Anyone who has been around 3D long enough knows never to write off a software package. Often you will hear words of wisdom like, “every program has its benefits”. This is all very true, and many of us will nod our agreement at the familiar sentiment, but one program that I’ve noticed that has received a considerable amount of flack is Bryce. Some of the criticisms levelled at it are fair enough, such as the current lack of OSX Lion and 64-bit support, but there is also a lot of misconception. Like with other predominantly hobbyist programs (though this program has not always been considered as such) such as Poser, Bryce is claimed by many to be afflicted with a self-titled “look” to the work it produces. The dreaded “Bryce look” is an often quoted grounds for disdain.
But underneath the quirky user interface (which is another element on which users are split), and the pit-falls of outdated material libraries that many-a short-time user has succumbed to in liberal quantities, is a program that is more than capable of producing beautiful works of art to rival any other program. In recent times Bryce has shown a strong but small following among surreal and abstract artists, with some truly outstanding work in the area, but a knowledgeable and patient user is also able to produce photorealism and other effects that many would believe was beyond this once revered program.
While Bryce does seem to be edging ever nearer the vast software graveyard - where mad scientists, necromancers, and archaeologists will be the only ones to seek it out - it could well be too early to declare a time of death. We’ve been here multiple times now before, but here it is, still rendering away on thousands of machines. While Bryce might not be up to the current industry standard, it is a great introduction for the 3D new comer. It is still an attractive piece of software, especially for the terrain enthusiast. It is cheap (and occasionally free), user friendly, easy to learn, and has a friendly community endowed with a huge documented knowledge base, much of it free. Beyond that, Bryce has a virtually limitless application for a patient 3D artist free of the constraints of the fast-paced industry… unless they want to render realistic human flesh or other materials that involve subsurface scattering techniques, but even there, there is progress being made by inquiring minds.
…so I was perusing the Bryce groups here on dA looking for those gems that denote a Bryce master, and thinking it was so silly that DAZ 3D seem all but intent on letting their misunderstood but elegant acquisition die on the vine, when it struck me that this was something I wanted to write about. Now I’m a reformed blogger and never intended to start a serious blog again, but for whatever reason that innate but undernourished journalist brain was jumping up and down. I began contacting people who were doing interesting things with Bryce and what started out as a small article on the program, of which I’m not even a user, snowballed into a series of interviews and artist features.
With three of four features posted on my blog, DigiSprawl I invite you all to come by and read the thoughts of four influential artists and enjoy their work.
03: Michael Frank [link]
02: David Brinnen [link]
01: Santosky [link]
See you there,
PS. In the spirit of the moment we have a new poll up. Are you a Bryce user and would you be interested in a group challenge? [link]
Maybe you’re just rusty and been looking for an excuse to fire up the program? Anyway, there won't be any prizes as such, but the winning entry would receive a prominent front page feature with an optional interview discussing how the winning artist approaches their work.