Strata Design 3D CXi 7.5

Our Mac App Store Edition of Design 3D CX for Creative Designers

Professional level 3D design with a user-friendly interface – Design 3D CXi gives you the power to create whatever you can imagine. Design for packaging, products, exhibits, architecture and more. Create illustrations, graphic designs and animations – all with photo-real results. And connect to the rest of the world with Photoshop 3D layers, add 3D to iBooks – and even do 3D printing. Strata Design 3D CXi supplies you with most of the features found in Design 3D CX, but was tailored to meet the needs of the Mac App Store.

OverviewFeaturesSystem RequirementsReviews & AwardsCompare VersionsCase Studies

Simplified 3D Learning Curve

Strata Design 3D CXi eases the learning curve for 2D designers who are new to 3D. Quick start templates, libraries, predefined effects, backgrounds, environments and more allow designers to create complex scenes in minutes. With a user interface and tools that are familiar to today’s 2D designers, you invest your time learning 3D design concepts rather than a new design paradigm.

Model Anything in 3D or Import Existing 3D Assets

For many, the thought of 3D modeling is a daunting task. Design 3D offers an extremely friendly modeling toolset and environment for manipulating your polygons, splines, and primitives into any 3D object or scene you can imagine. If you’re working with existing 3D assets, Strata Design 3D CXi utilizes a host of filters and options to accurately import third-party 3D models and scenes.

Apply Surface Textures with Precision

In the world of 3D, texturing may just be the most important component in creating convincing final renderings. Once you have designed your 3D model, Strata Design 3D CXi gives you powerful tools to create, apply and manipulate surface textures with beautifully accurate results.

Set-Up Your Scene with Lighting, Backgrounds, Cameras

Scene composition is a critical step in producing stunning images. Design 3D CXi makes it easier to control the environment than any photography studio you could imagine. Position your 3D objects and then place lights, reflection panels, cameras, backgrounds, environments, reflection elements and more produce a superior final render or animation for your design project.

Render Photo-Real Images and Animations at Blazing Speeds

Design 3D is well known for its extraordinary rendering technology. Whether you’re after photo-realistic results or some other style for your static or motion graphics, you will find the rendering options to suit your needs and output the results using one of the fastest rendering engines in the industry. After all, it’s all about the final results and Design 3D delivers.

Learn Design 3D CXi Online at Strata 3D University

Learning 3D doesn’t have to be difficult. Especially with Strata’s online training library at your fingertips, covering every aspect of Strata Design 3D CXi and the entire 3D design workflow. Strata 3D University makes it simple to find the subject of interest and quickly get up to speed with short, informative videos created by professional 3D designers. Visit the University

Connect To The World

With a host of 2D and 3D export formats, Design 3D makes it easy to connect to the rest of the world. This includes rendering to layers in the Photoshop .psd file format, export Collada files tailor-made for Apple’s iBooks Author app, and even print to 3D with the included file formats that are accepted by popular 3D printing services.

NEW! Strata Design 3D CXi 7.5 – Get the most highly requested features to help you build, texture and output your models.

Strata Design 3D CXi 7.5 is a powerful modeling and texturing application, which includes many of the most requested features from long-time Strata Design 3D users. We’ve combined new UV texturing components that allow you to more easily visualize the exact layout and placement of your textures, with polygon manipulation features that provide a new level of control over your 3D objects, and added in some very useful import and export options to make version 7.5 more compatible with CAD programs and 3D printing services.

New Feature Videos And Wrench Tutorials

CX 7.5 New Features And Tutorial
As part of the Version 7.5 launch, Chris Tyler developed a tutorial series around modeling, texturing and rendering the wrench that is used throughout the product launch materials. This series is free to everyone at the Strata 3D University and covers some of the new 7.5 features. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business. View the Tutorial Series.

Modeling and Edge Control Features and Enhancements

CX 7.5 Modeling
Strata Design 3D Version 7.5 provides a range of new features designed to give more control while polygonal modeling and to make modeling and editing easier and more intuitive. Many of the new options are also used for the new UV enhancements, such as defining seams for flattening UV textures. Driven by our most frequently requested user suggestions, we’ve bolstered Design 3D’s toolset and functionality.

UV Editing and Texturing Features and Enhancements

CX 7.5 UV
Least Squares Conformal Maps or Conform to Mesh LSCM helps reduce texture distortion and produce better rendering results. In Design 3D 7.5, this feature is called Conform to Mesh. When used in conjunction with the other texturing enhancements, you can literally unwrap your 3D objects onto a 2D plane and see exactly how your textures look. Even better, you can create the cutting seams that define how your object is unwrapped.

