are supplied to get you started.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

MojoWorld is a 3D virtual scenery generator with a twist. It was invented by Dr F Kenton Musgrave, one of the original pioneers of fractal landscapes. It’s like a beefed up Bryce, but instead of Bryce’s infinite flat planes, MojoWorld creates whole spherical planets at a time, that you can zoom into and explore at any scale to find scenes that can be rendered or animated. The spherical nature of the planets allows for more realism in terms of horizons and skies. For closer control of small parts of your scene, you can create localized ‘parameter bombs’ with different settings or imported objects.

We reviewed MojoWorld 2.0 a couple of years ago and concluded that once you’ve got to grips with the odd user interface it could produce stunning results. Anyone with MojoWorld 2.0 will leap straight into the new version, but newcomers will still find it impenetrable without a lot of manual and tutorial study. The problem is the wealth of options – leaving out a single step gives you something completely baffling.

However, planet/scene navigation is vastly improved with a rather Bryce-like ‘JogNav’ on-screen trackball and arrow navigation menu.

Greyscale height maps can now be exported, and new ones can be imported from sources such as Bryce, or DIY efforts in Photoshop. New SmartGuides provide superimposed lines on the scene that you can use to align objects to each other and to the scene.

There are now two versions of MojoWorld 3.0 – Standard and Pro. The Standard Edition offers the full range of planet generation tools, parameter bombs and new navigation menus. Professional adds three useful plug-ins: MojoTree
(for generating single plants of world-spanning forests); MojoMove (animated textures for oceans, skies, and clouds, with a library of pre-sets); and MojoGraph (a sophisticated shader). If you have the Standard edition you can purchase MojoTree for about £40 and MojoMove for about £55, but MojoGraph is only available with Professional.

MojoWorld 3.0 can now create realistic river terrains (actually parameter bombs) that cut into hills, branch, and form lakes and seas naturally. There’s a new Wizard for creating whole planets.

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PhotoBillboards is the name for the 2D inserter. This isn’t a new idea, but it’s useful – it lets you place flat images, such as cutout photographs, into a scene. As long as they face the camera and the shadows match, they look very natural. The most obvious applications would be photographs of people or complex machinery you don’t want to create in 3D. PhotoBillboards is the basis of the new low-cost application, Focus. 
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Related to this is MojoFX, a range of 2D special effects that can be added to MojoWorld renderings. These include image frames and light effects such as weather, texture, and lens flare overlays. 
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MojoTree is probably the most intriguing of the new features. MojoWorld 2.0’s planets were essentially lifeless as there was no way to create vegetation except as distant greenery. MojoWorld 3.0 lets you load in pre-set vegetation or create your own, and then distributes it procedurally either locally or planet-wide (within variable parameters such <BR>
as altitude and slope). 
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Built-in variability in the tree-building instructions lets you create whole forests of trees with realistic small variations. It works through three new editors within the main Generator tool, for forests, branches, and leaves. 
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Branches and Leaves create the blueprint for the trees, while Forest controls how you distribute your new plants. Complex forests slow down the opening of a planet file, though this is relieved somewhat by the three-stage viewing display that lets you see the progress through basic bounding boxes, the wireframes, and then the final trees. 
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Pandromeda has expanded its product line with MojoWorld Focus, a £26 standalone version of MojoWorld 3.0’s PhotoBillboards that lets you integrate 2D cutouts as well as 3D objects into existing 3D worlds, and then render them. 
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The idea is that you can place your own images into ready-made 3D worlds. Focus includes the Photo Trimmer cutout tool, and, as an introductory offer, it bundles a copy of PhotoArtist Express. 
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Perhaps more useful is MojoWorld 3.0 Viewer, a free download for Mac OS 9/X or Windows that lets anyone navigate, render and animate existing world files that have been created by somebody else. Pandromeda is working with CuriousLabs to provide native support for static Poser 3D figure files and Shade 3D object files in a future version of MojoWorld. Support of fully animated Poser content is also planned. 
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In the meantime, MojoWorld 3.0 is a worthwhile advance on its predecessor. It can produce landscapes, skyscapes, or whole planets of amazing detail and realism, but it takes dedication and a lot of concentration to get the best from it.
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