3D Invigorator for Photoshop review

Digital Anarchy’s 3D Invigorator for Photoshop enables graphic artists to quickly create a mix of 3D text and vector shapes, set up lighting, apply materials to surfaces and render with impressive results.

When first launched 3D Invigorator offers you a choice of its main three creative tools. You can create text, import an ai or eps vector file, or work with a 3D primitive (basic shapes). Note that vector file import is finicky, and you’ll have to resave files in Illustrator if they’re compressed.

Once you’ve created a 3D object, you can scale, rotate and position it in 3D space using a standard set of manipulation tools, including tumble, roll, track and dolly. You can also give text and vector shapes extrusion and bevels to makes them look more solid and realistic.

It’s easy to apply a Material Swatch, which coats text or shapes in combinations of colour and texture. You use the Material Palette to apply different materials to the front, back and sides of each element, while the Profile Viewer palette enables you to put different materials on the top and bottom halves of text, and more. There’s also a huge number of options for modifying them in the Material Editor palette.

The Light Editor offers preset panels for individual lights and groups. 3D Invigorator supports up to six lights, plus an ambient light. Positioning lights is easy and there are advanced controls over shadow softness. You can also drag the light around on a scene using the Light tool.

We were impressed by the rendering quality. It’s not photorealistic, but is more than enough for most illustration projects and it can mimic a number of different lens types from Fisheye (12mm) to Wildlife (1,000mm).

We found a few niggles though. Due to a restriction within Photoshop, you can only see the layer the filter is applied to below your elements in the plug-in’s interface. You can’t use the mouse’s scroll wheel within panels, which slows down selecting materials and presets. We also had more than a few crashes in complex scenes.

OUR VERDICT

3D Invigorator is a 3D tool for digital artists and illustrators who’ve never really looked beyond Photoshop’s layers for compositing due to 3D’s complexity and painful learning curve. It’s powerful, accessible and is capable of producing great results.

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