Designer 4 from Ray Dream Studio adds a number of important features that bring this moderately priced 3D illustration package to the level enjoyed by its pricier competitors. Some of those features, including design wizards and a very easy-to-use animation system, help bring these sophisticated functions to most users. Now, nearly anyone can design professional-quality illustrations and make animated movies almost as soon as they've installed this software.

I used Designer 4 with Windows NT Workstation, but it's also available for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, as well as for the Macintosh. On the Digital Celebris XL 5133 Dual Processor, this package was speedy, as you'd expect. While it didn't take full advantage of both processors for some functions--notably, rendering animation into movies--it did use them in other places. The result is a very fast, capable, and attractive package that most companies wouldn't mind having for presentations and other computer-based illustrations.

In fact, learning to use Designer 4 is quite easy. Most of the hard parts can be automated or are handled by wizards, so you have to know surprisingly little to get acceptable results. On the other hand, Designer 4 allows trained professionals to have as much control as they want, so they're not limited by too much automation.

Adding to the ease of use are more than 500 models, over 300 textures, and a number of other shapes, colors, and related animation tools. Most operations are performed by dragging and dropping the desired feature onto the object you're designing. The Animator is also easy to use and lets you create animations much like those from much more expensive packages. Most Windows NT users won't need to look beyond Ray Dream Studio's Designer 4 for their 3D and animation needs.

Ray Dream Designer 4
Ray Dream * 415-960-0768
Fax: 415-960-1198
Web: http://www.raydream.com
Price: $499