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The Art of Illusion

February 11, 2010

I’ve gone through part of the tutorial, which is quite good, clearly explaining tool menus and rendering concepts (its html is a little wonky–it keeps wanting to adjust to the frame):

I’ve done some 3d modeling in Vectorworks (similar to AutoCad, for Mac’s). Compared to that, the object manipulation tools are definitely primitive, but given that this is open source, it’s pretty sophisticated, and its rendering engine is not bad. It needs to be compared to other os programs. I like the 4 view window default, and you can toggle back and forth to the single view with a single keystroke.

Alibri is definitely more powerful, especially with the sophisticated align surface function, but I don’t have intel inside yet, and I’m not prepared to buy a pc.

I’d like its alignment functions to be more powerful. Snapping to the grid could use some cursor feedback, and it would help to be able to select guides to align to.

The export and import file types (.pov, .obj, VRML) don’t look like ones I’m used to, but they might be machinery design standards.

Neil Hickey noted that it’s built on java/openSource and lets you code although it’s a bit cumbersome.  I’d like to see more about the pros and cons of coding in it, and the advantages/disadvantages of going that route. There was some scripting language in Vectorworks that I played with, but nothing super amazing. Mostly just saved views, and some simple macros.

Minor complaints:

  • You can’t access the tutorial in the help window if you’ve launched the application by opening a project.
  • There’s no window tab so you can’t toggle between the help and project windows.
  • The drawer controls on the drawing window are primitive.

All told, though, it’s a solid little program.

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