Mountain View, California based Caligari is best known for its TrueSpace 3-D modeling software, which has been on the market for more than 20 years. The software lets animators, game designers, and other graphics professionals create three-dimensional renderings and special effects for a range of applications. The most recent version, TrueSpace 7.5, is available for $595.
Last week, (2/07/08) the chief executive of Caligari stated in a Blog post that the company has been acquired by Microsoft. Apparently Caligari’s imaging technology will be used to enhance Microsoft’s Virtual Earth project.
Just as Serif Software has made it a practice to release, free of charge, older editions of its applications, Caligari has made available a free version of one of its applications, trueSpace3 which also retailed at $595 on its release.
TrueSpace3 matched the “high end” 3D software of its time feature by feature and at the same time blazed the trail with the next generation true 3D interface which takes full advantage of 3D acceleration.
This is the full working version; nothing removed, and no time limits, although registration for an unlock code and a PDF manual is required. The code can be obtained at the following URL: caligari.com
Features include: Powerful point editing, smoothing, sweeping, and deformation tools; metaballs and plastiform tools to create organic shapes; multiple spot, local, and infinite lights; full physics simulation engine; bones, skinning, and inverse kinematics for character animation as well as a full physics simulation engine and inverse kinematics for jointed articulation .
A large number of file import and export formats add to the flexibility and compatibility with other programs. Output formats include rendered stills, animation, or VRML. A very active community provides support and interaction. Large selections of 3rd party plug-ins provide extra capabilities.
Feature set from the developer’s site:
· Collision Detection
trueSpace3 uses accurate real time collision detection to position objects easily and precisely, even in perspective space. Use the Magnetic tool to combine objects just by colliding and sliding along surfaces. Or simply roll an object along any surface without losing contact. That’s total control.
· Live Skin
Organic modeling is taken to an all time high. Real time metaballs allow you to see the skin of an organic animal deform in real time as you move any metaball particle around. With Live Skin you get realistic natural objects faster than ever before.
Until now, particles have been for animation only. PlastiForm gives you a ‘hot’ engraving tool to generate new surface particles. This tool pushes surfaces and forces them to expand and deform, conforming to the tool’s shape. This is modeling taken to the next level.
Animation is more interactive then ever before with seamlessly integrated Key-Framing, Collision Detection, Dynamics, Inverse Kinematics, and Metaballs. Animation to the limits of your imagination. And beyond.
Give objects properties of real materials like wood or rubber with weight, elasticity, torque and velocity. Apply gravity, wind and other forces. Then just click ‘Play’ to see objects fall with gravity, slow down from atmospheric density and collide with each other. You can animate a leaf dancing in the wind simply by dropping it.
· Inverse Kinematics
Manipulate a figure simply by shaking its hand. Or animate walking by key-framing the figure’s footsteps. Inverse Kinematics is integrated with Dynamics—including degrees of stiffness for each joint. Animate complex behavior with global actions, so you don’t have to manually manipulate each individual object. Create and edit joints with direct manipulation – without opening one dialog box!
· 3D Paint
Paint textures or bumps directly on objects in 3D. You won’t have to spend hundreds on a separate 3D paint package, and you won’t have the hassle of switching between two separate programs – it’s all in the same workspace with trueSpace3!
· Direct 3D Support
Manipulate solid objects including lights and textures using software or hardware acceleration. All in real time. The direct manipulation design of trueSpace3 accelerates all aspects of your work.
trueSpace3 works like you work
· Constant Frame Rate
Constant Frame Rate maintains smooth motion in editing or navigation, regardless of the scene’s complexity. Your interaction with your work never gets interrupted.
· 3D Plug-Ins
trueSpace3 can grow according to your needs. trueSpace3 uses 32bit Adobe compatible plug-ins and includes free 3D eXtensions like Particle Fountain, Primitives Plus, and TrueView. And new trueSpace3 plug-ins are on their way for even more specialized effects.
· 3D Guides
Tool Guides explain each trueSpace3 tool just by clicking. You’ll get a full 3D simulation tutorial. Task oriented tutorials teach you how to build a building, spaceship or realistic animal. So you’ll be productive. Right now.
· Universal Authoring
Output to any medium, including Paper, Film, Video, AVI, HTML, or VRML without the need for translation filters. You won’t need to use external applications. You get an abundance of tools and the ability to publish in multiple media, all in the same workspace.
· 3D Sound
Attach audio to any 3D object with true positional 3D sound, attenuation and Doppler effect. trueSpace3 creates more realistic environments with navigation by sound, making your world a more sensory experience.
trueSpace3 seamlessly integrates Web functionality. You avoid programming, using friendly modeling and animation tools to create complex 3D Graphics, VRML objects and fully animated worlds.
· Integrated VRML 1.0 Browser with Publishing
Navigate to any VRML site, 1.0 edit, and save the changes with one button push using the Publish feature. All without leaving trueSpace3.
· In-lining, LOD and Polygon Reduction
Download only visible portions of VRML sites, and display objects with detail based on the distance from the viewer. Create several levels of detail for any object with the touch o f a button. So even large worlds will navigate smoothly.
Download at: caligari.com