The latest version, formZ 3.6, adds significant rendering features, including support for multiprocessing under Windows. Other upgrades to the program include improved spline, drawing, and OpenGL capabilities, as well as new shaders and lights.
Architect Bret Thompson uses formZ to create finished renderings for presentations, and is an early user of Version 3.6. "The multiprocessing support [for faster rendering] is probably the best feature," he says. Thompson also likes the new surface-style shaders, particularly the brick and wood varieties. And he notes that lights have been simplified in the latest version. "Now each light can have different settings for its intensity and shadows," he says. "There used to be a global setting."
Thompson says he hopes to see day lighting, reference files, and moving objects in animations in future versions. According to the company, version 3.6 is likely to be the last in the 3.x generation of formZ. Version 4 will be radically different, featuring a modular structure and an open architecture for plug-ins. Also in the works is a direct format translator for import and export between formZ and NewTek's LightWave.
FormZ and formZ RadioZity and RenderZone, both of which are built on the LightWorks rendering engine, run on Mac OS and Windows 95/98/NT/2000 platforms. Versions for both operating systems require a minimum of 16mb of RAM and 20mb of hard disk space. The RenderZone version requires an additional 16mb of RAM and 10mb of hard disk space. The formZ package costs $1495. RadioZity and RenderZone are $395 and $500, respectively. (autodessys; Columbus, OH; 614-488-8838; www.formz.com)