DN Staff

November 20, 1995

4 Min Read

trueSpace2 3-D illustration package offers an arsenal of modeling and rendering tools that will bring out your industrial designer or video producer talents to enhance your technical CAD drawings.

Setup & interface. In the trueSpace2 interface, tools are primarily grouped by function and are allowed to float on the screen. You can place the main menu at the bottom or top of the screen and customize it with groups of tools for editing, modeling, or rendering. These groups are actually pop-up icons that, once clicked, reveal extensions of the main tool. Click on a 'sub' icon and it becomes the default tool of that group.

From an engineer's standpoint, you would expect trueSpace2 to be loaded with 2-D drawing features. Unfortunately, its 2-D geometry tools are sparse. Your other option is to import completed objects as DXF, Postscript (PS), or Encapsulated PS and let trueSpace2 show its true strength in 3-D.

The constructive screen is shown as a 2-D grid in space with 2 or 3 default light sources. With this setup it is rather difficult to orient objects in space, since a global coordinate axis system is not present. Instead, every 3-D object has its own coordinate system which can be displayed. Since there is no way to display coordinates as you move objects around, you have to rely on the object's information display which acts as the snap control.

3-D tools. You can begin to build 3-D objects either from your 2-D objects or from the supplied 3-D primitives. 2-D entities can be extruded, swept, or revolved. Once you start combining these objects, trueSpace2's Boolean operations help you intersect or join them, or subtract one from another. But trueSpace2's 3-D arsenal goes one step further. The Deform object tool allows you to take any object, change it, and create what is called an organic object. Unfortunately, the lack of snap control makes it difficult to join objects at say, a common surface. The object information menu is one resource for matching entities, though on a point-by-point basis only. The other option is to use the dimension tool, which updates every dimension on the object itself, as you move points around.

Text capabilities are limited to simple text in any True type font. The text is treated like any object that can be extruded or manipulated. The only downside is trueSpace2's inability to edit the text once it becomes part of the scene.

The multiple view option opens many windows so you can see the scene from any viewpoint. Keep the main window as the constructive, and you can render in another with all the changes you make reflected on any other open window. Using Intel's 3DR API, you can test the sensitivity of lights and material at a much faster speed. Crisp outputs in trueSpace2 are achieved with hardware featuring 8,000 by 8,000 pixels and 32-bit color depth.

Animation. When creating animation sequences, objects on the screen can be placed anywhere and a time sequence can be constructed using the Visual time editor. The animated sequence can be made in a straight-line fashion, or you can customize the path the objects will follow from frame to frame. For applications where certain portions of the model move, trueSpace2 allows you to record motion by disassociating portions of the model. You can also use the Deform tool capabilities to record sequences depicting objects going over or through other ones.

I think trueSpace2 is among the top notch software in the 3-D modeling and rendering market. For engineers who need more definition than art, trueSpace2 can be the artistic extension to their work rather than one of their core tools.



Minimum (recommended) hardware: An 80386/25 (486/DX2, Pentium) with 8 (16)M bytes RAM, Windows 3.1 with 8 (24)-bit video, 8 (16)M bytes hard disk space, and 640x480 (800x600) 8-bit color.

List Price: $795

Caligari Corp., 1933 Landings Dr., Mountain View, CA 94043; ph: (415) 390-9600.

A similar product:

Ray Dream Designer - Ray Dream Inc., 1804 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043; ph: (800) 846-0111.

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