Ulead Cool 3D Studio review and test

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Ulead Cool 3D Studio

Ulead's 3D effects tool Cool 3D has evolved into a version far better suited to video production. Just how cool is Cool 3D Studio?

With the latest iteration of Cool 3D, Ulead has created a 3D text and graphics tool that boasts many more features, usability enhancements and export options than previous versions.

Projects can be output as a video (or still image) sequence, or a still image, 3D model, or Web animation. Export file formats include AVI, MOV, RealVideo, WMV, BMP, GIF, JPEG, TGA, DirectX, 3D Studio, animated GIF, SWF (3D Macromedia Flash) and RealText 3D. Ulead says that all Studio projects are usable in its two Windows video editors - MediaStudio Pro 7 and VideoStudio 7 - and we had no compatibility problems with either program.
Like C3D, Studio offers presets for quick creation of 3D work, but the programs are radically different. For a full listing, and a comparison with V3 of C3D see: www.ulead.co.uk/c3ds/comparison.htm.
Studio can be bought as a boxed version for £81 (inc VAT), or as a £76 download from www.ulead.co.uk/store/c3ds/runme.htm. The same site allows registered C3D users to buy a boxed upgrade for £51, or a downloadable upgrade for £46. There's also a 36MByte trial option available from www.ulead.co.uk/c3ds/trial.htm. Dabs Direct (www.dabs.com), though, is selling the boxed version for £65 and the boxed upgrade for £41.

Conclusion
Ulead Cool 3D Studio is good value and great fun to use. Users of Cool 3D will feel at home, and welcome Studio's advanced features, if not the longer rendering times that some of these require.
The EasyPalette presets and FreeForm, Lathe Object and Path editors helped speed-up creation of 3D work. Animating using the timeline and Animation and Location toolbars was very straightforward. Having listings of object properties in the Attribute panel and Object Manager proved invaluable for fine-editing.
We were concerned about the problems we saw when outputting AVI video, where the program sometimes froze. However, we didn't see similar stability problems when running the updated program on another PC we tried - an Athlon 1.1GHz machine - and the updater did improve stability on our main test PC, as well as render speed.
Quality of exported projects was excellent, producing impressive results when used within Adobe Premiere and Ulead's own latest-generation video editors.
C3D Studio is a cool program. It's great for creating interesting and high-quality video titles and logos, and pretty good for other types of animation, too. It doesn't take ages to learn, so editors can jump right in and create output for video production. The quality is a match for any other prosumer program, as well as some considerably more expensive programs.

Lisa Keddie

Read the full review in July 2003's Computer Video magazine.

 


 

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