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Swift 3D Version 2

New Version Adds New 3D Tools for Flash Animators By Adam Bell
Swift 3D
Swift 3D from Electric Rain, $159
Last year, one of my first reviews for the WWUG and DMN was for a product called Swift 3D that enabled users to create 3D animations that could be exported in SWF format and be used in Flash and LiveMotion movies. While there was a lot of promise in the product there were a lot of bugs to work around. Mainly through a limited interface. So while I recommended it, I heeded warning about its' limitations and what was yet to come.

Yet to come is right now.

In the past year, Electric Rain (Swift3D's parent company) has created plug-ins for programs like 3DS Max, Lightwave and SoftImage XSI that allow those users to easily export their animations to the SWF format. However, not everyone has the $2000 to go out and buy these apps and so there was definite demand in the upgrade of the original low-cost Swift3D app. In late 2001, the new release came out and it's been drastically improved.


New features of Swift3D include two new object editors. The Extrusion Editor allows you to create 2D objects using Bezier curves like Illustrator or Freehand does. When you are finished with the object you go back to the Scene Editing Mode and the object has already been extruded. I guess that's why they call it the Extrusion Editor. Personally, I think a name like Object Editor or 2D Editor would make more sense.

The other new editor is the Lathe Editor. This is something Swift really needed. Again you create objects in 2D like Illustrator, but this time when you bring it into the Scene it sweeps the object so you can create round objects like Wine Glasses and Footballs really easily. You have complete control over how many degrees you want the object to sweep. So not every object has to be totally round.

Moving Objects in the Scene Editor is also drastically improved. Although you still have two trackballs at the bottom to control rotations, you know can control the positions of the object either using the arrows on the keyboard or just by entering numbers in the correct panel of the interface. This is way I did back in my LightWave/Electric Image days and it's the way I prefer doing it. You still cannot control the rotation of objects
numerically though although you can lock in an axis and also the amount of degrees of the rotation in the trackball editor. So if you want an object to move 60 degrees on the Y axis, you lock in the Y axis and then you select that you want the object to move in 15 degree increments only. Then you move it 4 times and you've got it. I'd still prefer doing it numerically in a panel though.

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Related Keywords:Swift 3D, Electric Rain, Flash, swf, Macromedia, Extrusion, 3D, animation,

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