View Full Version : Electric Image 7.0 :: Software Review

04 April 2008, 01:17 AM
Hi there,

Brian J. Pohl gives the new version of Electric Image Animation System a thorough review and test drive. Check it out here by clicking the image. Feel free to comment. (

04 April 2008, 02:31 AM
The article hasn't been updated yet, but credit for the great Rodeo implementation was done by RAMJAC software. Their website can be visited here:

04 April 2008, 05:29 AM
this review helps re-affirm what I have felt about this version of EI and points at what I also feel is an extremely bright future for the program's', including Tesla! Hopefully enough other people will see camera for what you, myself and many many other users have already known. A world class renderer on the same 'playing field, as mental ray and other better known renderers. Given Ei's current price point and v7s capabilities I feel its easily the best bang for the buck out there. Knowing that you also use Maya, as I do. I feel your review comes from a great angle on whats out there for us 3d users given your hands on experience with other products.

Very enlightening review.

Thanks for writing it......

04 April 2008, 05:42 AM
Thanks Scott.

I think a lot of heads will turn when Tesla hits the ground. Its just not going to be a simple UB rebuild of EIM, there's considerably more planned for it and it should usher in a reasonable shift in the perception of EI within the animation and modeling communities. Kishore's work over at Sony has given him quite a unique perspective of what's really required for that kind of application. As soon as the alpha testing is done, I'm promise to continue to bug Brad until he lets me release some screen shots of it in action.

04 April 2008, 06:37 PM
If anyone has any specific questions about the article I'd be happy to answer them.

04 April 2008, 01:17 AM


I am a little underwhelmed by all this. I am all for competition and it is good that Electric Image keeps on developing. But...the app just doesn't look tasty enough. The renderer is interesting but how useful is it on its own? I am currently using xsi and like many others am drooling over the upcoming moondust/ice. Saying that the renderer is as good as mr or vray doesn't particularly itch my interest. I'll just stick with those then :P

Well, all I can say is that for the moment I'll keep an eye on any news from EI. Maybe Tesla will be great, maybe not. I'm happy EI is still alive and kicking.

04 April 2008, 05:57 AM
I can understand your hesitation, however, I could only focus the article on v7's primary implementations due to a lack of space in the article. I'd rather talk about EIAS' new technologies than expound on existing ones. A more comprehensive review could be helpful. (and potentially change the minds of the skeptical).

There is a huge array of existing tools and 3rd party plugins that makes EIAS a perfect vehicle for several markets. Those markets would be:

Broadcast Design & Commercial Production
Architectural & Digital Sets
Still photorealism, print & Digital Mattes
Hard surface animation & visual fx for film

Its weaknesses tend to lie in:
Character Animation
Soft body dynamics
Game Construction
and to a lesser degree - Particle Systems

The point of my article was to show that EIAS was still alive and is taking new steps to enhance its offerings. I find it amazing that so many people are unaware of its presence. But given its limited marketing approach, I'm not surprised. At its current competitive upgrade price, it makes an affordable addition to any toolset.

I also believe that Tesla will change the playing field even more. The original EIM modeler was ahead of its time, despite being poorly executed by Play. Tesla will bring some powerful tools to bear which should help EITG and EIAS on a large number of issues.

Lone Deranger
04 April 2008, 12:03 PM
Good to see Electric Image still going. It sure seems like it's got a huge mountain to climb though.

If Camera ever obtains the ability to render RIB files in combination with making Camera multi-threaded, Brad Parscale could easily turn the rendering community on its ear.

So the current render engine only ever runs on a single thread? If so.... ouch! :eek:

04 April 2008, 03:36 PM
Why doesn't EIAS just license out the Render Engine so other products like Cinema 4D can use it? EIAS's interface hasn't change in 20 years! You have a lot of nice features but...

EI is one of those programs that if you can figure it out you can make it do amazing things. I have used EI and have loved the quality and speed of the Render. I just think they can take on Maxwell Render or Vray a lot easier.

04 April 2008, 03:57 PM
Good to see Electric Image still going. It sure seems like it's got a huge mountain to climb though.

So the current render engine only ever runs on a single thread? If so.... ouch! :eek:

Yes, it is a huge mountain to climb, but not an impossible one. The goal is the same for all the "mid-range" 3D applications. To carve out a niche that allows it to survive. I think all will agree that the more diverse the 3D animation software community is the more we all benefit. Even though I use Maya as my core application for my business, I still use EIAS to take care of various projects where its just faster and easier to do than Maya.

As for the render engine....yes, it is a single thread application, but that does not mean EIAS can't take advantage of multiple cores. EIAS uses a striping technique to break apart large projects and then distributes those stripes through its distributed renderer application Renderama to Camera. If your machine has 8 cores, EIAS will use all 8 cores and then stitch the final series of images together. This technique is most beneficial for animation purposes, but it can also be used to stripe out a ultra high resolution still frame if necessary. The end result is large increase in speed, but the resulting limitation is EIAS can not bring all processors to bear on a single image within the application at the same time. You must use the outside distributed process. Thus the technique isn't as "graceful" if your rendering out previews inside the application. However, Camera's speed, even under a single thread, is quite impressive. I've seen it do things on one thread that other renderers need 2 threads to keep up.

04 April 2008, 04:04 PM
Why doesn't EIAS just license out the Render Engine so other products like Cinema 4D can use it? EIAS's interface hasn't change in 20 years! You have a lot of nice features but...

This has been a request from users for EITG for years. I cannot give you a direct answer to that question other than to speculate. I've always supported the idea of licensing out Camera, but I suppose there could be some possibility that by doing so, EI would be giving away the last "feature" that keeps them unique. Its kind of the same reason why Apple resisted the licensing out of its ROMs for Mac OS. Its a tough call.

What I can say is EITG does recognize the desire for access to Camera and it is working on potential avenues on improving the "bridge" to Camera without giving away its rendering technologies.

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