Now Corel has introduced Bryce 5, its first major revision since buying the software last spring. And the company is expecting that Bryce enthusiasts will be assured by the updated yet still familiar interface of the product, and also by several major additions. The first of these is network rendering, which lets users share the compute-intensive task of rendering among multiple systems. Bryce also now comes with a Tree Lab and Light Lab, both of which appear on separate palettes with a look and feel similar to Bryce's pre-existing Sky Lab. The Tree Lab allows users to specify the type, branch and leaf density, coloration, and other details of trees they create for their Bryce 5 landscapes. The Light Lab lets users control the direction, intensity, color, and range of lights on objects and in landscapes.
Additional new features include metaballs support, which allows modelers to create organic-looking shapes without a high density of polygons; a UI updated with a Most Recently Used Files list and a real-time preview mode; and enhanced sky and animation effects. The new version also includes additional presets, so that users can quickly create landscapes ranging from realistic to fantastic, as well as tools that give experienced users more control over creating their own landscapes. And, Bryce 5 users who wish to post their animations on the Web can now export them in QuickTime format. Bryce also supports numerous image import and export formats.
Bryce 5 runs on Macintosh 8.6 or higher platforms (including OS X), and on Windows 98/2000/NT/ME systems. It requires a recommended 128mb of RAM and 100mb of hard disk space. It costs $309. (Corel Corp.; www.corel.com) -Jenny Donelan