Ulead Cool 3D is an exceptional package when you consider what it does compared to how much you might expect to pay for such a package. I bought my copy in The Works of which there are quite a few branches spread all over the UK, it cost me £3.99 and was an excellent investment.
The program is very easy to install, just insert the CD and follow the simple instructions, and in a few minutes you'll be up and running. The program opens up with a large panel where you create your 3D masterpiece. This is mainly done by using the objects, textures, and various other neat little tricks which are housed in a folder under the left of the main screen. To the right of this you will see a graphic of the objects in the current part of the folder you are in.
The folder is split into main categories
Here you can select some pre rendered scenes and objects to use in your project. There is a good amount of stuff here to help you understand how the program operates and creates the end product of a 3D scene with moving graphics moving how YOU intended them to. In this folder there are compositions to copy or edit, shapes of which you can also edit, grouped objects to give you an understanding of how to group objects.
2. Object Style
This section of the folders is where you add you colour and textures and as per standard everything is drag and drop. Once you have dragged and dropped you can preview your creation and undo if required. Other options here include light and colour.
The last three sections of the folder are used for various effects on an object, and to add transitions and bevels to objects.
At the top of the screen above the main viewing area there are control buttons where you can edit how things appear and move from and to. This once again is all done through drag and drop and you can preview and undo at any time. Using some of the easily understandable icons you can place objects nearer or further away from the current camera position which can also be moved quite easily.
Once you have completed your 3D project you can save it or render it. Rendering simply means create a video file of your project where all your little creations come to life. You can have a flying text banner in £D with your name circling from front to back and changing as it moves to say you hubby's name. Sounds pretty naff but in actual fact when you do it it looks pretty cool, I guess that's why they call it Cool 3D.
There is a tremendous amount you can do with this program like creating your own MGM type logo to use at the beginning of all your home videos and DVD's. I edited one of the samples supplied and came up with what I consider to be a very professional looking logo where three balls spin around and when the meet they change in D O N again quite simple but effective. It is also very simple to add sound to your project to greatly improve the overall effect.
If you are into this kind of thing this program is a godsend and will keep you amused for hours as it has me. It is great value for money even if you only use it for mucking around and just seeing what it can do. All in all an excellent piece of gear.
At first I was skeptical of this program because it was just so cheap! My requirement of this program was that it produced slick 3D text suitable for broadcast, and that the render times were fast.
This program handled all fonts that were installed on the system bar some of the symbol fonts. Even free to download fonts worked fine.
The text tools in Cool 3D are limited. I found the text editor box to be quite primitive and often hard to type into. Leading and kearning options are available along with a bold and italic styling.
Once text is in place it is fairly easy to manipulate in 3D space. The ease of use is deinately a plus for this product. There are also pre built animations if you are not feeling very creative, though they are a little cheesey.
The rendering times were not so bad. We trialed this on many computers and it did not seem to matter the spec of the machine (pentium 3/4). Sometimes errors in the renders were returned but this was limited.
The final result was very good considering the price. It was suitable for broadcast if rendered at the highest quality. Very complex animations resulted in some frayed edges but nothing beyond fixing.
I found this program easy to use and value for money.
Ulead Cool 3D is an amazing little program that allows you to enter text and then apply all sorts of different effects to the text. You can change the colours, fonts, etc as you would expect, but you can also animate the text in varying ways. There are a lot of standard animations that you can apply to your text (ie. Explosion, Fire, etc), and you can also generate your own animations. Everything that you create with Cool 3D can be exported in various formats, I tend to export in an animated GIF format, these can then be uploaded to my website. Overall this is an excellent small program that is well worth the money.