ProCreator – Review

Cost: $149.00
Company: Strata

I LOVE THIS GIG! I gotta tell you guys that doing this and getting responses is just really great! Thanks for making it just a blast!

This month I’m gonna be reviewing ProCreator (VERRRRY COOL!) for Strata StudioPro from Strata (no duh, Bill!)

Of course, for you impatient, greedy “What do I get for my money?” dudes and dudetts, we’ll start with the facts:

(1) ProCreator CD in a flimsy paper (I like plastic gem cases) case. Tutorial and Manual are PDF on CD. (These are cost-saving, I know, but still a pain to use when you’re working in the program, and personally, I HATE PDFs!)

Once again, this is really cool stuff, but I have to admit that I’m a little befuddled with one or two of the plug-in choices, and I would really like to hear some reader response on it.

The plug-ins work great and I had no problems running them on my machine. The tutorial was clear and easy to understand and didn’t take long to go through. But, OH BABY! This is some great stuff! Here’s what lies in wait inside this lovely little disk:

“Concrete, Bill? What’s so special about concrete?” Glad you asked! If you’ve ever done 3D modelling before, you know that one of the pains is texture mapping (what you put on a model to make it look like wood, stone, or whatever—kinda like a virtual decal, but not quite) and making sure it looks “real,” that is, with no deformities that would give it away as not “real.” What this baby does is to take all the guesswork out of it by giving you seamless variable textures so you could, say, build a pool, a block, and a building and use the “concrete” plug-in to shade all 3. You could then have different textures and tints without all the hassle of doing standard texture map calculations.

Procedural Plank
Ever try and make a wood plank floor? This baby really helps when it comes to making them look nice and easy! It works the same as concrete, but with planks! No more trying to figure if it’s going to look good or worrying that the texture map will collapse because the area is too big! AND (BIG BONUS!!)—If the client comes back and says “(insert snivel here), but I wanted nails in the boards…” Instead of being brought up on murder charges, you can just hit the “Nail Heads” and “Recess Nail” Button and “Bingo!” your boards all have recessed nails in them! Other features include the ability to adjust the length, width, grain, knottiness, and joints of the planks! It don’t get much better than this (well, 100 Million and an island in the Carribean would be a *little* better)!

Procedural Tile
(I see a pattern developing….) Same as above, but with tile. You can create everything from ceramic tiles to beat up brick walls! Control everything from the surface texture to the width of the grout in between! No more hanging out at truck stop men’s rooms with a digital camera to shoot pictures of the floor while “Bruno” and “Cletus” decide whether or not you’re some sort of pervert who should have his clock cleaned!

Color Spectrum
This one is a neat feature, but for the life of me, aside from making variations of the planet Jupiter, mood rings, and the colored glass on the inside of marbles, I don’t know what else could be done. It allows you to create 3D color textures with absolutely stunning results. Very cool visually, but I would have much preferred seeing an animation cel shader over this one. If any of you have already puchased this CD and used this shader, I’d like to hear what you did with it.

Shadow Catcher
This defines cool! Say you get a client who comes in with a picture and wants it to be 3D and have some sort of 3D object inserted into the scene, but wants it yesterday and doesn’t want to spend the necessary funds to make it happen (typical). What do you do? Grab your scanner, StudioPro, and Shadow Catcher! What it does is create shadows cast off of 3D objects onto 2d backgrounds to make them look like they are both in the same scene. And this is not just for still shots, oh no, they’ve gone out and made it work with animation as well! This is so COOL! Just check out the PICT of the new 3D My Mac dude walking down the streets of Chicago!
Got that itch to play God on a shoestring budget? Need to make a planet on a quick turnaround and don’t have time to mess with making a texture map work right? Me too, and Strata has heard the psychic cries of anguish from 3D dudes all over the globe, causing them to create Planetary! Create worlds of all sorts from earth-type to ice worlds to the Classic Star Trek red planets—all within minutes! With this little gem, you can control the amount of land, ice, and sea as well as how high you want your mountains! Terraforming was never this easy and stress-free! (Colonists and aliens not included, check the legal departments in your sector for any other restrictions.)

This is one of those “see-it-to-believe-it” plug-ins! It is just beautiful to behold as this thing can take any texture and give it a silky sheen that makes it look like a bunch of poor little silkworm larvae are just freezing their butts off after making your latest creation! Totally realistic, and with total control from graininess to sheen, this baby does it all!

Spline Reflection
You ever notice how some shiny objects when light hits them just right they seem to glow or get rainbow-like colors? Ever wonder how you might be able to accomplish that without popping about 30 blood vessles and 2 major arteries? Well, put that reservation to Club Rubber Room away and worry no more! Strata has outdone themselves with a beautiful shader that allows you to do just that without all the blood, sweat (bloody sweat?), and tears! This particular shader relies on the “Y” (UP) vector for orientation and you can control the color and color weight of the object. I would highly recommend (just do it!) heading over to Strata’s website <> and downloading the sample animation of this shader in action. It is just beautiful!

Well, true believers, in my opinion, for the price you just can’t charge for just one of the above listed features. In other words, Strata’s ProCreator for Strata StudioPro is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Until next time, ciao!


Leave a Reply