Your choice of application when creating graphics for your plug-in will rely greatly on the type of objects you wish to create. For example, the landscapes in EV were created with Bryce from Metatools. The 3-D ships were created with Specular's Infini-D. Other artwork was edited in Adobe Photoshop. Whatever you choose, make sure the application can export PICT files, since PICT is the format that EV uses for all of its graphics.
Strata3d is now available free of charge from www.3d.com. This is a modern rendering application suitable for designing high quality ships easily.
Pixels3d, from www.pixels3d.com, is usually available as an earlier version free of charge. This has more powerful modelling, but limited rendering.
Amapi has appeared as a free early version on some magazines, notably MacFormat in the UK. Amapi has extremely powerful modelling, although the interface may be difficult for some.
Many EV designers have enjoyed using Mechanisto, available free via the add-ons page. This program is more difficult to use, but with perseverence produces excellent results.
Renderboy and POV Ray, both available free from Mac Archives, are popular with some users, although they lack many of the Wysiwyg features of modern programmes.
Poser 4 is the ideal software for creating human graphics. Up to version 2 has appeared free of charge as a magazine giveaway.
Early version of Bryce (to version 2) are occasional magazine giveaways. Nothing compares with Bryce for landscapes, and the earlier versions are fine for EV work.
Graphic Converter is a shareware program available from any webarchives which can use Photoshop plugins and do almost all the additional editing, if you don't possess photoshop.
www.flamingpear.com has a number of Photoshop plugins of use to the EV/O developer, including Glitterato (for space scenes) Solar Cell (for stars and suns) and Lunar Cell (for planets seen from space).
(This message has been edited by Martin Turner (edited 04-20-2001).)
Specular merged with MetaCreations, and Infini-D was updated a few times. It is now discontinued at version 4.5, which is what I use.
Bryce was also released by MetaCreations (I don't remember if MetaTools became MetaCreations or if MetaCreations bought MetaTools, or something else altogether), but when MetaCreations shifted their corporate goals they sold almost all of their products. Bryce and it's current version, Bryce 4, are now sold by Corel.