I feel completely unashamed to say that I have been looking at another 3D package other than my beloved (perhaps that should be in the past tense) Bryce. I have been looking at Vue 8 (formerly Vue Esprit and now available in 11 different versions/packages) and I am impressed with what I see. In a nutshell the title of this posting says it all… “Vue 8 – what Bryce 7 *should* have been”.
Working in my “real” life I run the computer centre for the students of the medical faculty of a big university in South Africa. Medical students have a lot to do with anatomy and detailed data about human physiology. Running a computer centre means that I have access to wonderful programs used in the training of the medical students. Poser is one of them – as an example. The university provides a mechanism for me to look at and *play* with all sorts of toys and that is where I encountered Vue 8.
Vue 8 looks and acts a lot like Bryce. As an example the user interface:
Definitely some simarlarities! I admit, I disliked the Vue interface at first. I have been with Bryce now since Bryce 3D – too long! But now, after a couple of weeks of actually using the program, I have to confess that I enjoy it very, very much. The only way to describe Bryce’s interface is “a kid’s box of toys”. You always have fun with it and play with it, but Vue’s workflow is better and I can get the effect I want far more easily. The visual feedback is far better than the incessant guesswork you are subjected to, with Bryce. Have you ever tried to see what is really going on in the nano-preview and when you finally resign yourself to the “watching paint dry” render time, you are often disappointed by the disparity between the postage stamp preview and the final render…
But what about the plop render of Bryce, I hear you say? Sorry, Vue 8 has it too in the “Render Selected Area” option, and Bryce’s “Spray-can” rendering tool is just a useless gimmick that doesn’t deserve the space in the code it gets!!
What about Poser imports? (my favourite use combining Bryce and Poser.)
Bryce is royal pain when importing Poser .pz3 files, (even with DAZ Studio 3) and the old tried-and-tested .OBJ import is equally traumatic and is responsible for more crashes and “out of memory” errors than any other problem on my computer. Over the years I have developed tricks and tweaks to get me through the process but still, the whole process remains a drag…
I found that Vue imports Poser 4 files directly and doesn’t require any re-texturing. It even recognizes some of Poser’s older .bum bump maps. Simple and painless! The imported figures appear almost exactly as they appeared in Poser, and you can send the file back and forth between Poser and Vue to tweak poses and setting! This is a real winner for me!
But now after singing Vue’s praises and making my good name in the Bryce community mud, I have to deal a hard knockout blow to Vue – it’s price!
At worst – Bryce 7 Pro will cost you $99.95 – that is with no sale discount, Platinum Club discount and no upgrade discount, and DAZ3D are going out of their way to make Bryce 7 accessible to anyone, so I don’t know if I am being fair here regarding the price!
Choosing the Vue product that is closest to Bryce 7 Pro is difficult but I would have to settle with Vue 8 Esprit, although this product is sadly lacking in some “essential modules” like Botanica (equivalent in some degree to Bryce 7′s TreeLab) LightVue (equivalent to Bryce’s Light Lab – but on steroids!) and HyperVue (Bryce’s answer is Bryce Lightning)
Vue 8 Esprit goes for $199.00, and if you want the next step up with the TreeLab/LightLab/Bryce Lightning functionality you are looking at a hefty $399.00! This puts this product out of the reach of most gifted amateurs like myself! Very, very expensive! Translate that into South African currency and you are looking at R2900.00, a third of my monthly salary!
So I will have to save and count my pennies very carefully before jumping ship to Vue 8, while at the same time rueing the fact that Bryce 7 Pro should have been what Vue has been since version 4 and earlier!
I just have to pluck up courage and return the Vue install CD to its rightful owner and return to Bryce somehow!