Bryce has become somewhat of an institution. Designed as a 3D landscape rendering and animation program by Meta Creations, users have pushed the limits by producing stunning artwork far beyond what the creaters ever envisioned.
This is the first upgrade since Corel Corporation has aquired Bryce. So how have Corel fared with their latest offering of Bryce?
There are a number of new features, the most important being:
A new tree rendering lab
New light rendering lab
Storyboard Thumbnails for animations
Enhanced Rendering options
Hats off to Corel for recognizing the fact that people are using Bryce for more complex 3D work than landscapes. They have made the creation of these new scenes easier by allowing finer control with the lighting labs, metaballs and support for importing 3d models from the most popular 3D programs. I like the updated feel to the interface, which hasn't changed so much that you have to learn an entirely new program. This was one of my complaints with metacreations, the Interfaces changed so much it was too much of an unnessessary learning curve.
Bryce 5 installed with no hitches and has been very stable on my computer. I would recommend a lot of ram and a fast processer as I would for any 3D program. Documentation is excellent with a 378 page printed manual. Bothe the PC and the Mac versions are included in the box. There is also a second CD included, jammed with lots of goodies like Preset Libraries, Animations, Scene files and Tutorials.
As far as 3D programs go, Bryce is excellent value for money. If you have ever priced 3D studio or Lightwave, you will see what I mean. Of course Bryce doesn't have all the features of the higher priced programs like skinning etc. But it does carry a very impressive feature set for the money and it produces a very high quality end result. The rendering is very accurate and reasonably speedy, except when you use the Volumetric lighting. The Network rendering is a welcome edition. For animations, you can assign frames to different computers and for single images, you can assign segments of an image to each computer.
Bryce 5 is the first Corel product designed for OSX.
I was impressed with the tree lab, there is a large variety of trees that you can create with custom leaves and branches and the results are suprisingly realistic.
Now here is something I really love about Bryce and is very useful to Photoshop users:
Bryce supports "Distance Rendering Masks." What it does is allow you to render your scene as a mask. You can then copy the mask in a Photoshop Channel.
The Original Rendering
Once the mask is in Photoshop you can select it an isolate parts of the image and add a blur for realistic atmospheric effects.
The Rendering with the distance mask
Or even better still, you can use the mask to remove an object and copy it onto another image and it will retain all the transparency. Now that is very cool in my book!
Using the mask in Photoshop to remove image from Background.
To be honest, I couldn't find anything about Bryce 5 that I didn't like. I think its great value for money, a lot of fun to use and even a novice can produce stunning images without much trouble. Of course much more is possible in the hands of a master.
I rate Bryce 5: as a 5 out of 5!
It also deserves an Editors Pick award.
Suggested retail $309