Shade 7.2 (standard and professional)

Powerful 3D graphics toolkit

After a hard day’s work, some people go for a six-pack, but if you’re new to the world of 3D, you’ll want to start with a three-pack! Shade 7.2 is a 3D design, modeling, and rendering program that’s easy to use but powerful enough to develop architectural-quality walk-throughs. It comes in three strengths: Shade LE, Shade standard, and Shade professional. Here, we’re going to look at the standard and professional versions. Shade 7.2 standard is the 3D graphics suite for designers, illustrators, and graphic artists. Shade 7.2 professional has advanced modeling, lighting, and rendering tools for architecture and design professionals. It also includes network rendering for multiple computers.

The main interface contains the control bar at the top along with top, front, side, and perspective views and a toolbox on the left. Dozens of palettes are available to work with and can be opened when needed.

An in-depth look at this program would fill a book, so here are just a few of its key features:

• Hardware acceleration and OpenGL support provides fast onscreen drawing and preview renders using the computer’s graphic card
• A full set of professional Bézier modeling tools, accelerating the creation of 3D surfaces and creating complex shapes with almost unlimited control
• MagicalSketch allows for easy development of 3D models based on 2D Illustrator EPSF and Bézier curves
• Detailed models can be created with Boolean and Polygon mesh modeling for physics-based modeling and organic natural designs
• TextEffectorPro provides expanded text enhancements such as extrude, beveling, and free-flowing 3D using TrueType and PostScript Type 1 fonts
• PoserFusion creates tight integration and playback of Poser (3D character animating software) scenes within Shade
• ShadeExplorer allows users to manage Shade data, files, and images through custom catalogs
• Global Illumination Renderer provides realistic images through the use of Photon Mapping, Path Tracing, and Radiosity to create photorealistic scenes
• DepthPlus enables out-of-focus effects (such as backgrounds) to be integrated with 3D models
• GlowEffector brings customized lens flares to Shade’s digital camera, giving a very realistic look
• Raytracing is used to create lighting reflection and refraction effects
• Up to 100 levels of “undo”

Shade 7.2 standard has a maximum rendering size of 4,000×4,000 pixels and imports the following file formats: Shape, Poser, 3Ds, DXF, EPSF, BMP, PCT, TGA, QuickTime, AVI, SHD, RAW, TIFF, OBJ, and HDRI. It exports the following formats: Shape, Poser, GDL, IGES, POV-Ray, VRML 2.0, DirectX, OBJ, Animation Master, DXF, RIB, PSD, and Flash.

Shade 7.2 professional has a maximum rendering size of 22,528×22,528 pixels and imports and/or exports the following file formats: 3D Studio MAX (3DS), BVH, and LightWave 3D (LWO). It has all of the features of the standard version as well as the following:

• RoomPlanner features drag-and-drop building components used to prototype architectural designs
• Solid Texture Shader
• RadiosityPro calculates indirect global lighting for realistic lighting effects, creating soft light and shadows on surfaces
• CALLISTO renderer speeds up render time and automatically smoothes curves for supple shapes, especially efficient in high-quality renderings
• Network Rendering allows sharing of rendering through multiple computers, reducing rendering time and increasing productivity

The program comes with an excellent 450-page user guide with step-by-step tutorials, along with a reference manual and local Help PDF files. Online help is also available from the Curious Labs website (

Whether you’re a student, educator, graphic artist, designer, architect, or digital professional, you’ll find a version of Shade 7.2 that suits your needs. It will put you into high gear and make turnaround time your ally.<

PRICE: $199 (standard); $1,009 (professional)
FROM: Curious Labs
PHONE: 831-462-8902