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E-on Software Vue 5 Easel

3D landscape and scenery generation software By Dave Nagel
Summary: Vue 5 Easel is a stripped-down version of Vue d'Esprit, a 3D landscape/scenery generation tool. Easel offers much of the base functionality of the full version of Vue but has extremely limited animation capabilities (flythroughs only) and far fewer rendering options.
Publisher: E-on Software (
Platform: Mac OS X and Windows
Price: $89 for the full version (download) or $99 (physical shipment); $49 as a sidegrade from Vue d'Esprit 4 (download) or $59 (physical shipment)
Users: Graphic designers who need to generate 3D scenery, in particular natural scenery.
Recommendation: Buy

For those of you unfamiliar with it, E-on Software's Vue is a family of 3D tools for generating landscapes and other types of scenery. The latest addition to this family, introduced just last month, is Vue 5 Easel, an entry-level version of the software geared toward graphic designers who might not need the more advanced animation capabilities found in higher-end version Vue d'Esprit 5 and Vue 5 Infinite.

What it does and how it works
Vue 5 Easel is designed principally for generating still images of landscapes and other types of scenery, although it does have some limited animation capabilities, which we'll get to later. When you use it, you begin by selecting one of the 125 included scenery templates, each of which includes some basic properties for your composition: sky color, basic lighting conditions, clouds and the like.

And from this basic template, you begin building up your scene. To this end, Vue 5 Easel includes a number of tools specifically designed to help smooth the process of creating landscapes from scratch, making it much easier than creating landscapes in general 3D programs. For example, if you wish to create hills or mountains, you just click a button, and a basic mountain object is added to the scene.

It also includes one-click tools for adding ground planes, cloud planes, water planes, plants, rocks and other terrain and atmospheric features. It also offers the ability to add and manipulate primitives (torus, cone, ball, cylinder, cube and pyramid); fully editable 3D text; lights; and objects that you import from other programs, including elements from e frontier's Poser.

With the built-in tools, you'll get a basic landscape laid out quickly and easily. But there's also quite a bit of depth to this tool as well. Vue 5 Easel isn't as deep as its higher-end siblings, but it offers you a level of customization that is sure to satisfy most of your needs.

For example, when you create a basic mountain object, you can then go in and edit it to get the precise shapes you want out of it. Double-clicking a mountain object opens it up in the Terrain Editor, which includes sculpting tools so you can paint peaks and valleys directly onto the object, affecting its geometry. It also includes tools for adding surface effects like craters, stairs, erosion, trees, peaks, plateaus and other features.

Vue 5 Easel also offers a fairly comprehensive Material Editor, which allows you to go in and create your own surface textures for your objects or choose from a library of fully customizable presets.

And, like other products in the Vue line, it also includes an Atmosphere Editor for full customization of the environment, including fog, haze, sky color, sunlight, global illumination and other atmospheric properties.

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