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Adobe's new Photoshop CS4 packs a ton of fresh features and an updated interface, which alone make it a worthy upgrade for existing users.

But the big news is that Photoshop now comes in both 32- and 64-bit Windows Vista versions. The 64-bit edition will allow PCs with lots of RAM to work on very large images with less hard-disk swapping (ideally, no swapping at all), thus speeding up operations. With the shrinking amount of RAM available to modern PCs (due to a 4GB limit on 32-bit Windows versions and those operating systems' increasing hunger for RAM), that's a significant update.

I tested betas of both the 32- and 64-bit versions of Photoshop CS4 by installing them on a workstation with dual Intel Xeon CPUs, running Windows Vista 64-bit and 8GB of RAM. Photoshop requires that you manually allocate a specific amount of RAM to it, rather than its acquirin ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 1030 | Added by: Kelly | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Imagine yourself making a Pixar movie and not paying a dime for the software needed to do it. That's the premise behind Blender 3D, a free fully featured 3D content creation suite. Open sourced under the GNU GPL since 2002, Blender has grown a lot since then. The current version, 2.36, is a real winner.
You can download Blender for all supported platforms (Microsoft Windows, Linux (i386), Mac OS X, FreeBSD 5.3 (i386), SGI Irix 6.5, and Sun Solaris 2.8 (SPARC), as well as the source code and several plug-ins. Bleeding edge users can download a Blender CVS compilation from the Blender Testing Builds forum. You can also grab the source from CVS and build it yourself.

For Windows users, Blender provides an installer program. If you have a *nix box you just have to unpack the contents of the install download to a folder of your choice.

Blender comprises ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 1464 | Added by: Kelly | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 5.0/1 | Comments (0)


For years now, ZBrush users have been begging and pleading for an upgrade, but kudos to the Pixologic team for holding their ground and not releasing a new version until the features were something to sing about. Well, it has finally arrived and it was worth the wait. ZBrush 3.1 is stronger and more innovative than ever.

From simple user requested improvements such as the ability to load custom brush presets to major new developments like MATCAP and the inclusion of ZMapper and the Displacement Exporter, the new version of ZBrush extends the revolutionary nature of the product even more.

ZBrush is a revolutionary software package that enables digital artists to enhance images and objects using a set of unique brushes and sculpting tools. ZBrush includes several brushes that actually let you paint in 3D space by pulling the brush strokes aw ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 1441 | Added by: Kelly | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (2)

NewTek's LightWave 3D isn't the most popular 3d package. It also isn't the most expensive or the cheapest 3d package available, but it does have an incredibly loyal group of users. This raises the question, what is it about this package that makes it stand out from other packages? The answer is surprisingly simple. First, LightWave has all the features and tools that you need and second, they are designed and implemented in a way that makes the software incredibly easy to use. The combination of powerful software that is simple to use makes it the 3d package of choice for many users.

The LightWave Interface
3d packages are complex and they are getting even more complex with each new release, which can make it particularly tough on a user interface designer to include controls for all the new features to an already busy interface. Lig ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 1108 | Added by: Kelly | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 5.0/1 | Comments (0)

Softimage XSI has an amazing heritage. Softimage has been a staple in high-end computer graphics (CG) studios since the early '90s, giving the software a level of experience and breadth that few other 3d packages have. For many years, Softimage has been comfortable to lead the high-end animation market with few other competitors. Among all the 3d software offerings it was quite expensive, but yielded amazing results that were worth the high cost. Because of the high price tag, Softimage was mainly used for film work.

Softimage, the company, was bought and sold several times over the last 10 years, even being part of Microsoft for awhile. Today, it is owned by Avid, who produces broadcast quality video editing tools and solutions. Avid sees Softimage as a critical piece of the video editing pipeline that they support and has been putting a l ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 1527 | Added by: Kelly | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (1)


Autodesk recently released Maya 2009, which is marked as the 10th Anniversary Edition. With all the company and management changes, it is hard to believe that Maya has reached its tenth version, but its continuing development is a testament of its benefit. If you look at all the advances that have happened to the software over those 10 years, it is quite remarkable.

The 2009 version, like all the previous new releases, includes an impressive array of new features that make the software more productive than ever. Some of these changes are simple new improvements such as the Preserver UV option that end up being huge time-savers and others are radical new approaches, like the multi-object selection mode that will speed up performance every time you use Maya.

New Modeling and UV Features

On the modeling side, Maya 2009 includes a new glob ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 1513 | Added by: Kelly | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (3)

Anyway, they recently released the newest addition to its 3D arsenal, 3ds Max 2009. This revision is a quick release from its now older sibling 3ds Max 2008, which just came out only six months ago. Like all applications that are getting on in years, it becomes harder and harder to "wow" most hardcore 3D artists. I'll admit that having the tools run faster is awesome, and adding workflow improvements is great... but, like many others, I want a biggie. Secretly (or not so secretly), I'm still waiting for the day when Autodesk announces that Maya and Max will be one... or even that Mudbox is just a standard modifier in 3ds Max. Wouldn't that be awesome?! No more fighting with co-workers about which is better, Max or Maya. No more needing to learn a different application when you go to get a new job somewhere else. Just use the easy interface and gre ... Read more »
Category: Software reviews | Views: 1035 | Added by: Ryan | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Creating impressive 3D artwork may not be any easier these days but it’s sure getting a whole lot cheaper. Although many of the top applications may still require an extension on your credit limit, there are a growing number of titles becoming available that even the most cash-starved student will find within their reach.

Although barely in its second generation, Hexagon has a longer history with its roots being traced back to the popular Amapi title, which, although an effective tool, its rather “unique” interface left many floundering. Some dramatic revisions and a new interface later and Hexagon was born to win back many of those who appreciated the control of Amapi.

And at well under £100, the 3D polygonal modeller is fast proving itself a popular choice among thrifty computer artists that are keen to sculpt their artwork using its more organic approac ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 1708 | Added by: G-Shock | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 5.0/1 | Comments (0)

Paint Shop Pro has long been the image editing shareware champion that many of its supporters claim to be even better than Photoshop. Originally created by Jasc, the title was acquired by Corel who, with its market established with CorelDRAW, was keen to extend its portfolio with a recognised image application. Paint Shop Pro X is the first release of the software title that Corel has been involved in and there have been a few changes that have had the Paint Shop faithful muttering.

A revised interface is the most apparent change – the old clunky interface has gone and a more streamlined front end makes the software a little more attractive to new users as does the introduction of the new Learning Centre feature. This makes itself available through a dedicated panel to provide the novice user with some invaluable advice on how to push their pixels, although we ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 940 | Added by: G-Shock | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Formerly owned and developed by 3D giant Alias, Autodesk SketchBook Pro 2 is a software title that enables the artist the freedom to create their work without worrying about how different dialog settings, panels or toolbars affect their art. There are parallels with Corel Painter with its natural media effects and stylus controls, but it is the simple interface that will appeal to the more traditional artist.

As with ArtRage, SketchBook Pro employs a clean interface that effectively turns your screen into one giant canvas. You have controls to determine tools, colours and effects, but these are presented in a way that makes accessing them as simple as reaching for a different pencil.

However, the advantages through using such a software alternative quickly become apparent. You have full control over your brush settings including type, flow, size and even s ... Read more »

Category: Software reviews | Views: 1022 | Added by: G-Shock | Date: 28.02.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

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