Announcing form.Z RenderZone Plus (v. 6.5)

AutoDesSys, Inc., is pleased to announce the release of form.Z RenderZone Plus (v. 6.5) for User Beta testing. RenderZone Plus is a new product that represents a major evolutionary step toward global illumination, which is now supported by different techniques, including final gather, ambient occlusion, and improved radiosity. These can be used separately or they can be combined to complement one another.

form.Z RenderZone Plus now becomes the all inclusive and the highest level of built-in rendering form.Z offers. RadioZity will be retired as a separate product, but its features are incorporated in the new rendering software. The new product will be offered at the RenderZone price. All prior RadioZity users will have the option to acquire RenderZone Plus as soon as the User Beta testing of v.6.5 is complete. It should also be noted that v. 6.5, while primarily a rendering development, includes additional improvements and enhancements, as summarized below.

Global Illumination (GI)

GI in form.Z offers two new techniques final gather (FG) and ambient occlusion (AO), and also incorporates a revised version of the previously existing radiosity. All three techniques are now offered through simple interfaces that allow the user to produce better images with significantly less set up effort and in less time than in previous versions.

o Ambient occlusion is a technique that is based on the assumption that all scenes have omni-directional ambient light of uniform intensity. For a given pixel, it finds if there is any object close by that occludes the surface of the pixel and, consequently, keeps some of the ambient light from reaching it. Ambient occlusion effects are easy to control and significantly enhance the realism of a rendered image.

o Final gather calculates a one bounce indirect illumination that occurs at rendering time. Once calculated, the illumination is maintained, unless changes are made to the scene. It computes secondary illumination just like radiosity, but without its complexity. It handles atmospheric and environment lights very efficiently and can make good use of even a quick radiosity solution.

o Radiosity's current primary role is support for final gather. Whenever desirable, it can be added to FG directly from the RenderZone Options dialog. It can also be used as a pure radiosity analysis based rendering method, as in previous versions, but with a much simpler interface.

More rendering enhancements

o Exposure correction, a post rendering process of RenderZone that has been available in previous versions, has been enhanced with two new methods, which automatically adjust under and overexposed images.

o New shaders have been introduced. Most of them are intended to support architectural renderings and they include shingles, brick pavers, road and sidewalk paving, and frosted glass. Also, a new gradient shader can generate a variety of color gradients in a surface.

Interactive Shaded (OpenGL)

This OpenGL based renderer has been reengineered to improve performance and attain new features. This improves its use as a working environment and also makes it a more accurate method for previewing RenderZone renderings and texture placements. Specific improvements are as follows:

o Shadows from point and cone lights are now supported and shadows can now be shown with accurate intensities.

o Procedural textures generated by RenderZone are now also rendered.

o Transparent and bump textures, both map based and procedural, are now rendered.

STEP translator

The STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Data) translator, previously available only as a separately purchased plugin, is now included with all 6.5 versions. This translator allows for importing and exporting of 3D data to the STEP file format within form.Z.

Sketch rendering

This rendering feature, previously available only as a separately purchased plugin, is now included with all 6.5 versions. The Sketch rendering mode creates images that have a variety of expressionistic effects that make the image appear as if it were done by hand sketching or painting techniques.


Adjustments have been made to the Deformation and Bend Along Path tools to optionally not introduce new points into the deformed or bent objects. This allows for a well-meshed and textured object to be deformed and animated without disturbing the texturing of the object.

Application structure

The application structure has been simplified by reducing the need for a separate MP (multi-processor) installation. form.Z RenderZone Plus automatically detects the number of processors and uses the optimal settings for the hardware. A new preference item has been added to allow the user full control of the number of processors used.

The application folder has a simplified structure. Most files have been moved into the "formZ Support" directory. It is easier to navigate in the Application folder (access scripts etc.). Most plugins install as part of the default installation, eliminating separate installers for most of them.

User Beta testing

All form.Z 6.0 and 6.1 users are eligible to beta test form.Z 6.5. If you are interested, you can start the process by visiting Once you start beta testing you can also participate in the special Beta Testing section on the form.Z forum, where you can report your findings and participate in discussions with other beta testers.

AutoDesSys is dedicated to providing the most advanced tools to all those engaged in the articulation of 3D forms on the personal computer. Its goal is to research and provide the latest technology in the 3D industry. It develops products that support 2D, 3D, photorealistic rendering and object animation.

form.Z is a cross platform design oriented 3D software application that combines surface and solid modeling, polygonal and smooth (resolution independent) modeling, NURBS and parametrics. form.Z includes 2D drafting, information management, raytrace and radiosity rendering, animation, 3D printing with color and textures, an open architecture with an API and script language that offer further means for customization.

Developed by AutoDesSys, Inc. - 2011 Riverside Drive, Columbus, OH 43221, USA - 614-488-8838 -

More from Machinery & Machining Tools

All Topics