• 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

The sketch-like feel extends to Doodle, a rendering plug-in that gives the model in the viewport a pencil-drawn look at the click of a button. There are a number of other shading modes, including OpenGL-driven full shading with shadows. Object snapping is enabled, so it’s easy to align a brick texture exactly to a wall and to orient the brick direction horizontally, for example.

Bonzai3d offers a number of tools for the creation of NURBS curves and surfaces – features still lacking in Sketchup. There’s also the 2D Derivative tool, which can create a new face, line or edge derived from the surfaces of other objects. A 3D derivative tool begins by working in a similar fashion to Sketchup’s main extruding tool, but then adds options that allow for highly precise fine-tuning.


You can derive 2D and 3D walls in a similar fashion, while terrain models can be generated from a set of contour lines and a closed shape that represents the boundary of a site. Real time Boolean operations are also available when reshaping objects and faces. You can choose to save models in bonzai3d format or as form•z models, and most common 3D formats are supported for import and export.

Bonzai3d presents a serious challenge to Google Sketchup Pro. Slightly cheaper, it also scores points by offering NURBS modelling and its own sizeable library of content and textures, in addition to supporting Google 3D content. However Bonzai3d only runs on Leopard on an Intel Mac, unlike Sketchup Pro, which also supports Tiger.