Open Source Graphics Software Overview

I did quite a bit of research into 3d and support software in 2006. Here's a quick overview, as much for my own memory as for anyone else. As I am not a professional modeler (yet) I cannot give good info.

Purpose: 3d modeling, texturing, and animation
Blender seems to be a perfectly usable 3D modeling application. It has menus that can be changed to suit the current context. It's layout and work flow are quite different from current commercial applications. pic here
Purpose: 3d modeling and texturing
Wings3D is still in the alpha phase. It is a subdivision surface modeler that only supports modeling and texturing for now. It's imitating Mirai and Nendo, two modeling programs that are popular where I work. pic here
Purpose: Army solid geometry modeling and rendering
BRL-CAD is a modeling and rendering software package from decades ago that is still often used by the US military for physics modeling. Models are not made of triangles or NURBS, but rather of solid geometric shapes such as spheres, cylinders, and cubes. Visualization is line vector while modeling and raytracing for the final result. The user interface needs a serious update to be usable by today's standards and there is no easy way to convert from polygon modelers to solid geometries, so the software may not be too useful in most applications. Then again, as the software is now open source, I include it here for those that are curious. pic here
Purpose: Renderman compliant scene renderer
Aqsis is a well regarded (rave reviews at SIGGRAPH 2006) RenderMan compliant scene renderer. As I'm not sure where you leave a modeler's renderer and move to software like this, I can't say much. pic here
Purpose: physically correct global illumination renderer
A recent product aiming to support global illumination raytraced rendering. This one is also currently an alpha stage product. pic here
Purpose: Image manipulation, raster graphics
Open source's Photoshop, GIMP is an image manipulation and editing tool. While it does not quite have all the advanced tools and filters of professional software, it has all the average photo buff would ever need. This includes nearly every tool I've ever used in Photoshop. pic here
Purpose: Image manipulation/creation, vector graphics
Another open source project aiming at part of Adobe's core market. Inkscape is a vector graphics package used to create artwork with no maximum zoom point or pixelation. This can be very useful when creating artwork for print. pic here
Purpose: non-linear video editing and effects
I only just discovered this software. I haven't used it, so I can't say much on the subject. pic here
Purpose: video pre/post-editing
The only software here that is windows only, VirtualDub is a piece of software intended for cleanup processing of video either before or after editing. It's built in filters are now augmented by dozens of plug-ins for everything from chroma noise reduction to motion compensated deinterlacing. pic here

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