Monday, April 20th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

3Dflow releases 3DF Zephyr Lite

University of Verona spin-off 3Dflow has released 3DF Zephyr Lite: an entry-level $199 version of its high-end 3DF Zephyr image-based modelling software.

Pro tools for scientific and architectural work
Aimed primarily at architectural, scientific and biomedical work, the original Pro edition of the software cost $2,900, putting it in the same price bracket as tools like PhotoModeler.

The software reconstructs 3D geometry from a series of still source photographs as either textured 3D meshes or point clouds, along with the positions of the individual cameras.

It can also export rendered turntables or camera animations of the model without the need for other software.

A cut-down version of the Pro edition for artists and small studios
The new Lite edition, which lacks the 3D measurement and statistical analysis tools of its sibling, provides a more affordable alternative for freelance artists and small studios.

It’s limited to 200 source photos, and only exports geometry in OBJ or PLY format; not point clouds or cameras.

Unlike older photogrammetry tools, you don’t need a special background target to use 3DF Zephyr Lite, meaning that you can shoot models of any size, and shoot out of doors.

It’s also GPU-accelerated, at least if you have a CUDA card, and can upload directly to Sketchfab or YouTube.

Up against Autodesk’s tools
However, this is a tough market to get into: at the low end, Autodesk’s 123D Catch is free, and can be used commercially if you share the models you create on the user gallery.

And at the higher end, Memento – which lets you use more source photos and export in more file formats – is free to use, at least until Autodesk decides how it will commercialise the service.

Whether 3DF Zephyr Lite provides a better alternative will come down to speed, ease of use, and the quality of the geometry generated: all things you can check yourself using the free trial and evaluation editions.

Pricing and availability
3DF Zephyr Lite is available for 64-bit Windows Vista and above, price $199. 3DF Zephyr Pro 1.5 costs $2,900.

Read more about 3DF Zephyr Lite on 3Dflow’s website
(Includes feature comparison table between the Lite and Pro editions)