Warning to Would-be Shade Users
This is a review for anyone looking into the possibility of investing in Curious Labs’ Shade 7 Standard. A few words of caution... Don’t do it!!! Shade 7 Standard is garbage!
The User Guide makes many claims to the software’s abilities and the program itself renders these claims as false.
To begin, the User Guide is cryptic at the very least. Without a glossary of terms the user is required to experiment with many different settings in order to complete a single explanation of function. Have pen and plenty of paper on hand if you intend on following the books descriptions, you will need to take many notes on your various changes in order to narrow down the possibilities of the correct procedures to accomplish your desired results. Also, take into account the innate quirkiness of this program as these procedures will only be intermittently successful. Shade 7 is so extremely finicky as to when it will allow you to use functions such as Round Edge, Beveled Edge, Smooth, Iron, Etc. that it is basically pointless to have even included them in the menus. Frequently when Exporting “Saving” objects, even with the Surface Attributes box checked, they are left behind. You will be required to reassign these surface attributes the next time you wish to work with the objects again. At times the objects will reappear on entirely different coordinates than where you had saved them previously and you are required to go searching your creation for them. If these are small objects you may be searching for quite some time. While on the subject of saving objects I would like to mention that Shade 7 absolutely refuses to save an entire “set” of objects, lights, cameras, and all their surface attributes as one “lump sum” unit to an external disk such as a CD-RW. In my attempts to use the Save or Save As functions in the File pulldown menu I have been presented with many error messages and even had Shade7 shut down my system. Soon after I was experiencing problems using my CD-RW drive when attempting to save other non Shade 7 files as well. If you should wish to render a scene with a surface subdivision at a level any higher than regular you are risking a system freeze. An attempt to render at a surface subdivision of fine, which is one step above regular, resulted in a freeze-up of everything on my screen and continuous hard drive activity. This occurred with only a single sphere being rendered with some transparency and some refractive attributes. The only way to escape this freeze-up was a hard power down. It was suggested to me that I uninstall and re-install Shade 7 as a possible fix to these problems. Upon attempting to re-install Shade I was given an error claiming “Unhandled Exception, Failed to Load... Setup will now Terminate” at which time it “terminated” my entire system. The only way to regain access to my operating system was to finally reformat my hard drive and re-install all of my original software. Attempting to install Shade a second time resulted in the same thing which required another full reformat and re-installation of software.
I have contacted Curious Labs several times and their “Customer Support” has offered me no assistance, only stating that these things should work and leaving me hanging just like that.
So if you would like to spend your hard earned cash on a software title that is extremely difficult to work with, will only function as described some of the time, fails to save your work in progress, freezes up your operating system, and crashes your hard drive, then shade 7 is just the thing for you. On an overall scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, Shade 7 scores a 1 with me.
Darren J. Day
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