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An interesting 3D story.... - Carlos Camacho - May 7, 2003 01:57 AM

For background note, please see my editorial on the state of 3d on the Mac. And now the story....

Long time ago (in computer years Smile ) there was a company called VIDI. They sold a modeler and renderer package called Presenter 3D. It was a spline-based modeler, and if I recall, some artists in NASA used it for creating simulation presentations. Outside of them, I didn't know many other people using it. I think it was one of the first 3d programs to consider sound in the animation section. (But I could be wrong.) Anyhow, around the time that 3DMF started to go away, and the Mac 3D market was shrinking due to MA and everyone jumping on the "web" bandwagon, VIDI's dev announced the "end of 3D on the Mac" in an article. He made a plea to Apple/Jobs etc etc.. A short time later, a PR was sent out to Mac sites stating that due to "Apple not caring about 3D", VIDI was no longer to compete in the 3d market and thus Presenter 3D would go bye bye.. Something like that. (Putting aside whose fault the market situation was.... cough... the dev's.. cough... the dev's) Another PR followed with some holiday cheer. Presenter 3D would be made "free" since the dev could no longer make it a business. Again, something like that. We were told to wait for a bit while the dev "re-packaged" it up for the masses. We waited and waited. Time went by and nothing. Fast forward a bit. New PR comes out that says the program would now be supported by a "team." (Goal being to make 3D affordable for the masses.) Catch was to get the "new" Presenter 3D -- now dubbed "3D Joy", you needed to become a member of the team. To become a member of the team required a "donation." This ran a bit counter to the early PRs spirit.

Why do I bring this up?

Just for laughs, and to remind me of this saga, I visited the dev at to see if anything had changed. Nope. You can still become a member. Also, you can download a "Lite" version. Lite version has restrictions. (of course Smile ) Not remembering what I/O it had, I thought to download it to see if the Lite version could be useful for the people here to help translate file formats. Seems like the Lite version has no I/O. (It can save though in native format.) So not really useful for people here unless you want to model and render (Lite version restricts output) sprites.

I think it is a shame as the program will most never see itself running natively on Mac OS X despite being supported by a "team." Though I would love to be proven wrong. Frankly, I think the dev should have made it Open-source or stated it had become "Shareware." Seems like too much conflicting stuff came out of him. Tis a shame as we all know the need for a good modeler, that runs natively on Mac OS X, while having a "regular" GUI.

So what's the point? Well, it isn't to bug the guy with "Make it open-source" pleas. (I know many devs who have spent many years on their app, hate the thought (or the act) of being questioned on Open-source.) If you are into 3D/design/Open-source, you might want to mention to the dev. other possibilities to distribute his software. Reality wise, we offer an old version of Amapi for free here that is about on par (IMHO) with 3D Joy. Other 3d vendors have low-end versions for less than $120, so the donation to join the team seems a bit out of touch with the current market and OS situation.

Well, if you remember this saga, let me know your two yen.


An interesting 3D story.... - w_reade - May 7, 2003 06:23 AM

Years ago, MacFormat in the UK gave away "Vidi Presenter Pro" on a cover CD. It didn't seem to have anything disabled as such (although it was a bit buggy)...

Anyway, it's the first 3d app I remember using, and probably the one I've used most in my life. I stopped using it when it stopped working properly in system 8.5 or so, though.

An interesting 3D story.... - NCarter - May 7, 2003 11:41 AM

I learnt Presenter Pro at university, and subsequently taught it for a few years. It had some quite nice features and a couple of clever devices (such as depth lock) that I've never seen anywhere else. Unfortunately, it was explosively buggy, and whenever I tried to use it for serious work it would let me down at the last minute. Shortly after starting to do 3D stuff for a living I ditched it for Form*Z and I've never looked back. Shame it wasn't developed any further, though.

I think you're right about their strange 'marketing' strategy, Camacho. Why would anyone in their right mind want to pay to collaborate with them? I'd rather write a new modeller from scratch!

An interesting 3D story.... - Carlos Camacho - May 7, 2003 05:16 PM

Good to see at least two people who have been around for a bit. I'm really curious to know if anyone is still active in their community. I was thinking o sending the dev an email, but I'm not sure of his re-action given my editorial and his paast actions.

Macformat and UK mags are great at giving away older software. Wish more mags were like that.

An interesting 3D story.... - Shivers - May 8, 2003 06:28 PM

A trial version of Presenter Professional came with some software my dad bought a few years (8 mb?) back. About the same time I started thinking about 3d stuff because I knew a cool guy who was doing 3d art and animation in college. So I put Presenter Professional into my cd drive and messed around with it, never making much, but it did get me into 3d modeling....of course I use Cinema 4d nowRasp