Cosmic Blobs Deluxe
For that reason we approached Cosmic Blobs, a 3D-modelling package for children aged between 7 and 14 with a healthy dollop of scepticism. Having spent an afternoon extruding shapes, applying stickers and adding animation to various aliens, animals and 3D fruit, we’re still not entirely convinced Cosmic Blobs simplifies the process enough for the lower end of that age range. For all its decorative bells and whistles, child-friendly chunky buttons and cute sound effects, Cosmic Blobs is still a bona fide 3D-modelling tool.
It would be churlish to dwell too much on the complexities inherent in 3D modelling, though, when Cosmic Blobs does such a sterling job of making its features accessible to most of its target market. 3D modelling’s the tools main function, and this is performed in a tried and tested way – through shape deformation. Starting with a sphere, pyramid, cube or doughnut shape, you can resize, flatten, stretch and poke holes until you’re happy with the results. Add more shapes and punish them in the same way, then virtually glue them together to create 3D models.
All this takes place within a garish, green interface modelled after a crazy chemist’s lab, with buttons labelled Lab Rat (an object rotation tool) and Belly Button (which determines whether holes you poke are convex or concave).
Finished models can have stickers applied. A bundle of eyes, ears and other notable features are supplied. To round things off there are a series of pre-fabricated animations that will get your creations walking, swimming or merely wiggling.
As a gentle introduction to the world of 3D modelling, Cosmic Blobs is ideal. Kids beware, though; you may not be able to get your Dad off the Mac once he’s discovered how much fun it is.