Bryce 7

I’M BACK on this now rather familiar alien world, as this is the fourth time that I’ve worked through John Kennedy’s introduction to Bryce, the natural landscape-generation programme. His article, published in PC Format magazine 13 years ago this month, includes a step-by-step alien landscape tutorial. A full version of Bryce 2 was included on the cover CD.

Until now, I haven’t been able to run Bryce successfully on my computer. I went for a new machine a couple of years ago when Windows 7 came in but, despite tentative assurances that that you’d be able to run your old programmes under the new operating system, my existing 3D design programmes were never able to run successfully.

Now Daz have made a PLE version of Bryce 7, the latest version, available as a free download. PLE stands for Personal Learning Edition but this is a full version with no limitations other than it’s not for professional work. This gives me a perfect opportunity to get to know the programme and, if I do decide to use Bryce for an illustration – a historical reconstruction, for instance – in one of my books, I can easily upgrade to the professional version, which is reasonably priced.

So far, it works fine on my Windows 7 64 bit computer. The render time for the final image takes seconds rather than minutes. As you can see from this image (left) from previous occasion, back in 2005, when I went through the tutorial the results of my new set-up, using Bryce 7, are impressive.

Bryce versus Sketchup

Sketchup makes it simple and intuitive to design anything ‘from a house to a coffee pot’ but I think, looking at this chair tutorial (right) which I completed yesterday, you can see why, as an illustrator with an interest in geology, history and wildlife, I don’t find it as attractive as Bryce.

For me Bryce offers more exciting possibilities and, as it is now 13 years since I first tried it, it feels comfortingly familiar to use.


Bryce 7 PLE download at CNET.

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