updated 01:40 pm EDT, Thu October 8, 2009
Also makes under-the-hood improvements
The independently-developed Cheetah3D modeling and animation suite has been updated to v5.0, bringing a series of major changes. Among these is a new node-based material system, which allows for drag-and-drop creation of material effects using various procedural textures and shaders. The raytracing engine has been improved to support 16 cores, and a new collection of preset materials has been added.
Added to the interface are pivot points, new bevel and bend modifier tools, and a new tag selector said to accelerate workflow. Options have been expanded to include automatic texture reload, and export to static Collada files. The suite is $149 new, or $69 as an upgrade from any previous version of Cheetah. Mac OS X 10.4 is required, along with 1GB of RAM and an Internet connection.