Art of Illusion is a free 3D modeling studio

Art of Illusion

Tools like Plotagon are a fun way to create simple 3D videos, but as we saw yesterday, they’re a little limited. Okay, make that very limited.

If you’d like to try 3D modeling for real then the open source Java-based Art of Illusion provides much more scope for getting creative.

Models can be constructed from cubes, spheres, cylinders, curves, spline and triangle meshes and more. You’re able to define materials, edit textures and surface properties, then create photorealistic images with motion blur, depth of field and more,

Sequences of still images can be exported for use elsewhere, or saved as a .mov video, and there’s support for skeletons using forward and inverse kinematic animation.

You even get support for scripting, with a bundled example applying fur to your model in a click or two.

Figuring out precisely how all this works will take plenty of time and effort, but if you need an incentive then take a look at the screenshot or the website’s "Art Gallery" for some great examples of what the program can do.

Better still, the Gallery doesn’t just have a few JPEGs. In most cases you can also download the scene file, then open and work with it in Art of Illusion, an easy way to start exploring the program’s capabilities.

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