Away3d’s flash10 branch has recently been updated to the 3.3 version – a parallel release that now runs alongside the 2.3 version for Flash 9. Initially a compatibility release, the flash10 branch is now being used as the place where Flash 10 optimisations are made to the engine.

One such optimisation is in the area of shading, where Pixel Bender filters allow far greater render speeds than standard Flash filters. The demo above is an illustration of the kind of power now available with the latest update – normalmapping becomes a good deal faster and smoother than before, thanks to per-pixel normalising and the abandonment of layering which was previously the only way to achieve a shaded effect.

Special thanx go to Eddie Carbin for supplying the model, and David Lenaerts for the HDR filter that creates an extra ‘blooming’ layer to the view for an accentuation of highlights and shadows in the shading. Source for the demo can be accessed via the usual right-click in the movie, or directly from here. Don’t forget that to compile this demo you will require the 3.3 version of Away3d, downloadable from or from the flash10 branch in the svn.