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AutoDesSys Releases bonzai3d

Last August, SIGGRAPH attendees got a glimpse of bonzai3d, a new 3D modeler from AutoDesSys. The new product was touted as a lighter, smaller version of formZ, a well-known NURBS modeler* from the same company. In the announcement, AutoDesSys described bonzai3d as “an offspring of formZ” and a “3D modeler developed to fill in the demand for a quick, easy, simple but, most importantly, geometrically robust approach to 3D.”

This May, at AIA Convention (Moscone Center, San Francisco, California), AutoDesSys’ founder and CEO Chris Yessios began handing out DVDs containing the beta release of bonzai3d. So I picked up one. It was literally a very small program. Without the materials and content library, the program folder was a mere 150 MB.

AutoDesSys' new modeling package bonzai3d comes with a rich set of Spline editing tools that let you generate imaginative shapes and surfaces.

AutoDesSys' new modeling package bonzai3d comes with a rich set of Spline editing tools that let you generate imaginative shapes and surfaces.

Nevertheless, the software works like a robust 3D package, with ample NURBS editing tools to produce complex geometric shapes and surfaces. It comes with a menu specific to architecture (walls, windows, and staircases that you can drag, drop, and resize, for example), but because of its ability to produce sweeping profiles, it could easily be deployed for conceptualizing consumer goods.

The interface is quite intuitive. Without watching the tutorial videos, I was able to start using it by experimentation. It offers a good collection of export options, including DWG, DXF, KMZ, 3D Studio, LightWave, and OBJ. The software had a few hiccups when I attempted to apply the Round or Taper command on some surfaces with odd profiles, but I expect these issues to go away when the code matures. You can try it out for yourself by downloading it from www.bonzai3d.com.

[Note: According to AutoDesSys, form.Z and bonzai3d are NURBS modelers, but can also do much more. Alexandra Yessios, the company’s VP of marketing, said, “They have multiple personalities, including NURBS … While we do as much as Rhino does with NURBS, we do more types of modeling: facetted, smooth, subdivisions, metaballs, coons patches, etc. (the latter three in form.Z only).”]

For more, watch the video clip below.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.


  1. Nice job on the Bonzai 3D Demo. One small point, Kenneth mentions that formZ is a Nurbs modeler and he maybe is also inferring that BonZai 3D is as well. In actually, both formZ and BonZai 3D utilize Autodessys Inc. Proprietary Facetted Modeling kernel as well as the AICS Modeling kernel for smooth geometric surfaces and solids. Furthermore, Autodessys Inc. also utilizes some of its own propriety smooth modeling algorithm capabilities in both programs. No, I do not work for ADS.

    Dan S.

  2. Dan: Thanks for the input! I checked with the folks at AutoDesSys to make sure I have not mis-characterized the nature of formZ or Bonzai3D. Based on their response, I added some info to my post.

  3. Chris- I heard about that, in a mag. ,

  4. Nothing changes your opinion of a friend so surely as success – yours or his.

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