Strata 3d

Does anyone know much about Strata 3d. Some guys at work (web design) are suggesting using it as a first foray into 3d because ;

  1. it is easier than the likes of Cinema 4d which is around the same price,
  2. its imports illustrator files with no hassle and exports to psd and swf.

any thoughts on this? I was suggesting Swift 3d which I know doesn’t compare to the main apps but I figure that anything more may scare off designers too quickly seeing as they aren’t from a 3d background.

The intended output would be for web graphics/flash animations/and eventually director programs.

I’m not pushing Blender to heavily yet because I know I can download it any time and it would be nice to have another 3d app to call upon on my machine.

If I had to pick between Cinema 4D and Strata, I would should choose Cinema 4D

But then I don’t do the picking, and blender wasn’t included in the question
If I had to choose between those two and blender, I’d choose blender
but that’s just a personal preference


that would be my personal preference too. is your preference based on Blender being the most suitable for an introduction to 3D?

Blender is dogged by the ‘unconventional interface’ tag though and the rational of suggesting Cinema 4D and Strata is that designers who are coming from Photoshop and Illustrator backgrounds may find these interfaces a bit more intuitive initially.

I think there are 2 hurdles to overcome;

1. To learn about and understand the concepts and techniques of working in 3D.

2. To learn how to use a 3D package.

I guess that the person learning needs to accept that a lot of time and perspiration is going to be involved and that there are no shortcuts.

strata 3d is sadly on the road of disappear… don’t invest money on it.


That IS sad news.
If I could have afford it, I would have gone for Strata 3D CX 4 or 5 with Strata 3D:Vector

Any source for your information ?

I tried Strata 3D a few years ago, I can’t say that much about it because it was the first 3d app I tried and I don’t really remember it :D, but since then it’s just been overrun by other better programs, such as Blender. :wink:

It might be overrun, but it’s in intensive care clinging on tightly to something no other 3D content creation app probably has : Strata 3D:Vector.
Not even Okino Polytrans / Nugraf, not even Blender (alas).
Like I said, if I had the money I would have paid for the combo, because it would ease my workflow, and I do not have advanced 3D requirements. (
I could even model in Blender, and then use Strata solely to export (through 3D:Vector) to Illustrator .ai format.

The funny thing is that the workflow I’m referring to in the linked thread above, is for an artist named Scott Thigpen. Poser to Photoshop to Illustrator. (
The website also has a strata 3D to Illustrator workflow for an artist named Scott Thigpen. (

Is Strata 3D:Vector not just the equivilent to Swift 3D (and sFlender)?

Hi finty,

sflender :
only exporting to .swf, which is not editable in Adobe Illustrator as far as I know. The .fla format would have been better. Too bad.
(I know, flash decompiler. Awkward and tricky, so why bother ?)

swift3D :
limited import formats, weak modelling and lighting setup ( both hard to get predicatable results), but great export formats (.ai and .svg).
This is all OK to me, and you got me there, because in fact it looks like the ideal program for my purposes.
(I trialled this program over a year ago, lots of improvements since then. But all I mentioned still holds.)

BUT, now for the bad, from their trial download page :

Download a trial of our products to get a better idea of how they work. The trials are fully functional with the exception you cannot export your work. However, you can preview your rendered animations within the product. All products offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

So I never had a chance to view and finish my test work in Adobe Illustrator. I would first have to pay $229 to view AND finish some test renders and exports in Illustrator. If for whatever reason I decided it was not good enough, I would have to ask for a refund.
While I can afford the $229, I do not like their lack of trust.
Like they say : It takes a thief to catch a thief.
Swift3D is out of consideration.

I have (older copies of) both Strata 3d and Cinema 4d. I think that both of them have interfaces that are more similar to traditional graphics apps. Strata probably has the most ‘Adobe-like’ interface (which seems to be their real focus these days) and therefore is likely the easiest for a non-3d graphic artist to adapt to.

Overall, I’d say that C4D is the more capable of the two applications, but Strata is likely the easiest to get good results with less effort. The renderer and materials are very easy to get in touch with. The new multipass render to PSD layers in Strata does look very nice, though. I could see that being a real plus in a traditional illustration setup.

One thing to be wary of in Strata, though is the modeling. Poly modeling is one area where Strata really lacks. If you hang around the Strata forums, you’ll find that a lot of them also use Wings or Silo. In fact, Strata used to offer a promotional bundle with both Strata and Silo. This is pretty much because the poly modeling within Strata itself was weak. They’ve supposedly improved upon it for the new (upcoming) CX5 version, but I haven’t used it to compare. For types of modeling based on path info (extrudes, lofts, lathes) there is no problem and Strata is quite easy to use in that respect.

C4D is also pretty easy to use, but not quite as simple as Strata. Strata you can pretty much get going and get ‘something’ without even reading the manual. With C4D, it isn’t really hard, but you’ll need to read the manual to understand how the modifiers work, as it is not like anything that exists in the Adobe apps.

As I said, C4D is ultimately more capable (but also more expensive) as it can be upgraded with stuff like Hair, Sketch and Toon, BodyPaint, Advanced Renderer, etc. This means that if you ever needed to grow you could, though I find the pricing a out of my reach.

Both have demos, so I’d suggest taking them both for a test run and see which fits best with your group. Using one doesn’t mean NOT using Blender, you may find that it fits in to do stuff that the others lack. (poly modeling, UV mapping, etc.)

thanks for the advice everyone.

I reckon Strata is a front runner then and Blender could fill in the gaps in the toolset for things like modelling, hair, alternative renderers, etc…

Exporting to illustrator and swf are major selling points for Strata.

My sincere apologies finty, but I have to say this :
“Damn you. I wish you hadn’t mentioned Swift3D.”

It’s back in for consideration.

I was raised on Strata, going back to the late nineties. Even now, it’s powerful and looks fantastic. But it’s so close to adobe that it’s spoiled me and jumping into blender seems impossible. I know strata like the back of my hand, but there’s no camera tracking and animations are spotty. Still, I stay with it because I’m comfortable there and I know how to work within its limitations. Wish blender had a similar interface.