No announcement yet.

Review: Strata 3D CX 5

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Review: Strata 3D CX 5

    I first got interested in Strata when I noticed their claim about tight Photoshop and Illustrator integration. The interface does have a superficial similarity to (pre-CS3) Photoshop. And Strata will export layers in PSD format. And you can edit texturemaps live in Photoshop and import Illustrator vector files. But that's about it for the similarity.

    I also noticed some astonishingly good work was possible using Strata (which is really what counts).

    And Strata is available for a few hundred dollars less than Maya or the rest of the industry leaders (you get both PC and Mac versions, but it's still not a trivial purchase at $500).


    Strata 3D 5.0 (now there's a 5.1 update) is unpolished. It crashed more than a couple of times on me. And now that I've upgraded to Vista I can't use it at all without using various compatibility tricks.

    Strata has just about every tool you'd need for static scenes (which is all I'm interested in), and a particularly good rendering engine. But some of the controls are very hard to find and counter-intuitive. Don't let the promise of Photoshop-friendlyness make you think the learning curve will be any shallower than any other 3D app (a mistake I made). In fact, in some areas it's steeper than it's more sophisticated (and expensive) brethren.

    And I don't want to seem trivial, but their support website is infuriating to use. Each section demands to open in it's own window, there's a mishmash of domain names (some I don't think are even officially run by Strata), and there's a distinct whiff of used-to-be-Mac-only in the air (all their example files are SIT compressed, for example).

    So unless price is your overriding concern I can't really recommend Strata CX 5.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

  • #2
    Re: Review: Strata 3D CX 5

    a very useful made me think twice about purchasing this software.So now the question is....if I need the best software for producing architectural renditions (maybe astonishingly good work one day....)what would you recommend and why?
    I use Photoshop all the time on a Mac Pro and I would like to use a rendering program that is closely integrated with Adobe products.


    • #3
      Re: Review: Strata 3D CX 5

      Photoshop CS3 Extended can import and render 3d models. Along with the improved Vanishing Point, I could see it being a good fit for architectural modeling. Just today Adobe announced a plugin to navigate and automatically import google's 3d model library (

      Autocad is the standard for (non-photorealistic) architectural modeling, and now there are 3d rendering tools for it. It's a bit PC-centric, though (not 100%, but still...). They also market a couple of top-end 3d apps that naturally accept autocad files. And check out their Revit Architecture app:
      Use Autodesk Revit software for architectural design, MEP, structural design, and construction. Buy a Revit subscription from the official Autodesk store or a reseller.

      As for Photoshop integration, unfortunately Strata is still tops there, for what that's worth.

      I'm playing around with Modo nowadays. It's an up-and-comer that I believe is the single best 3d app out there now for still scenes, and will they're adding enough animation for architectural walkthroughs in the version shipping this summer. Here's an architectural example using the current version:
      Foundry creates pioneering software for creative industries across Digital Design, Media and Entertainment.
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning


      • #4
        Re: Review: Strata 3D CX 5

        Here are some limited examples of the walkthrough animation in the upcoming Modo 301

        Last edited by Doug Nelson; 06-01-2007, 01:12 PM. Reason: spelling
        Learn by teaching
        Take responsibility for learning


        • #5
          Re: Review: Strata 3D CX 5

          Thanks for the speedy response Doug
          I'll check out your suggestions and test out the programs before I finally commit to purchasing....


          Related Topics


          • Doug Nelson
            [Review] Strata Design 3D[in]
            by Doug Nelson
            Some time back I reviewed Strata 3D CX, a comprehensive 3D design app. I was frankly underwhelmed with the app, but impressed with its output. Now Strata is the first company to come out with a rendering plugin for Photoshop CS3 Extended. I say the first, because more are sure to follow (Lightwave have...
            10-17-2007, 01:06 PM
          • creeduk
            Poser Pro + CS3
            by creeduk
            Several member here have at some time or other used or come across poser content. There was a very cool tutorial done not long ago using poser to replace missing/damaged parts of a photo. Well enter Poser Pro with the ability to export CS3 extended 3D layers. Looks like another app that has added 3D...
            10-21-2007, 06:29 PM
          • Benny Profane
            by Benny Profane
            What 3D programs are the most popular among the agencies that sell this sort of work? In other words, if one was to learn the craft, what programs should that person spend the time, money, and energy to learn?
            03-05-2012, 06:28 AM
          • Benny Profane
            3D geeks....
            by Benny Profane
            .....anybody use Hypershot?
            02-19-2010, 08:26 AM
          • CJ Swartz
            3D Printing -- what could YOU use it for?
            by CJ Swartz
            Want a 3D version of your artwork? Retouch a photo and create a 3D bust of the person?

            Paola Antonelli, MOMA design and architecture curator, said to Fortune Magazine "...People will be able to design their own objects, and 3-D objects will at last join the open-source movement....
            01-28-2007, 10:51 AM