First Look Review: Inivis AC3D v6

30 Jun, 2006 By: Ron LaFon

Subdivision surface modeler

Inivis released V6 of AC3D, its fully integrated subdivision surface modeler. Subdivision surfaces allow smooth 3D shapes to be described using simple underlying polygon objects. You can use AC3D to quickly explore design concepts and create 3D models for various uses from games to models that can be used in major design applications. 2006 marks AC3D's tenth year in development, and v6 adds several new features to this fast modeling application.

Among the new features are a new and faster real-time 3D editing engine, intuitive new-look controls and some changes that make basic functions such as selection, handling and 3D shape creation faster and easier than in previous versions. Design files can be output in a fairly broad range of industry-standard 3D graphic file formats, among them 3DS, lWO, DXF, Renderman RIB, and Wavefront OBJ, so files can be moved easily among applications.

AC3D design tools include a good mix of the expected and, for the price, the unexpected. You'll find the ability to generate fast, real-time 2D and 3D OpenGL graphics views. The OpenGL 3D renderer has adjustable field of view, and you can either spin the model or switch into its walk mode for Quake-style control. AC3D has multipoint polygon and line editing down to the vertex level, with no polygon limits. Extrusion and surface revolution are included, and you can edit at different granularity—such as groups, objects, surfaces or vertices. AC3D has full polygon editing—you can, for example, create a sphere and easily deform the shape by moving the points or vertices. A software development kit is available for creating additions to use with AC3D's plug-in interface. For a full listing of features, which are far more extensive than I can enumerate here, visit the AC3D Web site at

System requirements for running AC3D v6 are a PC with at least a Pentium 120MHz processor, 64MB of RAM, 10MB of free hard disk space and Windows 95/98/ME/NT 4/2000/XP or Linux x86. Macintosh versions run on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. A 3D accelerated graphics card with OpenGL drivers is preferable for best performance, but is not an absolute necessity. The installation of AC3D v6 was both smooth and swift.

Inivis AC3D v6
Inivis AC3D v6

AC3D v6 is economically priced at $69.95 for the full version, with upgrades from previous versions starting at $29.95. Users can download a 14-day, fully functional trial version from the AC3D Web site for evaluation.

AC3D v6 is a fully integrated subdivision surface modeler with a wealth of sophisticated features.
AC3D v6 is a fully integrated subdivision surface modeler with a wealth of sophisticated features.

Inivis' AC3D v6 is fast and easy to use, and it has modest hardware requirements and a low price tag. Its sophisticated tools provide an easy way to explore and visualize design concepts, and the designs can be exported for use in major design applications. These factors are a winning combination that I think is a very good deal for a very useful application. Highly recommended.

Ron LaFon, a contributing editor for Cadalyst, is a writer, editor and computer graphics and electronic publishing specialist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a principal at 3Bear Productions in Atlanta.

About the Author: Ron LaFon