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Architosh Staff ([email protected])
30 Jul 00


Architosh Macworld Expo Report -1

Our Macworld Expo reports are coming in a bit tardy due to the new site but we will strive to focus in on news related to Architosh's target audience. In particular, we'll focus on CAD, 3D, graphics hardware, animation, and networking. In addition, we'll bring you some extra special news and share conference session notes.

This Report: 3D modeling, graphics cards and FirstClass Intranet Server

3D Modeling

Generally, this year's expo did not showcase any more 3D modeling/rendering vendors than last year...with one big exception. This year key graphics cards makers were on hand to help promote their cards for CAD/CAM/3D users. This was an important thing to see as it indicates further evidence of the growing importance of the Mac in the CAD/3D professional market.

3dfx's booth had a large presence at the show featuring their Voodoo 5 card (more on that later) and in their booth was a guest vendor theater where developers such as Nemetschek (VectorWorks), TGS, Inc. (Amapi 3D) and Ashlar (Vellum Solids) demonstrated the 2D/3D acceleration of their technical apps under the new Voodoo 5 card. This was an important and impressive thing to see: new card vendors teaming up with Mac CAD/3D vendors to help promote their products to the Mac market.

Amapi 3D

Amapi 3D (version 5.1) was demo'd to a large crowd gathered around the 3dfx booth on Thursday afternoon. The demo was very impressive and so was the rendering speed with the new Voodoo 5 card. Amapi 3D is available for both Mac and Windows. Some key features of version 5.1 are a new smoothing tool which enables an artist to more easily create organic shapes, such as those used in character animation, and a revamped animation module.

A powerful Decimation tool allows you to dynamically reduce the density of complex meshes while controlling and preserving key points and polygons. Also valuable in this release is new Cinema4D export, a powerful and popular animation and rendering program. Amapi 3D seems geared toward character and organic modeling but provides robust tools for a number of modeling purposes.

For architects in the crowd, Amapi 3D is surprisingly useful renderer/modeler as well. A look at some architectural examples at TGS's gallery web site will prove the point.

A demo version is available for free download.

Vellum Solids

Ashlar Inc., the makers of Vellum Solids 2000, Vellum 3D, and Vellum Draft were on attendance at Expo this year as well, quietly tucked away inside the new Science & Technology pavilion. Ashlar makes a serious longtime Mac CAD/CAM product that also runs on all versions of Windows. If you are new to Macintosh CAD and need to review a solid general 2D/3D CAD product, this is it.


Nemetschek North America is the new name for Diehl Graphsoft, the makers of number one Mac CAD product VectorWorks. Like Ashlar, Nemetschek was there as usual as a sign of its strong Macintosh tradition and support of Apple. Nemetschek N.A. has a very bright future thanks to its merger with the German software giant, Nemetschek A.G.

VectorWorks is now engineered for the addition of plug-in or add-on modules, with upcoming modules for landscape architecture and mechanical engineering coming next, after the very successful launch of VectorWorks ARCHITECT, the first such add-on product.


Discreet was present at Macworld this year, a neat sign of the times. They were there showing their Mac version of Combustion, a broadcast-quality 3D modeling, animation and video-effects program for the high-end video/animation market.

Combustion's market is clearly intended for the broadcast industry. If you are interested in video and its integration with 3D modeling/rendering, or vice versa, Combustion is a serious contender. One of the program's strengths is its integration with 3D Studio Max, a widely used modeler/renderer in the AEC market and a direct competitor with form-Z and Softimage.


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