Instant Object Studio Review
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Instant Object Studio

For FSX & FS2004 Published by Flight 1
Reviewed by Rob Scott
November 2012

Flight 1 are a household name when it comes to quality add-ons for FS. But did you know that they also have a range of add-ons which enable you to create 3D objects and scenery directly within FS? I've admired these add-ons from afar for a long time and jumped at the chance to review one of their latest releases, Instant Object Studio.

What is Instant Object Studio

Flight1's own words are more than sufficient to tell you what to expect:

Instant Object Studio runs as a Flight Simulator module and lets you design new scenery objects directly in the Flight Simulator 3D view. You can create several predefined types of 3D shapes and then edit and arrange them to make a scenery object. You can move, rotate and stretch individual parts of your model, bend them, apply different textures, create holes and indentations and apply other transformations to make even the most complex objects.

There is also a very good video on their website showing the creation of a couple of objects from scratch, how easy does it look!

Download and Installation

Regular Flight1 customers will be familiar with their tried and tested wrapper system. Download the add-on and enter the registration information given to you at the time of purchase and the installation is automated for you. Very simple, very easy and very little chance of you getting anything wrong. The download is only 16mb and should only take a matter of minutes if you have a reasonable internet connection. The purchase price is $29.95 / €23.58 / £18.96 which represents great value for money if you intend to use IOS on a regular basis.

Documentation

For an add-on which delves into the dark art of scenery creation the documentation needs to be good, and it is. The 46 page manual tells you (just about) everything which you need to know to be able to start creating your new objects within FS. What the manual lacks is a tutorial to help get you up and running, this has also been commented on in the Flight1 forums.

My personal goal with IOS was to create objects that I could then save and use in my own airport scenery which I create. I thought that the documentation didn't give enough of a guide about how to do this, thankfully the program developer was more than helpful when I contacted him via Flight1.

Using Instant Object Studio

Starting is simple, load up FS and go to the airport where you would like to create/add an object and select the IOS option from the modules toolbar and you are ready to start creating your object(s).

You've watched the above video to see how easy it is? Forget it. The learning curve is very steep to begin with and the program will take some time to get used to; it took me a few weeks. Once you have got to grips with how IOS works it is fairly simple to create basic shapes and objects. I especially liked how easy it was to create and apply different textures and signs to buildings.

Whilst the interface is easy to use, I found it to also be very fiddly at the same time. Sometimes shapes wouldn't be placed in the position I wanted to and I also suffered quite a few FSX crashes in the process. Thankfully my work was not lost as IOS auto-saves the object you were working on and offers to restore it for you when you re-load.

Whilst I was/am only interested in creating basic objects to enhance airfields there are some fantastically complicated objects which people have created posted in various forums around the internet which show how powerful a tool IOS can be in the right hands. Some of the users explained how they managed to create their objects/shapes and I was surprised at how easy it actually was when you applied a bit of logic to it all.

 
Main interface
picture
Pick and create your textures
picture
Brick House

Saving Your Object

Once your object is created you'll want to save it. I thought that the documentation could have explained the save process in a little more detail, along with some screen-shots. Personally I find it a lot easier to follow a guide which is explaining how to do something when there are pictures there to illustrate what you need to do. It took a while for me to get the hang of getting the objects saved correctly, but once it clicks it's easy enough.

Image taken from Flight1 forums, creator Sid Schwartz

Conclusion

The video on the Flight1 website does show how easy it is to use IOS, but the learning curve to get to that stage is quite steep and may involve an element of frustration.

If you are unsure if this add-on will be to your liking you can download the program to trial it, the only difference between the trial and full version is that you cannot save your objects in the trial.



Verdict



Instant Object Studio is a hugely powerful tool in the correct hands. From looking around internet forums it's easy to see the weird and wonderful shapes which can be created.

I felt that the documentation could have been better with regard to having a tutorial included and screen-shots to help guide the user. That said the documentation is sufficient for walking you through the basic operation of IOS. It's very much a program which you learn more each time you use it.
    • Ease of Use:
    • Features :
    • Documentation:
    • Performance
    • Value for Money:
8.0/10
8.0/10
7.0/10
9.0/10
8.0/10
 

Overall Mutley's Hangar Score for Flight1's Instant Object Studio 8/10


Rob Scott
Review machine Spec:
Intel i7 2600k @3.40GHz | 8GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz |NVidia GTX570 1280MB GFX Card |Windows 7 64bit Home Premium


        
       System Requirements
  • Flight Simulator X or FS2004
  • Windows XP / Vista / Windows7 with the latest Service Packs
  • Pentium 2 GHz (Duo2Core Intel or equivalent advised)
  • 1 Gb RAM (2 Gb recommended)
  • 256Mb graphic card (512 MB recommended)
  • 16Mb Download size
  • A mouse with a mouse wheel required.