Even though this offer has been Tweeted and posted all over the Internet, I thought I would add a quick post here to make sure our readers know about it. For the month of February Digital Art Zone (DAZ) is offering the following software free of charge – you can pick it up at http://www.daz3d.com/i/3d/free-3d-software-overview:
DAZ Studio 4 Pro 3D Software (Winner of 3D World's 2011 Software Innovation of the Year Award): Retail $429.95
Bryce 7 Pro 3D Landscape Software: Retail $249.95
Hexagon 2.5 3D Modeling Software: Retail $149.95
3D Photoshop Bridge: Retail $199.00
The company also said any downloads of these packages would be eligible for future updates at no charge. "We're excited to make this offer early in the year," said James Thornton, CEO for DAZ. "We wanted to give any digital artist the opportunity to experience DAZ free 3D software for the first time, and a full suite of 3D models and 3D animation software products is available on DAZ3D.com."
Even though 3D is still in its infancy in our industry with it only being used in large, high-profile projects, there will come a day when 3D renderings will be an expected deliverable on all projects. The challenge for those of us working now is similar to the one we faced in transitioning from the drafting table to CAD: how to train and ramp up on a new skill that is not immediately necessary so we are ready when it does become a necessity? One of the roadblocks we face is that few companies or agencies will invest the time or money to develop this skill until there is a paying customer or an expectation by citizens. Which is why this opportunity is so valuable. The software is free; all you have to do is invest your time to learn it. And even if DAZ is not the final product your company/agency ends up using, I've found the 3D skills learned using one product do transfer to the next as well as the familiarity with the general framework.
As for learning the software, there are numerous tutorials available. All you have to do is search through Google or YouTube to find them.