Strata has announced that Strata 3D CX is shipping. The new upgrade to the company's design, illustration and animation tool offers the ability to live-link with Photoshop files, automatically making changes to the Strata document when you modify the Photoshop file, as well as compatibility with native Illustrator CS, PDF and EPS files, which can be expanded to 3D geometry within a Strata document.

In addition, Strata 3D CX features the new modelling tools Polysplines, which allows you to push and pull surfaces to create a wide variety of shapes, and Meld, which "melts" two or more objects together to form what Strata calls MetaSurfaces. The application also offers support for HDRI (High Dynamic Range Images) in textures or as lighting sources in 3D scenes, and the application's Raydiosity renderer features speed and accuracy improvements to light-energy-based images.

The full version of Strata 3D CX is $695 (around £385). Upgrades from Strata 3Dpro or StudioPro 2.0 or higher are $169 (£93), while upgrades from Strata Vision/Blitz, 3Dplus or 3Dbase are $449 (£250) retail. Anyone who orders before July 31 receives a free copy of Strata 3D Vector, which allows them to output their 3D scenes as Flash or Illustrator-based vector art.