By Michael Burns | on October 13, 2008
Pros: Roundtrip Photoshop linking; auto-update function; capable rendering facility; works with free Daz Studio; complete with starter content; strong Photoshop CS3 Extended integration.
Cons: Inconsistent performance, perhaps due to software bugs.
This review was taken from our group test of 3D tools for illustrators.
3D Bridge is an affordable plug-in for the free posing tool Daz Studio. Rather than rendering content as flat 2D images to Photoshop’s layer-based workflow, 3D Bridge lets you work with the image editor and posing tool simultaneously.
At any time, you can do a fast OpenGL preview render of the 3D model as it is in the Studio viewport. The dialog lets you add a new layer whenever you make changes. If you click ‘Update Image’, any changes to the Daz scene are updated in the current Photoshop layer; there’s also an Auto-Update option.
To change the textures on the 3D model, you can select and import image maps that you want to modify in Photoshop, then export them back to Studio. Clicking on ‘Render to New Layer’ will activate the Daz Studio 3Delight software render engine, which produces a higher-quality rendered image than preview scenes.
3D Bridge can also export the entire DAZ Studio scene as a U3D file, so that you can work with the objects within Photoshop. The import dialog has a Resample Maps option that allows the exported image maps to be sampled to smaller, more efficient sizes, and the option of including the lights and cameras from the 3D scene. The application was unstable in places and crashed while first testing this function.
One criticism levelled at Daz Bridge is the lack of content for beginners, but there’s a free 3D Bridge Starter Bundle for Photoshop, which includes characters, props and creatures. Compared to the Poser Pro or Carrara workflows, 3D Bridge and Daz Studio combined are more suitable to Photoshop users looking to integrate 3D content. However, there were a
few too many bugs to give this plug-in a higher rating.