Is there any worth-while shareware 3D redering programs besides Mechanisto?

NO. IMO, Mechanisto isn't even worthwhile! Look at Strata's products (commercial programs, but they're still good,) and maybe look at Metacreations' products.

POVray is open source. Although it has a really, really steep learning curve (more of a learning cliff), if you know what you're doing you can get decent graphics out of it. (url="http://"")

Because it's there,

Learning curves graph some measurement of learned performance against time. Time, as usual, is graphed on the horizontal axis and the variable, in this case some measurement of learning, is graphed on the vertical axis. Therefore, a steep learning curve indicates a dramatic increase in performance over time. I don't think that's how you meant to describe POVray's ease of use! I first read this misuse of the concept of learning curves in Wired (of all places, and they used to be such a good magazine...), but it seems to have caught on. But of course, WickedDyno, I agree with what you say about POVray, it's very difficult to learn (and has a flat learning curve). But, AndrewM, I disagree about Mechanisto, it's cheap, relatively easy to use and it's good for simple EVO graphics. It's easy to make planets with it, and that's good for something.
Cheap is good. Very good.


Strata released vers.4 free, look at (url="http://"")

As for POVray, yes it is a bit hard if you are writing pure renderscript 😉 but with a good modeling tool it should be easy. I have POVray but I havent compiled k3de yet (its under my linux partition if you didnt guess). That's a good modeling tool if you have kde on your system, promising to be more powerful than things like Cinema 4D XL