Bonzai3d review

AutoDesSys bonzai3d, while it inherits some of the functionality of form•z, has its own identity. Like Google Sketchup Pro, it offers support for Google 3D Warehouse, but ships with its own content library of trees, furniture, doors, and windows that can be reused as symbols. It also has sketching tools.

As you might expect, these are a bit of a mix between the ‘pickup and draw’ Sketchup variety and traditional primitive creation/manipulation tools found in most 3D packages. Each row in the palette contains a suite of related tools that pop open when the cursor is positioned over the icon. The complete tool suite pops up to the right of the icon. Hovering over each tool or menu item brings up a description, and when the tool is clicked an options palette appears. This can adjust settings for the tool before or after objects are created.

The sketchy feel extends to Doodle, a rendering plug-in that gives the model in the viewport a pencil-drawn look at the click of a button. There are a number of other shading modes, including OpenGL-driven full shading with shadows. Object snapping is enabled, so it’s easy, for instance, to align a brick texture exactly to a wall and to orient the brick direction horizontally.

Bonzai3d supports NURBS curves and surfaces and a number of tools are worth a mention. The 2D Derivative tool, for example, can create a new face, line or edge derived from the surfaces of other objects. The 3D derivative tool begins by working in a similar fashion to Sketchup’s main extruding tool, but then adds options that allow for delicate fine-tuning. You can derive 2D and 3D walls in a similar fashion, while terrain models can be generated from a set of contour lines and a closed shape that represents the boundary of a site. Real-time Boolean operations are also available when reshaping objects and faces. You can choose to save models in bonzai3d format or as form•z models, and most common 3D formats are supported for import/export.

OUR VERDICT

Bonzai3d looks like a serious challenger to the likes of Google Sketchup Pro, which has made such a big impact in the affordable end of the 3D market. It also scores points by offering NURBS modelling and its own sizeable library of content and textures.

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