A Mac OS X version of Piranesi 4, the 3D paint tool, will be released early next year, according to Informatix.

The PC version has been available since September this year, and includes enhanced support for 3D cutouts, an improved interface and new effects.

In previous versions of Piranesi users could place 2D cutouts (elements of scenery, such as people or vegetation) into a scene, with automatic sizing and masking. Piranesi 4 extends this to placing 3D models in your painting environment as 3D cutouts.

The 3D cutouts can be viewed from any angle, ready for further rendering as required. Piranesi supports the import of 3DS, SketchUp, and DXF files, and support for Archvision RPC models has been upgraded to give access to their latest models including 3D cars, according to Informatix. New techniques for "tweaking" and assembling cutouts have been introduced, along with 3D text.

Informatix also claims that Piranesi 4 includes a raft of interface improvements. A new tool manager organises commonly used panels in a way that provides ready access whilst maximising the area of the screen available for painting work.

Views can be zoomed by any factor, to obtain optimum use of screen and paper media. For experienced users there are new user-definable keyboard shortcuts. For beginners there is a range of written and movie tutorials, including a new ‘Quick Start’ tutorial.

Piranesi 4 contains a wide range of new effects, according to Informatix. New illumination fades allow spot or strip lighting to be mimicked for interior shots. There are seven new filters to refine an image. There’s also a new bristle brush and brush dynamics which introduce selected random elements into the stroke to increase the "hand painted" effect.

The Piranesi library adds over 300 new cutouts and texture images, plus new 3D sample models created by Archvision, SketchUp, and MicroGDS.

Informatix claims that customers who purchase the current version of Piranesi for Mac after December 1 will be entitled to a free upgrade to Piranesi 4. The PC version costs £450 plus VAT.