[Contest] 3DBrowser for 3D Users

3DBrowser for 3D Users is a powerful media browser that lets you preview media content like pictures, videos, audio files and most important 3D model files.  In case you are involved into 3D game or movie development this might just come in handy and spare you a lot of time while searching thorough a big media library.

Installation

Installing the application is a straightforward process.  During it you can select the components that you want to install. It offers the Stand-alone Polygon Cruncher, support for Maya and support for 3DS Max also. You can select the folder in which you want to install the application and some specific settings like thumbnail generation, file association and starting in the system tray. All of these settings can be changed afterwards using the preferences. After running 3DBrowser there is an option to select the version that will be used – “3DBrowser for 3D Users”, “3DBrowser Image Edition”, “3DBrowser Light Edition”. Obviously “3DBrowser for 3D Users” is the most powerful version.

Interface

At first look 3DBrowser offers quite typical well-arranged interface just like most image browsers do. There is a toolbar, a computer browser pane and a preview pane showing thumbnails of all supported media files that are present in the currently selected folder.

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And here is where the common part ends. 3DBrowsers has some really unique features. One of the most impressive features is the wide range of supported media. According to the developer it supports more than 60 images and video formats, most of the audio formats and many of the 3D formats. The toolbar offers limited set of functions compared to the main menu. You can easily print a full catalog of the available media in the current folder or just a selected file. Surprisingly 3DBrowser offers screen capturing. It can even capture videos.

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Batch operations are also supported. For example creating an animated GIF from a 3D model is just a click-away. To process images in a batch job is quiet handy and easy to configure. The commands are separated in two groups – respectively for 2D and 3D processing. Just add the desired ones like for example add or remove noise, blur or sharpen images, color modifications, geometry changes etc and start the batch job. Obviously this can take a while depending on the amount of media files processed and the performed operations.

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Another useful feature is the HTML export. Using this you can create a webpage according to a predefined template and then upload it. 3DBrowser comes with three ready to use templates but you can edit these and / or add your own templates according to your needs.

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As mentioned earlier digging the main menu reveals a lot more functions. In the Tools section you can see interesting features like Search Similar Files where it’s even possible to set the image similarity by percent slider. A 3D file convertor is available. It supports the following file formats – 3DS, C4D, COB, DAE, DXF, LWO, LXO, MA, MAX, MB, OBJ, PLY, SKP, STL, WRL. You can split and merge files or change filenames case.

While exploring the main menu you can find that the preview pane is really completely customizable. It is possible to change the view mode, to arrange the media files according to your needs like by name, by date, by extension etc. and for example to apply a filter so that only the 3D models are shown.

Double-clicking a thumbnail opens a new window showing the media content. When a 3D model is shown the window is separated in two parts – one for the list of objects used in the model and one for the preview pane. Each object from the list has a checkbox so it can be hidden / shown from the preview pane. While previewing a 3D model it can be rotated or moved in all directions and zoomed in or out. Previewing can be done using a few rendering modes like wireframe, flat, smooth etc. and again a set of useful tools like triangulating the model, inverting and unifying the normals, merging points and faces is present. Before merging points you can set the distance between the points while preventing the merging of points that have UV breaks, vertex color breaks or normal breaks. A handy feature is the set of predefined isometric points of view. After setting the point of view the scene can be saved as a single image with selected background color and size or as animation frames.

The image viewer also offers a large set of tools that were mentioned while describing the batch processor. Functions like changing modes and colors, flipping, rotating, applying different filters, red eye removal, cropping, resizing are implemented. 3DBrowser can also perform a few lossless JPEG operations like cropping and rotating the image.

Conclusion

All in all 3DBrowser for 3D Users is a great multimedia browser loaded with a lot of useful functions and possibilities some of which came as a surprise like the screen capturing for example. Its wide range of supported media files makes it a wishful product but the most remarkable is its ability to browse, preview, convert and tweak 3D models of most of the popular formats.

The PC used for testing was an Intel Core2 Duo based one with 2GB of RAM and as a con can be mentioned that the product was a bit laggish and slow sometimes.

Additionally I would like to see support for DAZ 3D Hexagon (*.hex) files in future versions.

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Reviewer: Phobic

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