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Martin Wengenmayer releases Cheetah3D 7.0

Friday, October 6th, 2017 | Posted by Jim Thacker

An image created in Cheetah3D by user Frank Beckmann. Version 7.0 of the Mac-only 3D software, released this week, is described as the biggest upgrade in Cheetah3D’s history, adding over 100 new features.

Developer Martin Wengenmayer has released Cheetah 3D 7.0, the latest update to the low-cost Mac-only 3D software, adding a new unbiased renderer, a new Boolean system and “full OpenEXR workflow”.

The update – the first major new version since 2012 – is described as the biggest in Cheetah3D’s history.

A $99 Mac-only 3D app with a steady cult following
Starting life as a spare-time programming project, Cheetah3D has maintained a steady following since its original release in 2003, mainly among home users and independent artists.

The feature list includes a standard basic range of polygonal modelling, 3D painting, keyframe animation and dynamics tools, including support for Bullet physics.

Cheetah3D 7.0: a complete revamp of the UI and core code
The first major new version of the software in over five years, Cheetah3D 7.0 extends that list significantly, and completely overhauls the core code.

“As a 15-year-old project, a big clean-up of the underlying architecture and a refresh of the UI was more than overdue,” wrote Wengenmayer when the update was originally released in beta last year.

In the case of the architecture, that means that Cheetah3D is now a fully 64-bit application with a “much reduced” download size and “many small speed-ups throughout the app”.

In the case of the UI, it means a redesign for macOS 10.13 High Sierra, which Apple released last month, including a complete new icon set and use of the default system font.


New unbiased render engine and Boolean system, many other key tools
Although there are few changes to the animation or dynamics toolsets, the update revamps pretty much every other part of the software, with the headline feature being a complete new rendering engine.

A unidirectional path tracer, the new Falcon renderer gives Cheetah3D support for camera and object motion blur, and is supported by a new physically based BRDF material system, shown in the image above.

The update also promises a “considerable” reduction in memory use and improvement in rendering speed.

There is also a new Boolean system integrating the open-source carve library. It supports n-gons and preserves edge and polygon selections and material assignments.

Version 7.0 also brings the software more in line with current 3D workflows, adding a number of features long standard in other DCC tools, including layers, soft selections, and support for animated textures.

In addition, the update adds full support for the Collada and OpenEXR formats – you can import, edit and export textures in OpenEXR 2 format – and improves SVG support.

There is a long list of smaller features, workflow and performance improvements: the online release notes run to well over 100 bullet points.

Pricing and availability
Cheetah3D 7.0 is available for Mac OS X 10.6.8 and above. It costs just $99.

Read a full list of new features in Cheetah3D 7.0 on the product website

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