Art of Illusion – A powerful open source 3D modeling application.

Written in the Java Programming Langauge, Art of Illusion is a cross platform, open source 3D rendering and modeling studio that aims at giving a new meaning to 3D modeling. It has features that are lacking in some of its proprietary counterparts.
Written and maintained by Peter Eastman, Art of Illusion boasts among a lot of others
  • Extensions available as scripts or plugins with automated installation and update from online repository
  • Distortion tracks for effects like bend, twist, and shatter
  • Skeletal animation with weighting, constraints and IK
  • Poses and Gestures
  • Keyframe editor with interpolating curves
  • Path animation
  • Animation through scripted objects, e.g. particles using Particle Jet script
  • Types: Uniform, image mapped, procedural 2D and 3D
  • Mapping options: Projection, spherical, cylindrical, UV
  • Per-vertex, per-face and per-face-per-vertex texture assignment (depending on textured object)
  • Layered textures
You can take a look at the art gallery featuring images created with Art of Illusion. The AOI wiki page also has lots of helpful tutorials and documentation on getting started with the application. It is available for free download for all popular platforms that support Java 5 and later.
AOI is a great piece of application that I strongly recommend to anyone who wants to do some serious professional 3D work at a fraction of the cost a proprietary software would entail. So ahead, give it a try if you are an artist and let me know how it went for you.

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