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A Bryce 3D Resurrection?

February 9, 2010

Rochester FerryWell, maybe more of a resuscitation 😉 For the time being at least, Bryce 3D is alive and holding on in the crowded 3D market.

When I first came across some fantastic and surreal 3D imagery over on Digital Blasphemy, one software package was mentioned over and over, and the name was Bryce. At that time, I had checked into pricing, and decided it was too rich for my blood. Working in engineering at the time, graphics stuff was only a sideline for me, and I could not justify the price at that time. But around 2003 I think, I found that Bryce was being offered by Corel, and at a very affordable price. I purchased Bryce, and it filled a gap for me. I could quickly generate surreal skies and great waterscapes which I sometimes used when compositing photographic images. I had created a few simple pieces, but decided I wanted more. And so after my purchase of Vue 3D, Bryce was sort of mothballed.

Consider this excerpt from and article in 3D World Magazine, September 2005:

Few programs have had a more chequered history than Bryce. Over the past five years, the software changed hands more times than a ball in a rugby match. But is that because the program is simply a hot potato, or is it simply too good to die?

At one time, Bryce towered over the competition, but soon other players such as Vue entered the mix, and the popularity of the program diminished in the market.

I recently found that Bryce is still available over at Daz3D, and is presently in incarnation 6. And there is even a version 7 beta which is of course a great glimmer of hope for hard core Bryce fans. I heard though that the version 7 beta is very unstable and crashes things, so I don’t recommend the new beta download at this writing.

So why did I put Bryce on the back burner? Well, the modeling sucked, and I found the program pretty clunky to use. I was also frustrated at that time with the learning curve of 3D. Bryce did have a great feature called Tree Lab though, and that was a lot of fun for me, especially for Christmas scenes and the like. While Bryce served it’s purpose, I didn’t feel like I was making any great strides with it. But now with a better understanding of 3D in general, I’ll pull it out of retirement, and will probably even upgrade to the current version 6.

The image above was done in Bryce 5 in 2004, and yes it’s pretty crude. My snow hills are very choppy. It was that year’s holiday card. The boat is an alpha plane image taken from a shot I had taken of a high speed ferry in Rochester NY. A few simple terrains were put in, and I played around with Bryce’s Skylab to generate a land of the midnite sun kind of look. The wreath is a simple torus primitive, and the bow was a very simple model done in Strata 3D. One small light illuminates the ice mound at right.

Ironically, the ferry ceased operation after one season, and even though the image is simple, I have sold a few of these as art pieces to Rochester area residents that used to like to go over and watch the ferry come in. I never even advertised the piece. The sales came from people who had seen the card I sent to friends and clients that year.

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