3D Print, File Import and File Export Options

CX 7.5 3D Print Import Export
Import and Export flexibility is important to every 3D designer and we’ve heard your call for the ability to import CAD models and export to the STL format for 3D printing. New import / export features in Design 3D Version 7.5 include STL Import and Export and Collada File Import Improvement.

Decimation / Polygon Reduction

CX 7.5 Decimate
Decimation is used to reduce polygon count in models, while minimizing the visual distortion on the outward appearance of the rendered image. Decimation is often used on imported models with very high polygon counts, which may cause performance issues, slow rendering, or editing difficulty. It’s also useful for lowering polygon counts for online 3D games, mobile and other applications that require low polygon counts for performance reasons.

In-Depth Feature List

Drawing Features
Strata Design 3D CX makes it easy for 2D designers to get started in 3D. You can import 2D elements from applications like Adobe Illustrator or you can draw 2D objects directly in Strata Design 3D CX.

  • 2D/3D Text
  • 3D Primitives
  • 2D Drawing Tools
  • Bezier Lines/Regions

Modeling Features
Strata Design 3D CX offers an incredible array of modeling options. You can model using familiar Bezier splines, but now in 3D: traditional polys- but now with Quad Polysplines; MetaSurfaces to meld objects together; Extrude and Lathe; Boolean to combine or subtract: Skin; Mirror and more!

  • Polyspline SDS
  • Meld MetaSurfaces
  • Bezier Surfaces
  • Extrude
  • Lathe
  • Boolean
  • Skin
  • Polygonal Modeling
  • Path Extrude
  • Construction Objects
  • Shy Objects
  • Shape Instancing
  • Replicate / Duplicate
  • Object Manipulation
  • Drop a Curve
  • Hide Objects
  • Fillet
  • Thickness
  • Mirror
  • Hull Surface
  • Deformation Lattice
  • Grids – World, Custom & View
  • Smooth Mesh
  • Decimation (v7.5)
  • Segment Edge Command (v7.5)
  • Show Face Normals (v7.5)
  • Point Snap

View Features
Unlike you favorite 2D applications, Strata Design 3D CX gives you the opportunity to examine artwork from any angle. With the power of 3D perspective comes new challenges for control. Strata 3D rises to the occasion with split-able views, multiple views, depth cueing and even special views for cameras and light sources.

  • Familiar Interface
  • Split Views
  • Camera View
  • Multi-Views
  • Depth Cueing
  • Image/Movie Backdrop
  • Spotlight Views

Environment Features
Sometimes great design is about the “negative space” – the area that surrounds your 3D model. Strata Design 3D CX gives you many options and an easy to use interface to control your “environment”.

  • Ground Plane
  • Air Refraction
  • Visible Backgrounds
  • Reflective Backgrounds
  • Atmosphere
  • Gravity
  • Wind

Lighting Features
You’ve heard of “looks good in any light” – now you’ve found the tool that gives you that elusive “any light”. Strata Design 3D CX gives you point lights, spotlights, global sun-style lights, environment based lightdomes, High Dynamic Range Image lighting, glowing surfaces, gels – all unlimited and fully controllable.

  • Point Lights
  • Spot Lights
  • Directional Lights
  • Glowing Surfaces
  • Lightdome HDRI
  • Intensity
  • Host Object
  • Soft Edges
  • Ambient Light
  • Gels
  • Animatable Lights
  • Overflow Handling
  • Spotlight Window View
  • Effects Applied to Light
  • Direct Manipulation Interface

Special Effects Features
Any image or animation can be spiced up with special effects like Lens Flare, Auras, Particles – and the new Script FX. Add multiple effect. Place effects on any object. Even animate the effects.

  • Lens Flares
  • Particle Collision Detection
  • Script FX
  • Auras
  • Caustics
  • Fountain Effects
  • Global Gravity Control
  • Global Wind Force Control
  • Global Air Control
  • Fire & Smoke
  • Hair
  • Hotspots
  • Pixie Dust

Camera Features
A great camera can make even the novice photographer look good. Just think of what Strata Design 3D CX will do for you with all these imaging options at your finger tips.

  • Scripting
  • Hierarchial
  • Visible Paths
  • QTVR
  • Motion Blur
  • Depth of Field
  • Boom
  • Pan
  • Dolly
  • Arc
  • Pitch
  • Yaw
  • Roll
  • Host Object
  • Target Object
  • Focal Distance
  • View Angle
  • Panorama Camera
  • Spherical Camera
  • Cubic Camera
  • Shutter Speed
  • Stereoscopic
  • Live Window Updates
Rendering Features
The core of what makes Strata Design 3D CX so good – and what it’s famous for – is the high quality rendering. Rendering is the process of taking the design you worked to put together and creating the final image.

