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Electric Rain Intros Swift 3D Importer for Flash MX

Technology will allow direct access of Swift 3D files through Flash MX menus By Dave Nagel
Electric Rain has announced a new tool for bringing Swift 3D animations into Macromedia Flash MX projects. The company says it's an improved tool, one that is accessible through Flash MX's menu system and that allows for the direct import of files saved in the proprietary Swift 3D format.

Swift 3D itself is a utility for converting 3D objects and animations into vector art for use in applications that output to the Flash format, such as Flash and Adobe LiveMotion. The tool itself can import a limited range of 3D formats, but Electric Rain also makes export modules for specific 3D applications. The latest release offers a number of new modeling tools. Version 1.0 had few the ability to generate primitives but was primarily geared toward importing objects created in other programs. But version 2.0 adds the following tools:

  • Extrusion and Lathe Editors
  • PostScript font support
  • Targeted cameras and lights
  • Extended primitive selection
  • Automated timeline scaling
  • Non-uniform scaling of objects
  • Numerical positioning of objects
  • Ability to animate materials.

Version 2.0 also gains new rendering capabilities. It's powered by the RAViX II rendering engine, which Electric Rain touts as "the fastest and most versatile 3D to vector conversion available." It includes the ability to render in two-, four- and full-color cartoon fill modes. It also adds the following enhancements:

  • Shadow rendering for self, plane and object shadow casting
  • Specular highlights for cartoon fills and gradients
  • Line weight, color and detail settings for control over wireframe output
  • Up to 50 times faster rendering while handling 250,000+ polygon models
  • Previewing system to view and edit rendered scenes before writing a file.

Electric Rain says the new importer no longer places a limit on the types of 3D data that can be brought into the Flash application. Currently, the entire Swift 3D product line exports to the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format. As a compiled format, SWF files inherently limit the type of 3D information able to be imported into Macromedia Flash. The Swift 3D Importer, along with Electric Rain's new proprietary file format, is designed to provide a more seamless workflow between Swift 3D and Macromedia Flash MX.

The Swift 3D Importer for Flash MX is not available yet, and Electric Rain won't pinpoint a ship date or say whether they will release the software concurrently with a new version of Swift 3D. For more information, visit

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at [email protected].

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