Amorphium Pro
at a Glance

Maker: Electric Image
Price: $249
Demo Available: Yes

Overall Impression: This is one of those rare programs that comes out of the gate fully featured, stable and delivering more than you could anticipate. (It hasn't crashed in a month of use on the Mac.) Every time I think I've hit a wall, I discover that Amorphium Pro has a feature to match my need. It does not feel like a 1.1 release. It feels mature. It has features you won't find in most high-end 3D programs, but it has a workflow and tool set tailored for the experiences of 2D artists. This is an excellent all-around effort.

Key Benefits: Where to begin? For modeling, painting and animation, Amorphium Pro has it all. It's modeling tools are great—unique in the 3D market, really. It has unlimited undo, pressure tablet support, painting directly on models, masking, the ability to increase polygon count on portions of objects: This thing has way too many features to list here.

Disappointments: I'd like to see the progress of a Flash render (rather than just the current frame), and I'd like a library of objects. Other than these, I'm happy as can be with this program.

Recommendation: Strong Buy


REVIEW MARCH 21 , 2001
Electric Image Amorphium Pro 1.1

3D modeling, painting and animation software

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

I've mentioned before that for designers, particularly those who work in Flash, skill with 3D is rapidly becoming a prerequisite. Last year, the only tool on the market for bringing 3D content into the Flash format was Swift3D from Electric Rain. Now, however, it seems that every 3D publisher wants a piece of the Web, and they're all either offering Flash expansion modules or are developing export options for SWF animation.

As a subset of these publishers, there are those who are not just expanding existing applications to make them useable on the Web but are actually tailoring them for use by those whose skills tend more toward 2D design—print and the Web—but who are beginning to need 3D for things like spinning logos, flythroughs and character animation.

Enter Amorphium Pro from Electric Image.

Now, many of you probably remember the original Amorphium (from Play Inc.), a 3D product also targeted toward designers that was introduced a few years ago. If you had the chance to use it, you probably weren't terribly enthralled by it. It didn't exactly deliver on the promise of 3D for the masses. But Amorphium Pro is different. Very different.

What it does
Amorphium Pro is probably the first true 3D modeling and animation package targeted toward designers that also happens to have amazing features to back it up. This is a full-featured 3D suite, one that includes numerous tools for modeling, painting, texturing, masking, effects and rendering. I can't possibly cover it all here, but I'll try to give you a general sense of what it does and a few specific examples of how it works.

I say that this package is targeted toward designers not because it's a dumbed-down version of a high-end program. It's not. It's targeted toward designers in that its workflow and tools are organized in as close a way to 2D applications as possible while still being able to produce 3D. It's like your favorite image editor and painting program rolled into one and then extruded for 3D. And it's not a "dumb" program. This is unquestionably a professional tool.

By way of example, consider the problem of masking and painting a model while you're still in the process of building it. Say, for example, that you just want to make some hair on a head and paint it. You just click on the "Mask" tool, paint your mask on the object, and paint color with a tool similar to Photoshop's airbrush tool on the unmasked areas. Then just unmask you model to go back and do some more modeling. Simple, right? We'll take a look at masking later in this review. First let's take a look at how it all works.

Amorphium Pro is divided into 12 components for accomplishing various tasks. By default, when you launch the program, you get a mesh sphere in the middle of a blank scene in the Composition mode. Composition is where you come to create new basic shapes, arrange them in the scene, attach them to other objects, change object attributes or animate objects using a timeline that's very easy to understand. It's sort of the homeroom for all the rest of the features.

The basic single-window view in Composition mode. The toolbar on the left
can be expanded into individual palettes, and you can also view numerous
windows for different perspectives on your object.

From here, you can go into any of the modeling modes to shape a new model or edit an existing model—one you previously created in Amorphium Pro or one you've imported from a variety of common 3D formats. (You will also be able to export your work to common 3D formats.) Or you can do some painting, effects, masking or any number of other compositing or editing tasks you need to perform.

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