CorelDream 3D 8 Review

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The Scene. A CorelDream 3D document is called a scene. A scene is the collection of objects, light sources, and cameras, saved in a single file. Each new scene has two windows: the Perspective window and the Hierarchy window. When you have saved a scene, its filename appears in the title bars of the Perspective and Hierarchy windows. The coffee scene to the right was created using the Scene Wizard in CorelDream.

Windows. When opening an application for the first time, you see four windows: Perspective window (upper left), Hierarchy window (upper right), Objects browser (lower left), and Shaders browser (lower right). These are the primary work windows. To display one of the windows, choose it from the Windows menu.

Workspace Preferences. Windows can be resized as you work. You can also move them around your screen and customize your workspace. When you quit the application, CorelDream 3D remembers your settings and uses them the next time you launch the application. You can save different workspace layouts in configuration profiles that you can load at any time.

Toolbars. You can choose which toolbars you want to see in your workspace and configure them as you want. Toolbars are: Standard, Toolbox (Perspective or Modeler), or Zoom. The Toolbox is the Perspective Toolbox when you work in the Perspective window and the Modeler Toolbox when you work in the Modeling window. The Standard toolbar appears at the top of the window, and the Perspective/Modeler toolbar appears on the left. These are floating toolbars; therefore you can move them whenever you like. You can even change the shape of a toolbar by dragging a corner or edge. you can redock a toolbar anywhere on your screen.

Windows In-depth

Perspective Window. The main window in CorelDream 3D is called the Perspective window, and it shows a view of the 3D workspace, where objects are created and arranged in three dimensions to create a scene. The workspace itself is called the universe. Objects are 3D volumes or other items, such as lights and cameras, within the universe. The view of your scene shown in the Perspective window is taken through a camera. If you want, you can position other cameras to get different viewpoints of the scene, and you can open multiple Perspective windows to view your scene from many viewpoints at once. The image to the right is an example of what you can create in the program using the Scene Wizard.

Objects, lights, and cameras are arranged in the main Perspective window so you can set up scenes. The Edit Object commands are used to work on selected items up close. To create or edit an object, you use the Modeling window. When you open objects for modeling, the Perspective window will "zoom in" on the object (to the exclusion of other objects) and transforms itself into the Modeling window. The Main menu then changes to the Modeling menu, and the Perspective Toolbox changes to the Modeler Toolbox with the Drawing and Text tools.

The Working box, which is represented by three intersecting planes, is the primary element of the Perspective window. This Working box provides a framework that guides you as you work in a 3D universe with 2D devices the mouse and monitor.

Each plane of the Working box has a grid. You can turn the display of the three grids on or off by using the Plane Display tool to the left of the Perspective window. The grid representing the active plane is shown in blue-green on the screen. When moving an object in the Perspective window, movement follows the currently active plane. When the Perspective window is active, a specific set of tools is available. The current zoom ratio is shown in the lower left of the window. The status (idle, drawing, shading, etc.) of the application is displayed in the Status Bar. The image to the left shows the grid for the table scene.

The Perspective window has five modes to display your objects: No Preview; Bounding Box; Wireframe; Preview; and Better Preview. The Better Preview mode will show you details of the shape and color of your objects, but it does take longer to calculate and draw. To increase application efficiency, you can work in Wireframe or Preview mode at the beginning of your project. When you become more familiar with the program, you can switch to Better Preview mode as specific details become important.

Objects Browser. The Objects browser is a visual catalog of 3D objects that you can drag into your Perspective or Hierarchy windows. This browser will display all CorelDream 3D files that are located in the directories loaded into the browser. Also, you can have multiple directories open in the Objects browser.

Hierarchy Window. You manage the contents of your workspace with the Hierarchy window. You can view the hierarchy in Vertical, Horizontal, or Outline views. You can work without using the Hierarchy window, but you will find it increasingly valuable as you develop more complex scenes. The Hierarchy window gives you information on the scene's construction that is not immediately apparent in the Perspective window. It can show how several elements are grouped. The Perspective and Hierarchy windows are synchronized: as you add or remove objects from one, the display in the other updates automatically. The Hierarchy window gives you a logical (as opposed to visual) representation of the scene. All objects, cameras, and lights that you bring into the universe are represented by icons in the Objects panel of the Hierarchy window. The image to the right uses a Horizontal view. The image under the Interface section uses an Outline view.

The Hierarchy window is organized into three separate panels: Objects, Masters, and Effects. Using the tabs at the top of the window you can switch between panels. The Objects panel displays all objects in your scene. The Masters panel displays only Master objects. You use the Masters panel to manage multiple copies of a single object. When you duplicate a single object you create a class of objects that are linked to the master object. To edit an individual copy, select the copy in the Objects panel. To make a change to all the copies of the object, select the Master object in the Masters panel. The Effects panel shows any Rendering Effects that you've added. The image on the left shows the Objects panel for the balloon image to the right.

Shaders Browser. The Shaders browser provides an easily accessible catalog of color, texture, and other surface characteristics that you can apply to your objects. Each of these shaders includes various channels: color, reflection, highlights, shininess, transparency, refraction, bumps, and glow. Shaders can be applied individually or collectively. Objects can be shaded by dragging the desired shader from the browser and dropping it onto the object. You can create your own shaders and add them to the Shaders browser to make them always available.

Scene Wizard

With the Scene Wizard you can create new scenes or apply them to existing files. The Scene Wizard is a picture-based assistant that guides you through the steps of creating scenes. There are two ways to create scenes through the Scene Wizard: by using Scene Templates, or by picking various components of your scene step by step.
There are three different categories of Scene Templates: Logo Templates, Indoor Templates, and Outdoor Templates. Each template contains completed scenes. Once you've created the scene, you can edit the scene just as if you created it from scratch. There are two categories of step by step wizards: Photo Studio and Indoor Step By Step. These categories create scenes by allowing you to step through a number of screens to select various components for your scene. The Photo Studio lets you choose lighting effects, backdrops, and props. The Indoor Step By Step lets you choose wall and floor combinations and lighting effects.

Personal Comments

CorelDream is based on Ray Dream Designer 4. It is a program that is well-suited for graphic design and is a good introduction to 3D. Thinking and designing in 3D is not easy. The Scene Wizard is a great tool for beginners to get a feel of working with scenes.

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