• Price: 399

  • Company: Bonzai3D

  • Pros: Fast object creation; good range of modelling tools including NURBS; varied viewport rendering modes.

  • Cons: Intel Mac and OS X 10.5 only; pricey for lower end of 3D market; no full instancing support.

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

AutoDesSys’ Bonzai3d is a brand-new 3D sketching tool aimed at two camps: illustrators and digital artists who want to mock up scenes in 3D to create accurate-looking arrangements and perspectives for compositions, and 3D artists who want to quickly rough out scenes for clients to sign off on before beginning modelling in earnest.

Bonzai3d has inherited some of the functionality of its developer’s form•Z industrial design software, but it has its own identity.

Like Google Sketchup Pro, it offers support for Google 3D Warehouse, but ships with its own content library of trees, furniture, doors, and windows, which can be reused as symbols. It also has sketching tools. As you might expect, these are a mix between the ‘pick up and draw’ Sketchup variety and traditional primitive creation and manipulation tools found in most 3D packages – although there’s a cartoonish look to the Modelling tool palette that you don’t get in most 3D programs.


Each row in the palette contains a suite of related tools, which pops open when the cursor is positioned over the icon. Hovering over each tool or menu item brings up a description, and when the tool is clicked an Options palette appears. This can adjust settings for the tool before or after objects are created.