3D computer graphics software refers to programs used to create 3D computer-generated imagery. This article only covers some of the software used.
3D modelers are used in a wide variety of industries. The medical industry uses them to create detailed models of organs. The movie industry uses them to create and manipulate characters and objects for animated and real-life motion pictures. The video game industry uses them to create assets for video games. The science sector uses them to create highly detailed models of chemical compounds. The architecture industry uses them to create models of proposed buildings and landscapes. The engineering community uses them to design new devices, vehicles and structures as well as a host of other uses. There are typically many stages in the “pipeline” that studios and manufacturers use to create 3D objects for film, games, and production of hard goods and structures.
Let’s see what Linux offers in this area.
Ayam is a free 3D modelling environment for the RenderMan interface, distributed under the BSD licence.
The current stable version is 1.17, released 20. Apr 2010.
Ayam features at a glance:
* RIB (RenderMan Interface Bytestream) export and import.
* Support for NURBS curves and (trimmed) NURBS surfaces, Boxes, Quadrics (Sphere, Disk, Cylinder, Cone, Hyperboloid, Paraboloid, and Torus), CSG, MetaBalls, Patch Meshes, Polygonal Meshes, and Subdivision Surfaces.
* NURBS modelling includes approximating and interpolating curves as well as extrude, revolve, sweep, birail, skin and gordon objects with caps, holes, and bevels.
* Custom objects that may freely implement their representations (using OpenGL and RIB) and even small GUIs to edit their type specific parameters may be written by the user and dynamically loaded at runtime.
* Scripting interface: Tcl.
* Misc: instancing, arbitrary number of modeling views, object clipboard, independent property clipboard, console, n-level undo.
* File formats (r/w): RIB, DXF, 3DM, 3DMF, OBJ, X3D.
Art of Illusion is a free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. Many of its capabilities rival those found in commercial programs. Highlights include subdivision surface based modelling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials..
The current version is 2.8.1, released Jan. 3, 2010. This version is both stable and powerful enough to be used for serious, high end animation work.
Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.
Blender was developed as an in-house application by the Dutch animation studio NeoGeo and Not a Number Technologies (NaN). It was primarily authored by Ton Roosendaal.
Roosendaal founded NaN in June 1998 to further develop and distribute the program. The program was initially distributed as shareware until NaN went bankrupt in 2002.
The creditors agreed to release Blender under the terms of the GNU General Public License, for a one-time payment of €100,000 (US$100,670 at the time). On July 18, 2002, a Blender funding campaign was started by Roosendaal in order to collect donations and on September 7, 2002 it was announced that enough funds had been collected and that the Blender source code would be released. Blender is now Free Software and it is being actively developed under the supervision of the Blender Foundation.
Blender is a complete and integrated suite for three dimensional modeling, animation, rendering and post-production. The main disadvantage of this highly rated program is that that it can take some effort for new users to become accustomed to its unique user interface.
Some characteristic are:
- Flexible and fully configurable window layout with as many screen setups as you prefer
- Undo support on all levels
- Anti-aliased fonts with international translation support
- Any window space can be easily switched to any window type (curve editor, NLA, 3D view etc)
- Built-in text editor for annotations and editing Python scripts
- Graphical user interface for Python scripts
- Custom themes
- Consistent interface across all platforms
If you are not yet convinced of the quality of Blender, then watch this movie made with Blender: Elephants Dream
Sintel | first official trailer US (2011) 3D open movie project
MakeHuman is an open source (so it’s completely free), innovative and professional software for the modelling of 3-Dimensional humanoid characters. Features that make this software unique include a new, highly intuitive GUI and a high quality mesh, optimized to work in subdivision surface mode (for example, Zbrush). Using MakeHuman, a photorealistic character can be modeled in less than 2 minutes; MakeHuman is released under an Open Source Licence (GPL3.0) , and is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.