  • Toon
  • Photons
  • Raytracing
  • Raydiosity
  • Render to Layers
  • Flat Shaded
  • Hidden Line
  • Outline
  • Pointcloud
  • Smooth Shaded
  • Wireframe
  • Scanline
  • Transparency
  • Alpha Channel
  • Anti-Aliasing
  • Oversampling
  • Glow
  • Reflectivity
  • Blurry Transparency and Reflectivity
  • Instance Rendering
  • Anti-Matter Effect
  • Field Rendering
  • Atmospheric Effects
  • Shadows
  • MIP Mapping
  • Soft Shadows
  • Stereoscopic
  • Custom Environments
  • Specular Highlights
  • Suspend Rendering
  • Marquee Select Rendering

Animation Features
Strata Design 3D CX takes a simple approach to animation: Everything can be animated. And it takes a simple approach to controlling animation: keyframes, a timeline, and scripting. Even if you’ve never booted it up, you already know how to use it.

  • Scripting
  • Hierarchial
  • Visible Paths
  • Everything Time Variable
  • Animation Preview
  • Shatter
  • Explode
  • Jiggle
  • Convert to Path Event-Based
  • Cycle Back & Forth
  • Key Frames
  • Velocity Graphs
  • Life Checkbox
  • Align to Path
  • IK (Inverse Kinematics)
  • FK (Forward Kinematics)
  • TCB, Spline & Natural Paths
  • Proportional Event Scaling

Texturing Features
“What if” is as simple as drag-and-drop in Strata Design 3D CX. Select from the palette of hundreds of pre-made surface textures or make your own using features like live-linking to native Photoshop files – make a change in Photoshop and Strata Design 3D CX automatically updates the model surface. Older CX Version Photoshop plug ins require Adobe CS 4 or CS 5.x. Design 3D CX no longer includes Photoshop plug-ins, but maintains tight integration with Adobe Photoshop.

  • Native UV Mapping
  • Burn UV
  • New Conform to Mesh option; using Least Squares Conformal Maps technology (v7.5)
  • LSCM unwrap (Conform, Conform Connected) Unwrap entire objects, single UV island or just selected polygons (v7.5)
  • Pin UVs (Toggle pinned vertices on or off) (v7.5)
  • Fit (to UV, U or V) (v7.5)
  • Fit Each (to UV, U or V) (v7.5)
  • Rotate Connected (to Grid, U or V) (v7.5)
  • Move (to U, V; Center to U, V) (v7.5)
  • Select Perimeter (v7.5)
  • Select Pinned UVs (v7.5)
  • UV Edge Seam Assignment (v7.5)
  • Select UV Seam Edge (v7.5)
  • Scripting
  • Hierarchical
  • Visible Paths
  • Photoshop Linking
  • Displacement
  • Box Wrapper
  • Normal Maps
  • Mist
  • Image Textures
  • Corrosion
  • Starfield
  • Rainbow Reflection
  • Mock Tile
  • Shadow Catcher
  • Ripples
  • Solid Brick
  • Silk
  • Solid Candy
  • Solid Concrete
  • Solid Marble
  • Solid Moonscape
  • Solid Rock
  • Solid Stone
  • Solid Terrain
  • Solid Wood
  • Wildlife
  • Mock Plank
  • Surface, Solid & Volume
  • Layer & Mix
  • Fog
  • Haze
  • Clouds

File Import/Export Features
Being able to talk to other programs in your design studio is an important issue. Strata Design 3D CX offers a number of options in this area.

  • Collada (in/out)
  • Illustrator/EPS v8 (in)
  • Photoshop PSD (in/out)
  • STL (in/out version 7.5 only)
  • XMM (out)
  • Quicktime (in/out)
  • TGA (in/out)
  • TIFF (in/out)
  • BMP (in/out)
  • JPEG (in/out)
  • 3DS (in)
  • DXF (in/out)
  • MiniCAD (in)
  • Amapi (in/out)
  • OBJ (in/out)
  • VRML 1 & 2 (in/out)
  • Flash SWF (out)
  • True Type Fonts (in)
Scripting Features
Strata Design 3D CX includes a Lua based scripting language. Lua is a widely used language, particularly in gaming, with companies like Blizzard (World of Warcraft), Criterion Studios (NBA Ballers, ESPN Major League Baseball), BioWare (Neverwinter Nights), UbiSoft (Far Cry), Double Fine Productions (Psychonauts), Nival Interactive (Blitzkrieg) and many more. Even new favorites, such as Adobe Lightroom, utilize Lua.

With Lua you can script shaders and textures to: access the rendering pipeline; lens scripting for the creation of custom lenses, effects and warps; Filter FX which allows you to write custom Lua scripts to apply filters based on an object’s surface normal, direction, lighting, volume, and by pixel color, depth, transparency, layer within the psd file – and much, much more. In fact, Design 3D comes with a whole series of special effect shaders created using Lua. These “Script FX” let you do things like bounce, vibrate, alter acceleration and more. Each of these Script FX provide full source so you can edit them if you like.

