released to the public a little more than a year and a half
ago, Cheetah 3D Beta
1 was the personal quest of one man: Martin Wengenmayer. On
his website he wrote of the release, "Over the last two
years I've invested almost all of my spare time to this project
and I hope that you all like it. " Now at version 2.1
Cheetah3D is starting to really gain a wholesome feature set
-- and at the price of just $69.US -- it is by far the least
expensive modeling/rendering program on the market with surface
modeling and radiosity rendering.
Matter of Mathematics
should be proud of his quest. After all, he isn't a trained
software programmer nor is he a 3D modeling and rendering
expert. Martin is a mathematician. Currently pursuing his
Ph.D. in probability theory he learned 3D graphics and programming
from books and online papers. Asked how he got started programming
he replied, "I learned programming with the Apple [developer]
tools and it was quite easy."
had the idea to start Cheetah 3D back in 2001. Mac OS X was
still very young back then and he felt there wasn't an affordable
3D modeler for Mac OS X available. So he decided to create
one for both himself and the market.
one point in the development of Cheetah 3D, Martin actually
took out the raytracer rendering engine in order to focus
on the modeling and other aspects of the application. However,
he eventually put those features back in and continued to
enhance them. Today Cheetah 3D has a raytracer with radiosity
and support for HDRI (.hdr file format) backgrounds.
Search for the Perfect OS Ends
asked Martin -- who also has developed two game programs for
Mac OS X -- why he chose the Mac OS X platform to build his
new 3D modeling program on and he replied, "because it
is the best OS out there. I've tried almost every OS from
Amiga OS over to Windows, Mac OS Classic, Linux and BeOS.
But the search for the perfect OS ended with Mac OS X."
written two shareware games. Cowy and Minesweeper and TheCowCatching
game....which was even the first OpenGL-based
shareware game available on OS X." In Martin's opinion
and experience, Mac OS X offers him the perfect UI (user interface)
combined with the power of UNIX. Concerning his development
tools of choice he says Apple's "Xcode and Interface
Builder are really great".
want to write an affordable yet powerful too," Martin
remarks, "I don't want to overload it with features which
most people don't need." It's also very important to
Martin that the user interface is easy and conforms to Apple's
Mac OS X interface standards. "There are already too
many 3D apps out there with quite strange UI's."
3D and the Future
says Cheetah 3D has a future with some innovative features,
reflective of the innovation on the
Mac OS X platform. The latest 2.1 release of Cheetah 3D
scripting and customization environment. The scripting API
and documentation are coming up in the next point release.
Moreover, future versions of Cheetah 3D will have animation
3D is just one of the many exciting examples of new CAD/3D
and AEC applications available in the OS X technical visualization
market. If one man can rapidly learn programming, work on
a Ph.D. in probability theory, and create and maintain a new
innovative 3D app all at the same time...then just think
of what a team of professional software programmers could
do on OS X. Kinda of amazing when you think about it.
Wengenmayer's neat and affordable 3D app sells for just $69.US
with site licenses for $699.US. To learn more and see some
gallery shots of work created in Cheetah 3D visit his Cheetah
3D site here: www.cheetah3d.de/