form•Z RadioZity 4.0

31 Jul, 2003 By: Ron LaFon Cadalyst

auto•des•sys, $1,495–$2,390

auto•des•sys took its time getting v4 of its flagship form•Z modeling and rendering application to market. form•Z 4 just shipped in gamma version, about a year later than planned, but the time taken has been well spent. The entire application is redesigned to support
form•Z from auto•des•sys offers many new features, the most noteworthy being NURBS support.
plug-ins, multiprocessing, and Macintosh OS X. Its modular and open architecture now provides a much better foundation on which to build future enhancements.

auto•des•sys shipped a gamma version to customers anxious to get the new version in their hands and will soon send a final version to registered users. Though some bugs may remain in the gamma release, it looks strong.

In addition to numerous user interface updates, form•Z retains its polygonal character and its ability to blend geometry with smooth curves. Perhaps the most noteworthy changes in form•Z 4.0 relate to its extensive and wide-ranging support for NURBS, which it incorporates without compromising any of the object-handling capabilities for which it is known.

Other new features include support for network rendering, scripts, and plug-ins: Sketch Rendering, Point Cloud Re-engineering, and the STEP Translator. Sketch Rendering applies a variety of expressionistic effects that make a rendering appear as if it were sketched by hand. Point Cloud Re-engineering threads arbitrary point cloud data into both faceted and NURBS structures. STEP Translator lets you efficiently import and export parametric objects and their controls.

The price for form•Z ranges from $1,495 for the basic application to $2,390 for the complete RadioZity 4.0 implementation—not inexpensive, but well within range for a professional tool of this caliber. This appears to be the best release of form•Z ever.

About the Author: Ron LaFon