Bryce 5 is to add a range of professional tools in a bid to appeal to the more serious creative user – with Corel stuffing the new release with features such as fully integrated network rendering, light and tree creation modules, and metaball support. The release, scheduled to ship in July, is the first full version update to the popular 3D terrain-creation tool since it bought it from beleaguered MetaCreations. The most impressive addition is network rendering – which is usually only available on high-end packages under a per seat license agreement. Corel has dispensed with this, adding a royalty free, unlimited seat license for network rendering out of the box. The result, says Corel, is that any user can create their own cross-platform render farm using computers over any network. Corel says that network rendering in Bryce 5 is based on IP technology, meaning final renders can be deployed across a virtual network over the Web. Corel says it has also answered users demands by bolting on a fully fledged tree-generation module that lets users grow and model realistic trees. Dubbed the Tree Lab, it offers the type of control over trees only previously available to horticulturists. Users can specify the type of branch density, tree type, leaf density, colouration, and even the effect of gravity on the tree. Corel says user demand also prompted the addition of the Light Lab, a complete module that features control over the numerous light sources users can now add to a scene. The Light Lab offers a series of colourful sliders to give instant-access to light controls. Corel says the Light lab also pulls together disparate light effects from previous versions. Corel has added support for Metaballs. These work by creating 3D blobs that can either repel or attract one another, merging together to create organic shapes and models. Corel says that as they’re not based on high-polygon models, rendering time of metaballs is kept to a minimum. Other features include a real-time preview mode so users can preview changes to landscapes and objects, while the Sky Lab – which lets users control all sky effects such as clouds and sun effects – has been tweaked. New Starfield controls can be used to create star patterns as they are seen from the earth. Bryce 5 will ship in July, and is one of the first 3D packages to commit support for Mac OS X. It is also available on Mac OS 8.6 or higher, and Windows. It will cost £229 inc VAT, with an upgrade from the previous version costing £129 including VAT. Full details in next issue of Digit.