Shape on you review

Perhaps the best way to describe ShapeOnYou is ‘odd’. It’s a 3D shape drawing tool that outputs animation and 2D vector images. It doesn’t have nurbs or transformations or any of the tools we’ve come to expect from 3D packages. There’s a single camera view only, which can be set to one of two modes.

It’s this simplicity that works in ShapeOnYou’s favour. The learning curve is forgivingly flat – with a slew of bundled, ready-made shapes to choose from. Any changes to the active object are made using a single dialog box; the Inspector. Four tabs enable you to edit shapes, create animation, scale and rotate an object or add real-time shading.

ShapeOnYou’s real power, though, is its use of the Nisus LinkBack framework, which enables you to embed 3D vector shapes in applications that support the protocol. This includes products like Nisus Writer, Curio, OminGraffle and VoodooPad. Objects are embedded into these applications ‘live’ – so if you make changes in ShapeOnYou, you can automatically update them in the LinkBack application.

At first glance, ShapeOnYou doesn’t seem to do very much, but the inclusion of ‘discrete’ primitive shapes actually gives you a significant degree of control, despite the lack of handles to pull or drag and drop deformations. You can colour individual planes in discrete shapes, use bending and thinning and add or subtract planes with the resolution tool. And, we almost forgot, there’s a very simple menu-driven animation system that can be used to output results in QuickTime format.

OUR VERDICT

ShapeOnYou shapes up nicely as a simple tool for creating presentation images and decorative graphics.

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