Braid Arts Labs GroBoto 2.1

Braid Arts Labs GroBoto 2.1

3D artists stuck in mundane modeling methods will love GroBoto's fresh approach - you'll even find it inspirational and enjoyable.


While the vast majority of 3D software tends to be complex, intimidating and expensive, GroBoto is a one-of-a-kind offering, a completely original tool for instantly whipping up outrageous and intricate creations that would require serious effort with any other 3D package. It’s inexpensive, fun, and downright addictive.


GroBoto is designed to quickly deliver organic 3D shapes with minimal modeling fuss. In fact, the standard 3D modeling tools, such as lathes, extrusions, and spline modeling, are simply not here. Instead, you start by choosing from among the many Bots, preset 3D objects that are in turn made from a collection of 3D primitives that are strung together with some underlying 3D logic. Once you place a Bot into the main scene window, there’s an extensive set of tools and options for customizing the shapes and textures that make up the total Bot. The idea is that each of the myriad included Bots (there are more than 110 different Bot types) has specific attributes that define how they look, and all of them can be tweaked in real time with the many sliders and pop-up controls found in the Bot Options panel. While GroBoto lacks the ability to import your own basic 3D shapes to be incorporated into Bots, there are enough building blocks to keep anyone busy for years.


Once you have a suitably cool Bot, you can apply the textures built into GroBoto to the entire Bot or to specific 3D primitives that are part of the Bot chain. On top of that, custom color gradients can also be overlaid on the textures, making for some truly stunning results. You also get a bunch of bump-map textures and full control over the light-reflecting characteristics of textures, including a slick self-illumination option for creating glowing surfaces instantly. All of this control is delivered in an exceptionally clean and functional interface that takes very little time to completely master.


Adding lights to a scene is fairly straightforward, and while we would’ve liked to see more light types than the two options offered (distant and local), they do just fine for setting up some fairly sophisticated luminosity effects. The addition of a spotlight would round out things nicely, but the fact that shadows are rendered quickly somewhat makes up for the spotlight omission. Speaking of rendering, GroBoto is an absolute speed demon in this department, with some of the fastest rendering we’ve ever seen in any 3D application.


GroBoto does not pretend to be a full-featured 3D modeling, rendering, and animation application. It’s more of an interactive art and graphic experimentation tool designed to provide near-instant gratification, and to create wild 3D shapes and movies that would involve considerable effort in any standard 3D app. To that end, it’s absolutely successful and provides an endless range of truly unique visuals. It gets even cooler, in that you can create animations that morph between the edited versions of a single Bot, or even create totally wild morphs between completely different Bot types. The interface approach for doing this is a little awkward, but once mastered, the results are nothing short of delightfully stunning.


The bottom line. GroBoto gets the creative juices flowing without a huge investment.


COMPANY: Braid Arts Labs


PRICE: $79

REQUIREMENTS: 1GHz G4 or faster or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.4 or later, 512MB RAM

Unique 3D creation tools. Wicked-fast rendering speed. High instant-gratification factor. Amazing value proposition. Did we mention it’s fun? Universal binary.

Animation interface needs a little work. No option for importing custom 3D objects to add to Bots. No spotlights in light effects.





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"GroBoto gets the creative juices flowing without a huge investment."

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