Creative media trainer dvGarage has announced 3D Toolkit, a learning system for 3D artists that includes an almost full version of Electric Image 2.9.2. To be released in early July, the system costs $99 if ordered before June 30 and $199 after. Electric Image alone, now in version 3.0 and with the extra title of Universe, costs £1,388. As well as Electric Image, 3D Toolkit includes 20-minute overviews of both the modelling and animation parts of the package, basic tutorials for newcomers to 3D animation and advanced tutorials for those experienced in other packages. There’s also bonus materials such as grunge maps, models and surface settings. All of Electric Image 2.9.2 is available users apart from plug-ins and extra shaders. However, this gives full access to high-level tools such as UberNURBs, multi-dimensional Boolean operations, true inverse kinematics (IK), a function curve editor, bones, object morphing and the ability to work with motion capture data. That Electric Image is almost being given away should not be that surprising. The company lost a lot of users in long gap left between 2.9 and 3.0 and 3D Toolkit could be seen as an easy way to regain market share. Also the package is cheap enough for 3D students – who have an increased chance of wanting to buy the full package when they become professionals. As it uses Electric Image 2.9.2, 3D Toolkit runs on Mac OS 9 - although OS X support may follow. Electric Image Universe 3.0 was the first Windows version of the software.