• Price When Reviewed: 79 . 79 . 79 . 189

  • Pros: Full-featured modelling workflow; roundtrip editing; advanced rendering and HDRI support; 3D export to Web and PDF in Live 3D; strong Photoshop integration.

  • Cons: Quite expensive; some controls could be streamlined; modelling tools slightly basic.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10We rate this 9 out of 10We rate this 9 out of 10We rate this 9 out of 10We rate this 9 out of 10 Best Buy We rate this 9 out of 10

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This review was taken from our group test of 3D tools for illustrators.

Strata’s 3D[in] plug-ins, Design 3D[in], Foto 3D[in] and Live 3D[in], slot neatly into Photoshop Extended CS3’s 3D features. We’ll concentrate here on Design 3D[in], which offers a well-featured 3D authoring environment with transformation and modelling functions, including tools for creating primitive objects.

You can also create a new 3D object from a selected 2D image within Photoshop, then use Lathe and Extrude tools to build it.

Model[in] Edit can be used to change or finetune the 3D object, while Match[in] is used to correctly place and scale the 3D object in a 2D document, in a procedure that resembles Photoshop’s Vanishing Point process. The final stage, Render[in], generates photo-real images of the object for integration into a Photoshop project. Any of the resulting rendered layers are fully editable.

Design[in]’s subtools offer impressive roundtrip capability: you can send a 3D model from Photoshop to Design 3D[in], add textures and send the model back. You can continue the texture editing/modelling process, or close and render it. An ‘Un-Plug’ button flips you out of the plug-in.

This integration sets Strata’s tools above the rest of the applications on test, with only Daz 3D Bridge coming close. However, in comparison that plug in’s 3D modelling is limited.

The other Strata plug-ins also work well with Photoshop. Foto 3D[in] builds 3D models from a series of related 2D images, piecing together the images and producing a texture map of the entire surface, as well as generating
an underlying 3D mesh. Live 3D[in] is a finishing tool, used for converting Photoshop files with 3D layers into Web pages and PDF documents with interactive content.