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Microsoft Buys Caligari

Pete Brown - 09 February 2008

The first real 3d modeling tool I used was one of the earlier Windows versions of trueSpace. While I was never impressed with the rendering engine back then (it has improved over the years) I really cut my teeth on modeling using that tool. The workspace was somewhat unique as far as modeling tools goes, encouraging a more immersive 3d editing experience vs. the usual 3-view approach.

One of my early trueSpace test models and renders A myst-inspired model I built back in v3 or v4

Caligari, the makers of trueSpace, were just purchased by Microsoft. They are to become part of the Virtual Earth team. While I'm not sure what that does to the general purpose 3d modeling tools, I hope the 3d modeling tools continue on and eventually become part of the Expression product line, or otherwise become available to designers and developers

Caligari always struggled with positioning themselves against the heavyweights in the 3d modeling and animation space. While trueSpace had some fairly advanced modeling tools earlier than other companies, they just never seemed to make that leap into the mainstream. Caligari experimented with several different unique versions of their tools, targeted at different vertical uses, as well as some semi-related products (what ever happened with iSpace?). For a while, I think they really lost focus, and the tools suffered (that's when I bailed on them and moved on to other tools)

Eventually, Caligari decided to refocus to an online-oriented model. In fact, their mission statement now reads "Caligari's mission is to develop collaborative 3D technology that enables participants to learn, work and play online."

Since then, their tools have gotten better, and their render has vastly improved. It could be worth revisiting that tool.

I wonder if trueSpace will show up on MSDN? (please, please!) :)

posted by Pete Brown on Saturday, February 9, 2008
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5 comments for “Microsoft Buys Caligari”

  1. Ben Hayatsays:
    Pete, Do you know of any 3D modeling that generates XAML or can be converted to XAML that can be rendered in SilverLight? This way we can create a 3d space and then use it as background.

  2. Pete Brownsays:
    Hi Ben

    zam3d is targeted more towards WPF. Since Silverlight doesn't have any 3d viewports yet, we won't see anything natively target it.

    In theory, you could flatten the 3d model to 2d and create xaml for it. However, I think you'd be better off rendering to a jpg or png and using that as your background.

  3. Ben Hayatsays:
    Hi Pete;

    I sent them an email to see if they are planning to have some type of support for Silverlight platform (a 2D that resembles a 3D). Let's see what they have to say. My goal is not only for background but also to create real objects that I can attach events to it. But more of a 3D look & feel than a flat picture. But I'm not seeking for the true spinning or rotation in 3D space.

  4. Ben Hayatsays:
    Pete, just to keep you up to date on my last post, I just received a reply to my email from Zam3D people. They said, they don't have a conversion from Zam3D to SL, however they do have an export from Swift3D to SL. In case you need to port 3D to SL.

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