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3DPlus2 Review by DonEc

By way of reviewing the free program 3DPlus2 I will discuss the process of creating the DonEc Web heading.

Image made in this review

I found 3DPlus2 a very easy program to work with. I used it to create the 3 dimensional text for the DonEc Web heading and it came out so well I decided to change all my page headings for that site. I have used Xara3D in the past but I believe 3DPlus2 is easier to use and produces better quality. Then you add in the fact that 3DPlus2 is free and you know 3DPlus2 is a real winner. However, the back ground and shadow were added using the free program GIMP. I will discuss the background and shadow in the tips section of GIMP Tips.

The first thing required is to setup the scene by right clicking on the default "box/scene" and selecting "Scene Setup". This opens a window allowing you to set the size of the scene you will be working in. (Note: This does not mean the size of the view you see as you can control that separately.) I selected a size of 299 x 71 pixels. I used this size because it is the size of the background image I had made with GIMP to fit in the appropriate area to match my web pages at full resolution.

Creating the text is a very straight forward process of selecting the text tool from the tool bar on the left that looks like a "T". Select the font you want to use and the justification. I used center justification with Georgia font, with both bold and italic attributes. After typing the title I clicked OK which took me back to the scene window. The title was visible but not the right size or color or texture. This is one of the features I like the most. You do not need to be concerned about the font size as you just use the "Stretch Tool" from the tool bar and make the text the size you want in the scene. (Note: They use the term "scene" because this program is designed to create animations also, which I will cover at another time.) I found that I needed to resize the text several times in the process of getting the image to look the way I wanted. This was very easy since you just click and drag the "X" and "Y" axis symbols shown on the page when you select the "Stretch Tool" and the image you want to stretch.

Once I had the text about the right size I needed to add some texture. I wanted to use Amboyna burl wood. I had an image of this and just needed to add it to the materials list. To add the texture I selected "Materials" from the studio/tool tabs on the right of the page then clicked on the "Add Texture" button. Then browsing to the proper location I selected the file I desired. Once the texture is showing on the text I used the "Move Texture", "Scale Texture" and the "Rotate Texture" buttons to adjust the texture of the Amboyna burl to provide a look I liked. Again a simple process of using your mouse to click and drag the texture around the text image and watching the results till you see what you like.

The next step was to add the bevel to the text. To accomplish this I selected "Bevels" from the studio/tool tabs on the right side of the screen. This show 8 available bevels of which I selected second the rounded edge. I adjusted the "Extrusion", "Weight", "Border" and "Depth" until I got what I wanted which was "Extrusion" = 400, "Weight" = 70, "Border" = 0 and "Depth" = 400. This gave me the text I wanted but it was not aligned the way I wanted. So I used the "Rotate Tool" to rotate the text to show a view from the top left. This is also done by dragging the "X" and "Y" axis symbols shown on the page when the "Rotate Tool" is selected. This was good but the sides of the letters were black instead of Amboyna burl. At first I thought that was the best the program could do. However after reading the tutorial manual that was installed with 3DPlus2 I saw that you could change the look of the sides with the use of special lights.

Going back to my project. I played with placing and rotating the lights some and ended up selecting 2 "Distant Lights" placing them to provide the illumination needed to show the texture on all visible sides. I adjusted the "Intensity" of each one to provide the amount of light I desired for each face. All that was left was to use the "Rotate" and "Stretch" tools to tweak the image to appear as desired and export it to a JPG format to use in GIMP for shadow and background. I could have used 3DPlus2 to insert the background, but I knew from experience it is easier to select just the text when using a solid background that is in high contrast to the image instead of a textured background. I tried to save the image in the GIF and PNG format but the PNG formating for 3DPlus2 selections doesn't allow transparencies and the quality of the GIF transparency was not as good as I could achieve using the JPG with GIMP to removing the background.

About the Author:

DonEc is the designer, creator and owner of Best Web Stop ( He has been working with computers since 1974 and been creating websites with WYSIWYG non-HTML web programs since 1992. He is retired and provides No Cost WebSite instruction via Best Web Stop as a service to people that want to have a totally free, no cost presence on the web or just want to avoid learning HTML. In some cases he has been known to build sites for a small fee if asked. However he requires the owner of the site to learn how to create a site so they can maintain the site themselves.

Copy and/or reproduction of this article is allowed as long as it is not altered in any way and the section "About the author" is kept with the article including these instructions. Article Copyright © 2005 by DonEc
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