Eovia is taking pre-orders for Carrara Studio 2, its 3D solution for modelling, animation, and special effects.

“Eovia creates a precedent by offering three state-of-the-art features in a $399 3D product: Photon Maps Rendering; Bones Skinning; and Subdivision Modelling – features only found in expensive and complex applications,” said Antoine Clappier, CEO of Eovia.

Alongside the improvements described below, the application has seen stability and usability improvements. These include an enhanced object-selection tool, a new physics engine, and enhanced anti-aliasing.

Photon Maps is a rendering solution combining Ray Tracing and Radiosity rendering engines. It’s able to compute the illumination of an entire 3D scene. Rendering features include: Phong Shading (illuminating specific pixels), Reflection, Refraction, Radiosity (including diffuse lighting, colour-bleeding and more), Caustics (light reflection and refraction), Sky Dome illumination, and environment illumination.

Bones and Skinning Using bones, animators can modify, deform, and animate objects or groups of objects to create characters in real time. Eovia claims its Bones feature to be “as simple to use as playing with a puppet.” Setting-up a skeleton – attaching bones to an existing 3D object – has been simplified in this release.

Subdivision Modelling uses simplified polygonal objects that can be subdivided to add details – Eovia says that this helps simplify the modelling of characters.

Carrara Studio 2 has been optimized for multiple-processor Macs. Other features include: five rendering engines; seven different modelling engines; multiple animation tools; an advanced shader-editor; over a thousand pre-built 3D models and textures; special effects; and sky environments. A selection of interactive tutorials is also included.

The application costs $399 (UK pricing on request). Competitive upgrades for users of competing applications have also been announced. Upgrading from Carrara Studio 1 to Carrara Studio 2 costs $149; upgrading from MetaCreations Carrara costd $199. Switching from Infini-D or any version of Ray Dream is $199; and from moving over from any version of Amapi 3D costs $199.

The new version, which works with Mac OS 9.x and OS X, ships on June 5.