Monday, 6 February 2012

Doesn’t everybody love free stuff?!

Thanks to a posting on the RepRap forums http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?1,116843 , I was alerted to a limited-time offer to get some really top-class 3D modelling software for free.

Specifically, for a “limited period” (no, I’m not sure how long!), DAZ is making the Pro versions of DAZ  Studio 4 , Bryce 7 and Hexagon 2.5 available as free downloads, which can be fully registered. http://www.daz3d.com 

I’m not sure what the rationale behind this is, but I suspect DAZ is shifting their business model from selling software to selling content, and they need millions of users out there to sell their content to. (I expect to get lots of e-mail offers to buy and download model files, but I can live with that!)

In my previous tinkering with 3D software, I have come across Daz Studio (very similar in functionality to Autodesk 3DS Max etc), and Bryce (fantastic for creating "virtual landscapes"), but this is the first time I've seen the Pro versions offered for free. I’m not sure how relevant these packages are to RepRap (maybe you could print landscapes for your model railway layout?), but they're pretty interesting packages for anyone who likes playing with 3D software. (E.g. you could use DAZ Studio to create photo-real renderings of your digital creations before you print them.)

I haven't seen Hexagon before, but it looks like it might be a good tool for making "organic" models (such as "character figurines", animals, replicas of Henry Moore sculptures, etc). Most traditional CAD packages (like OpenSCAD, Inventor, Alibre, etc) are good at making mechanical components from geometric primitives (cubes, cylinders, etc), but are rather harder to use for "free-form" modelling (like sculpting with “digital clay”).

I suggest any one who is interested should download and register them all now (while the offer is still available) and give them a try. What have you got to lose (apart from possibly getting a heap of marketing material from Daz in your Inbox)?