Rhino 3D 4.0
Rhino 3D is a modeling program that translates NURBS curves, surfaces, and solids. NURBS stands for “non-uniform rational b-splines,” which in layman's terms is a mathematical representation of 3-D geometry that describes a 2-D object (e.g., extrapolating a model of a curved wall out from a 2-D line drawing). Often the tool of choice for exporting data to in-house rapid-prototyping machines, Rhino appears committed to improving the functionality and precision of its toolsets.
Its latest version introduces over 200 new functions and enhancements, most intended to improve base geometry—modeled curves, surfaces, polysurfaces, and meshes—and allow for cleaner, better-blended seams. They've developed over 70 new tools for editing and deforming surfaces and objects and more than 20 upgrades to the overall user interface.
Like many of its competitors, Rhino has focused on the need for better view-ports for reviewing work and running animations. Their new view-port comes equipped with more than 60 additional tools. What's more, the software boasts 70 new commands for editing, repairing, and analyzing meshes for exporting to rapid-prototyping machines, which allow for more precise geometry evaluations, measurement verification, and detection of object interferences. Overall, this latest iteration has responded to the need for an affordable, intuitive, freeform 3-D modeling tool that is easy to learn and packed with capabilities. Even novices will be experimenting in state-of-the-art model shops in no time.
Software interoperability: Supports exchanges between DXF/DWG and Adobe Illustrator files, STL export, KML export to GoogleEarth, and import from SketchUp and Solidworks. Also supports IGES, STEP, and ACIS.
Improvements: Better large-project support with reference files, layer managements, and file locking
- Increased compatibility with other programs
- Faster basic rendering
- User interface improvements Speedier display of models and new analysis tools
- Improved texture-mapping tools
3ds Max 2008
A 3-D modeling program most often used for creating visualizations of projects from 2-D drawing sets.
Faster material assignments and transformations
- Scene analysis and editing tools
- New modeling user interface
- Improvements to lighting both indoor and outdoor scenes
- Increased compatibility with other Autodesk products
- Improved file-linking for better tracking of information
Form Z 6.5
A 3-D modeling program that uses both polygonal and smooth parametric modeling to improve versatility and render detailed structures and interiors.
Exposure correction will automatically adjust over- and underexposed images
- Materials library has been expanded to include over 600 new predefined materials
- New shaders for the A/E/C industry such as frosted glass, sidewalk and road paving, and brick pavers
- New sketch-rendering features