Additional features are implemented directly in Lua throughout Design 3D such as Match Motion and Instance Node Control. If you’re somebody who’s interested in scripting, Lua gives you the opportunity to extend Design 3D in a variety of important ways.

System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements

  • Intel Processor(s)
  • Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later
  • 2GB of RAM (more highly recommended)
  • 1.7 GB of available hard-disk space for install
  • 1024 x 768 capable display
Minimum System Requirements

  • Windows 7 or Vista recommended (64-bit preferable)
  • Windows XP (some limitations, requires all latest service packs)
  • Pentium 4, Athlon, Intel or better
  • 4GB of RAM (more highly recommended)
  • 1.7 GB of available hard-disk space for full installation
  • 1024 x 768 capable display

Photoshop User

Photoshop User
“Strata Design CD CX is a great product for anyone who’s looking for a 3D app that will enhance their productivity, creativity, and integrate with the Adobe products to help create projects.”

MacWorld UK | Editor’s Choice Award

Macworld UK
“This could be the Adobe-devoted designer’s must-have modeler… Seamless integration with Photoshop, user interface familiar to Adobe users, robust, stable and mature.”

Layers Magazine, Four and a Half Stars

Layers Magazine
“Strata has clearly paid attention to Adobe aficionados with its robust Strata 3D CX flagship product, as Adobe users will recognize many of the core tools in the main palette.”

Digit Magazine

“Strata is a 3D application aimed at giving designers the kind of simplicity they experience on the likes of Photoshop and Illustrator… Strata is one of the most straightforward 3D packages available, and offers impressive power at an affordable price.”

MacUser UK

“Strata Design 3D provides 99% of your 3D modeling needs within an intuitive, comprehensive environment. Integration with Photoshop is seamless and occasionally inspired. Whether you’re a seasoned 3D modeler, or a dedicated Photoshop user who only wants to import and render models found in the Google 3D Warehouse, Strata Design 3D will revolutionize the way you work.”

Compare Design 3D Versions

Basic Tools
Move, rotate, scale, grids and guides, history stack
included included included
Environmental Tools
Ground plane, visible and reflected backgrounds
included included included
Lighting / Basic
Point lights, spot lights, directional lights
included included included
Lighting / Advanced
included included
3D & 2D Primitives included included included
Import / Basic
EPS (v8), S3D, OBJ, Collada, VRML, 3DS and more
included included included
Import / Advanced
AI, PDF and U3D
included included included
Export / Advanced
included included
Bezier Modeling Tools
Pen tool, extrude, lathe, path extrude, skin
included included included
Bezier Modeling Tools / Advanced
Hull, thickness, fillet
included included
Text Tool included included included
Boolean Operations
Subtract, intersect, union, cut
included included included
Polygon Modeling Tools / Basic
Move, rotate, scale, bevel, extrude
included included included
Polygon Modeling Tools / Advanced
Magic wand selections, inset, inflate, flatten
included included
Advanced Smoothing Techniques
Subdivision surfaces
included included included
Advanced Smoothing Techniques 2
included included
Deformation Tools
Deformation lattice, bones
included included
Keyframing, animated textures
included included
Animation Effects
Shatter, explode
included included
Heartbeat, bounce, rotate, etc.
included included
Texturing Tools / Basic
Multi-channel stackable textures, stone, wood
included included included
Texturing Tools / Advanced
Linked PSD textures, most procedural texture types
included included
Rendering / Basic
Raytracing, raydiosity, openGL, toon
included included included
Rendering / Advanced
Suspended renderings, fields, stereo, panoramic,
motion blur, render to layers
included included included

Case Study | A Virtual Fleet of Aircraft

Illustrating the world of flight can be a tremendous challenge. Photographs can be the wrong angle, low quality or simply not available. For the aviation enthusiasts that read the Greek magazine “Remove Before Flight” the visuals are just as important as the technical articles. As Art Direcetor of 11 Aviation Publications, Nasos Vlachos turned to Strata Design 3D CX, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to solve the problem.
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Case Study | A Market Bull’s Eye for Kraft

What do you do when you get a new sauce? You get a new bottle of course. Starting in late 2007, Kraft’s Bull’s-Eye BBQ Sauce marketing team undertook an extensive review of the BBQ category and the BBQ consumer. In 2008 this hard work resulted in a killer new sauce. With superior taste and more authentic BBQ flavor, the team at Kraft went on to develop a new brand position to go with the new flavor. This required new packaging to bring all these elements together.
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