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An example scene, showing the Render Manager in the foreground.
An example scene demonstrating the Cheetah3D renderer.
Developer(s) Martin Wengenmayer
Initial release 2003
Stable release 6.0 / April 13, 2012
Operating system Mac OS X
Type Computer graphics
License Proprietary

Cheetah3d is a computer graphics program for 3D modelling, animation and rendering. It is written in Cocoa for Mac OS X. The program is aimed at beginning and amateur 3D artists. It offers a number of medium- and high-end features in conjunction with a relatively simple user interface. Its simplicity [1] is what makes it stand apart from other programs. It was initially released in 2003,[2] and is available as a Universal binary for Mac OS X.[3] A single user license is $99 US. A free demo version is available, without the ability to save or export models.


Cheetah3D is aimed primarily at amateur artists, and so focuses on providing features for creating simple 3D scenes. Its selection of features is narrow but focused to add in its usefulness and simplicity. For example, it supports a variety of geometric primitives, including polygon meshes and Bezier curves. Its features also allow for box modeling with subdivision surfaces In addition, it has some simple animation support, including spline-based camera paths and targeted objects. It also supports skeletal deformations, morph targets, and subdivision surfaces, making its character animation effective.

The program also has advanced rendering settings, which allow for antialiasing, raytraced shadows, depth of field, HDRI, ambient occlusion, caustics lighting, soft shadowing and photon-mapped caustics.

The program uses many of the common 3D file formats, including 3ds, obj, sia, and FBX. Media produced by the program can also be used in Unity, which is a game development tool.

Cheetah3D 5.0 was released on 8 October 2009.[4] Added features include a node-based material system, an improved render engine, new modelling tools such as a bevel tool and a bend modifier, and Collada file format support. This version requires at least Mac OS X v10.4, but is also compatible with Mac OS X v10.5 and Mac OS X v10.6.[5]

Cheetah 3D 6.0 was released on 13 April 2012.[6] Added features include Bullet Physics[7] integration including rigid body and soft body simulation and integration with the existing particle system, isosurfaces, and support for Mac OS X Lion. This version of Cheetah 3D drops PowerPC support and requires Mac OS X v10.6 or later. A third party manual Learn 3D With Cheetah 3D[8] was released simultaneously with the new version.


  1. ^ MacLife Review
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