today announced the launch of three new 3D modeling tools compatible with the Macintosh — Argon, Xenon and Cobalt. The three products comprise the centerpiece of Ashlar-Vellum’s new Designer Elements series of CAD and 3D modeling products.
Developed for entry-level pro 3D modelers or users who need a companion modeling tool for other 3D packages, Argon carries a $995 price tag. The software features automatic generation of 2D drawings, enhanced rendering and animation for expert presentations and precision rendering of any freeform surface or solid. Argon also features organic NURBS surface modeling, surface analysis, true solid modeling and what Ashlar-Vellum bills as “advanced photorealistic rendering.” Argon also implements Vellum 2D/3D freeform wireframe integration. Vellum Drafting Assistant is also on-hand to provide intelligent snaps and alignments in all three axes.
Argon supports various 3D Web and animation formats, including VRML, Macromedia Shockwave 3D and Viewpoint. Ashlar-Vellum noted that the software can be used as a front-end companion to other tools like Macromedia Director, Alias|Wavefront’s Maya and NewTek’s Lightwave 3D.
Xenon is an industrial design tool that provides historical, associative drafting features. The software features Lightworks rendering, sheet views, part history and modeling tools. Unlike Argon, Xenon sports history-based associativity — update a curve and the software will automatically update any surface or solid based on the curve. This means that Xenon users can rework entire projects in a fraction of the time they’d need otherwise, according to Ashlar-Vellum. Xenon is also equipped with Class-A NURBS surface modeling, ACIS solid modeling and a Design Explorer feature-based history tree. Xenon users can animate by creating a flyby, walkthrough, QuickTime Object VR or QuickTime Panoramic VR as well. Xenon is priced at $2,795.
Cobalt adds advanced engineering functions to the same capabilities found in Xenon. Ashlar-Vellum calls the new Cobalt the closest product it its Vellum Solids tool. Developed for industrial designers and product engineers, Cobalt has new features and functionality not found in Vellum Solids, like equation-driven parametrics and a full-fledged 2D/3D constraint system. Section cuts, GD&T symbology, and Bill of Materials functionality is also included. Cobalt’s retail price is $3,995.
System requirements for the applications call for a Power Mac G4 equipped with Mac OS 9.1; OpenGL-accelerated video card with 32MB video RAM; 512MB RAM; 250MB free hard drive space; and CD-ROM drive.
Although the new Designer Elements products do not run in Mac OS X natively, Ashlar-Vellum told MacCentral that Argon, Xenon and Cobalt “perform extremely well” in Mac OS X’s Classic environment. “We are currently working on building OS-X native versions of all of our products, however these builds will not be available until sometime early next year,” said the company.
Cobalt, Xenon and Argon are all shipping now. The new products are available for purchase directly from Ashlar-Vellum’s Web site, as well as from any authorized reseller. Upgrade paths are available for users of previous Ashlar-Vellum products including Vellum Draft, Vellum 3D, and Vellum Solids.