Shade was first published in Japan in the late 1980s, making it one of the oldest 3D applications on Mac OS and Windows. E Frontier, a Japanese software company acquired Shade from its previous owner ExpressionTools in the late 1990s. E Frontier later acquired Curious Labs, the developer of Poser and marketed Shade through a subsidiary E Frontier America. E Frontier America sold its directly owned assets to Smith Micro. Beginning in 2009, Mirye Software took over localization and exclusive publishing of Shade in the English language worldwide. Shade has an estimated 200,000 users worldwide.
Shade 3D supports polygon modeling, however all versions of Shade support curved surface modeling based on bezier based lines - a unique modeling method similar to bezier based vector editing tools such as Adobe Illustrator and not available in some other 3D modeling applications. Shade also supports NURBS based modeling. Modeling in Shade is done with Metric or Imperial measurements selected making Shade useful for architecture.
The Professional version of Shade creates large renders. Shade 13 Pro renders up to 22528x22528. This render size is larger than the 12000x8700 IMAX digital version theoretical display size. In print, a 1200dpi A3 document(11.7x16.5in/297x420mm) is 14032x19842.
The current Shade 13 supports a wide variety of popular formats including adobe formats (ai, psd, swf), movie formats(avi, mov, QuickTime VR panorama, QuickTime VR cubic, QuickTime VR object), 3d formats(obj, lwo, 3ds, dxf, rib), video game digital asset formats (bvh, direct x, COLLADA, collada animation, Blue Mars, Second Life), picture formats (bmp, targa, tiff, png, epix, hdr, openEXR), and format options with toon rendering on export (ai, swf) among others. This wide format support of popular application formats makes working between programs easier than usual.
Because of its history with the Poser product line, some versions of Shade also incorporate PoserFusion, a file hosting solution rather than a direct file import solution. This allows Shade to maintain Poser specific features within the Shade rendering environment; it is possible to later edit the original Poser file and then see the changes reflected in the hosting Shade scene.
As mentioned, the file import and export support does allow for an extremely varied workflow. By original design, canned Character modeling was done in Poser, those pose files were imported into Shade which could create the scene for the imported character. Shade could then rig, animate, render and export as a movie for video editing/compositing. As the comic book software Manga Studio EX has been importing the Shade format directly for some time, it seems likely that Manga Studio EX was used for print advertisement.
Shade 9 was released on January 5, 2009. Shade 9 introduced Particle Physics, Collision Detection, new Polygon Modeling Tools, Hair Salon, Parallax Bump Mapping, improvements to PoserFusion, previewing and HDRI import and export.
Shade 10 was released on February 14, 2010. Shade 10 included significant integration features with online game and MMO content, including native export of Avatar Reality Blue Mars, COLLADA and Second Life.
Shade 12 was released in March 2011. Shade 12 includes a redesigned interface based on user feedback, upgrades to boolean operations, volumetric materials and lights, strengthened modeling(addition of photo modeling, sketch modeling, mirror modeling tools, and cage modeling), animated normal mapping, displacement mapping, subsurface scattering, preview rendering, stereoscopic, unlimited maps per mesh, and unlimited rendering nodes in standard and pro versions.
A Look at the Macintosh 3D Market - iDevGames
- Shade Product Page (English)
- E Frontier (Japanese)
- E Frontier (English)
- Mirye Software (English)
- Shade Documentation (English)
- Shade Facebook Page (English)