Software designer Ashlar-Vellum Inc. is offering a free beta test-drive of Neon, the company's 3D publishing tool. From now until November 15, 2001, users can download and use the $495 value software free of charge. In addition to its easy-to-use rendering features, Neon enables the publication of any engineering-grade 3D file in the most popular Web and print publishing formats including Macromedia ShockWave 3D, Viewpoint VET, Apple QuickTime, Adobe Illustrator, VRML and more. The application reads Autodesk DXF and DWG, Dassault Systemes Spatial ACIS, PTC Pro/ENGINEER (Windows Only), EDS PLM Solutions ParaSolids, IGES and STEP files among others, enabling precision imports of even the most complex 2D drawings and 3D models. Neon allows designers to both render and/or manipulate 2D and 3D images with photo-realistic results. Fly-by animations, walk-throughs, QuickTime Object VR and QuickTime Panoramic VR animations are just a few of the possibilities Neon brings to the creative process. Neon offers a full complement of rendering tools and capabilities including drag and drop materials, imagemap and procedural textures, soft shadows, visible volumetric lighting effects and ray-trace rendering. The package also features basic 3D object creation tools for lines, surfaces, volumes and text, as well as the Vellum user interface. Neon is available in both Windows (98/Me/NT/2000) and Mac (8.x/9.x) configurations. The free, full-feature Neon test-drive is available to the general public without restriction. To obtain the software, visit the Ashlar-Vellum Website www.ashlar-vellum.com/products/neon.html and follow the instructions for obtaining instant download links and extended beta trial registration codes. Beta trial periods can be extended through the end of 2001 if desired. For those who cannot easily download Neon, a CD version is available for evaluation at a price of $5.00. Ashlar-Vellum is also encouraging comments or suggestions for Neon through an online automated response mechanism and on-line forum located at www.ashlar-vellum.com/forum/elements_forum.html.