Price: £179 plus VAT; £164 for owners of Vue D'Esprit
Company: E-on Software
Ozone is, in some ways, the opposite of Mover. While Mover brings animation to Vue d’Esprit, Ozone brings realistic atmospherics to LightWave. The package consists of five plug-ins, which work together to give you realistic – and instantly configurable – atmospheres. The simplest is the environment plug-in. One selection will produce an instant scene with clouds and lighting for any atmospheric conditions, and time of day. The presets provided make a good jumping-off point, and most users probably won’t need to go beyond them. Those who do will find the ability to build realistic and fully 3D clouds, and a full range of environmental lighting and atmospheric effects. The only problem is that 3D designers are used to a simple lighting model – point a light, and it lights up whatever’s in front of it. With Ozone, you’re adjusting the weather, so it’s hard to be as specific about the way models are lit. Animation of atmospheres is generally good – clouds can evolve over time, skies can darken, and colours can change. Some of the plug-ins work with true volumetrics (for 3D clouds, and so on) and some don’t. Some allow motion blur and haze effects, and others yield reflections. The Volumetric plug-in gives the best range of features, but users have to sacrifice render time. Some settings can have a serious impact on performance. The shader plug-in that handles reflections and transparency is particularly slow. Keep its use to the minimum (although if you want skies reflected in oceans, you can’t easily avoid it). Used on its own, this plug-in will be invaluable to anyone wanting to render exterior shots. It’s quick to set up, and produces stunning results. When combined with landscapes generated in Vue d’Esprit, it builds into a powerful system.