freeware, software

Metasequoia 4 Brief Review

Metasequoia is a 3D modelling program designed by a lone Japanese guy (Osama Mizuno) in downtown Tokyo (At this site: Surprisingly, it’s a stunningly popular program. This is probably because it’s like PaintToolSAI – most things you need are directly in front of you and easy to use.

For those of you who use the program already, I have good news: The new version, 4.0, is mostly the same as previous versions. There are a few changes, some of which are good and some of which are not. First, the bad: The rendering feature is gone, so no more in-program toon rendering. If you want to render you models with his renderer, you will have to export the files and open them with an older version of Metasequoia, which brings me to another piece of bad news: Mizuno, the creator, decided to change the file version number… again. This time, instead of 2.1 or 3.0 as it should be, it’s now 1.1… He added a “shader” to the “mat” property and “translation”, “rotation”, and “scale” to the object field. In the wake of the new publication, I updated my file format blog post:

The nice thing is, changing the version number back to 1.0 will allow you to open the files in the older versions of the software. That’s the nice thing about ANSI text files. XD

The good news: The GUI arrangement hasn’t changed much. Things are bulkier, which is slightly depressing when you think about how pleasant his minimalism was in the previous versions, but at the same rate, it’s much more… um… informative? You can pick from different appearances in the left-hand-side menus (choose from showing text or showing icons with text). Notably, the object panel has been moved to show up on the far right as a window. This is nice.

The downside of the GUI is that it feels so much more space-filling, like there’s now less room for me to work. I wasn’t particularly pleased in this respect, but it’s something I could learn to use if I wanted, and it was relatively easy to start using it, especially with the experience I’ve had with older versions. I mean heck, can you beat not moving buttons? Technically, there are some button rearrangements for the new GUI system, though these are primarily in the options screens. There are a few buttons added, particularly at the top. Time will tell whether they are used frequently enough to merit such a convenient yet space-filling location.

Side notes: Mizuno finally managed to combine the freeware and shareware versions into one piece of software AND put it in an installer. This is alittle disappointing for me because it means 1) bytes are wasted on my computer for features I don’t want and 2) I can’t just open “straight out of the box” so to speak. Oh no, no, no – I must have yet another folder in my roaming folder. -_- *sigh*

And still… no linux version yet. This is lame.

There are a few other new features but nothing you couldn’t live without. There is armature in the advanced/shareware version, but despite the fact that I asked the program to show all buttons, including those in the advanced/shareware version, the armature button does not show up. It would be a nice feature to have, and I’m sure that’s why he’s reserving it for the paying audience.

As you may know, Blender has more features (including armature, but I’m not sure if it’s in the same sense as Metasequoia), but it’s learning curve is much, much steeper and it’s output files aren’t a simple ANSI, though I suppose I could write an exporter in Python. Hm…


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