Genetica 3 review

Price when reviewed

One of most useful tools of the trade for computer-based artists and designers is a good library of high quality textures. The great advantage of Genetica 3 is that, rather than spending money on buying in third party designs, it provides a tightly focused environment so you can create your own.

The secret is Genetica’s tree-based system of interacting nodes which lets you build up textures step-by-step, all the while ensuring that the end results are seamless and fully resolution-independent. Creating each texture from scratch like this offers maximum control, but it’s a major undertaking.

Recognising this fact, Genetica 3 also provides over a thousand presets: and customising these is far less time consuming. Alongside long standing naturalistic presets such as sky, marble, metal and stone, there’s a whole raft of man-made and designed textures as well. This is made possible thanks to Genetica 3’s new Canvas node which lets you add and edit lines and shapes, all of which can be symmetrically tiled to produce a repeating pattern.

This is impressive enough, but Genetica 3’s ability to style your drawn elements with advanced and fully customisable materials is even more powerful; you can even use any preset or customised texture as an input. This opens up some extraordinary power but be warned: building up your image like this takes time and effort.

Genetica 3 Pro ($399) extends the capabilities of the standard release with a number of advanced features such as a batch processor, a doubling of maximum resolution to 6,000 x 6,000 pixels and support for normal maps. The main target user, the professional 3D modeller, will also benefit from the new ability to render, manipulate and export environment maps and the support for 32-bit HDRI output.

And Spiral Graphics has added another application to the Genetica platform with a new high-end release aimed at video creators and motion graphic artists. This $899 release introduces a clock icon next to most node parameters. Click it and you can quickly apply a function curve to control how the parameter is changed over time. The resulting animation can be rendered as an image sequence or as an AVI.

Compared to what’s involved in producing your textures in the first place bringing them to life like this is gratifyingly simple. More importantly, the end results can be stunning and many effects would be impossible to produce in any other program. In fact that’s true of each of the three Genetica 3 applications and is a real vindication of its bottom-up approach to texture handling.


Software subcategory Graphics/design software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? no
Operating system Mac OS X supported? no
Other operating system support None

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