Designer Today Product Review Archive



Impulse Software - Imagine 2.0


Imagine 2.0

By Vikki Dawson

November 1, 1999

Here's another one of those terrific software applications that is hard to close once you open them. Imagine 2.0 is the easiest 3D creation software I have encountered. If you know you're stuff when it comes to 3D, you won't have any trouble jumping right in to Imagine and I bet it's easier to use than what you're using now. 

If you don't have any experience with 3D, Imagine is the application to have. The user interface is quick to learn and the menus are set up perfectly. The Imagine 2.0 manual is a terrific resource for learning all that you can do with Imagine 2.0. The quad view makes it great for seeing all the angles as you create. 

One of the things that threw me when I started with 3D was being confused by what happened when I manipulated an object. With Imagine, when you manipulate an object, it acts as you would expect it to instead of going off in some wild direction that you don't expect which I have experienced with other 3D software. 

Below is the detail editor, one of four editors available. The other three include the forms editor, the spline editor, and the stage editor.

From the menus below you can see that Imagine does it all. You won't need another 3D mesh or rendering application if you have Imagine.



It's easy to set the attributes for each object in your project.

Anytime you want to see a quick render of your project it's as easy as clicking on the camera on the tool bar. You'll see a panel like the one below that gives you tons of options of how you want to quick render your project. Along with that is the option to trace render. Just getting into this panel and playing with the settings and scan line rendering was a lot of fun.

Below shows some of the pre-made objects that you can load and do anything with.

On the left side of the user interface are icons for deformations - twist, taper, bend, shear, pinch, and stretch.

Key Technical Specifications: (taken directly from Impulse Software site)

  • Quad View Interface
    Front, Side and Top Views with perspective
    Preview in wire frame or solid mode
    offers a more realistic real time preview of your work
    Full Trace (with shadows, reflection and refraction)
    Scan Line (limited reflections)
    Color and Black and White Solid Mode
    Color and Black and White wire frame mode
    User Customizable Tool breakaway toolbars
    Render safe area window
    Multiple Editors
    User customizable interface
    Object creation and properties application
    Stage animation control and object staging
    Forms slice object editor
    Spline font and 2D spline object creation
    Action Dialog quick view of all stage actors
    Portals, giving you a mini view of what to expect prior to committing to a render, also makes work flow faster
    and easier to visualize
    Procedural Texturing with over 100 textures included such as Wood, Brick, Bath tile, Fire, Ghost,
    Image mapping, and various applications of image maps such as, Color, Specular, Altitude, Filter, Reflective
    Object manipulation
    Bend, Twist, Taper, Shear, Scale, Move, all manipulations are Animatable.
    No limitation to point, edge or face count
    Boolean operations for slicing and cutting objects
    Real Time Point reduction, visually control the point and face count of objects with a simple slider, all in real time
    Object States an Imagine unique feature allowing each object to have various states where different aspects of the object can be set, then when animated users can morph between various states. Great for creating character animation movements.
    Built in primitives
    Sphere, cone, plane, torus, tube and disk, hemisphere, cube, box, rod.  Simple drag and drop to the work surface
    Full lathe and extrusion function with
    Spin, Sweep, Extrude and Extrude along a path or axis.
    Conform objects to object types and paths
    Magnetic control of selected points
    Object selection tools include, click, lasso and drag box
    Editor zoom tools
    Particle system support,
    various built-in particles as well as load any object as a particle and full Animatable
    Supports Grouping in mass and hierarchical
    Meta Ball functions
    Backdrop images
    both static and animated
    Full AVI support and Image sequence save and load
    Animation Bluing show last position of animated object
    Imagine and DXF, 3 D Studio and Lightwave file format load and save
    Key Cell tweening with absolute or spline base motion paths.
    Animated objects can fallow define spline motion paths.
    Inverse Kinematics for character animation
    Unlimited Animatable light sources that where color, intensity and type can be controlled:
    Point, Spot, Square and parallel
    Full Camera control
    Special Effects including
    Toon, Particle, Explode, Fireworks, Jitter, Balloon, Tumble, Haze, Lens flare, Shredder
    Global variables including
    Field Rendering
    Motion Blur
    Anti Alias controls
    Depth of Field
    Star Field (fully animatable)
    Global Fog with density and color
    Full 24 bit video support
    Renders from 1,1 pixel to 16,000 by 16,000
    suitable for multimedia, print and motion picture film and video
    Image out put format includes, TGA, TIF, JPEG, BMP, PNG.

Imagine 2.0 comes with an "extensive" manual that is written in plain English with examples. It's very easy to read, and believe me, you'll want to read it just to learn all the great things Imagine 2.0 can do.

"a very quick project...the textures are included with Imagine"

Imagine 2.0 is one of those applications that you need in your tool box for creating top of the line images. If you don't believe me, run over to Impulse Software and take a look at the images on their site, and don't forget to stop by their gallery. You will see some truly amazing renderings there. It's hard to imagine they were computer rendered and not hand painted on canvas.

Download the demo from Impulse Software and see for yourself how terrific this software is and how much it can do.

Impulse Software

Macintosh System Requirements
24 bit Video (mandatory)
64MB Free RAM
10MB Free HD space (more for animation)
Windows System Requirements
Pentium Processor
24 bit Video (mandatory)
Windows 95, 98, NT
64MB Free RAM
10MB Free HD space (more for animation)

Estimated Street Price
$995.00 (US) Average Selling Price
$450.00 (US) Special Web Pricing

Copyright 1999 Vikki Dawson, All Rights Reserved

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