Price When Reviewed: $159
In its bid to produce the premiere vector 3D creation package for the Web, Electric Rain has released the second version of Swift 3D, its solution for creating low bandwidth 3D vector animations. Swift 3D 2.0 advances Electric Rain’s cause with new features and extra functionality. Inspired additions to the package are the new import/export facilities. Users can import from Adobe Illustrator and EPS and then lathe or extrude the 2D designs in Swift’s modelling environment. The export settings also allow for increased control of the size and look of the design, with three outline levels, five cartoon shading levels, two gradient shading levels and both shadowing and specular lighting options to enhance perspective and realism. Primitive 3D The interface has two adjustable views, nine primitive objects and a 3D text option to select with two trackball windows to define positioning and lighting requirements. Electric Rain acknowledges that it’s not the most powerful modelling tool, so includes the option of importing 3DS and DFX format files allowing users of other 3D packages to model in their native environment. Once in a scene, objects can be moved, rotated, and scaled, then animated along a timeline. Preview and rendering is identical due to the speed of the RAViX 2 rendering engine, so individual animated frames can be analyzed during production. Projects can be exported as completed SWF files, or taken into Flash where individual frames can be modified. For a 3D novice, the process of learning the package is made easier due to a well-written user guide and an intuitive interface, making it possible to create impressive 3D animation in little time. Swift 3D 2.0 breaths new life into Web animation, though it has a few limitations in that it does not support surface mapping and bitmap integration. As a pre-Flash rendering tool it does a great job of creating highly-visual scenes of minimal file size.