I just received my copy within this past week. I really find it a very useful tool. It is like a combination of using a book, watching a video and playing a video game.
First I want to say that there is an introduction which states that "Aikido3D is a training aid designed to complement your Aikido training journey." So the point of this video is NOT meant to replace dojo train just supplement it.
Nage / Uke Features: There are about two different features related to nage and uke. First, you can turn nage and uke on and off (my fave and most useful IMO). Second, you can turn their hakamas on and off.
I loved the ability to turn uke and nage off. Let's say I just want to watch nage's movement without the distraction of uke's. I can just click off uke and watch nage. And the same goes vice versa. And just watch the uke. If you want to see the ukemi from Donovan Waite's ukemi videos put in action just turn the nage off. Now, the ukemi portion is not explained, but the creators were apparently aware of this and stated in the introduction that if you want to develop your ukemi more to purchase the videos.
I also enjoyed turning the hakamas off so I can see the foot work more.
There are three options front, top and follow. In the front and top portions you have the addtional feature of zooming and rotating your view. So if you are watching from the front and you want to see the view from the back you can rotate the view 180 degrees. If you want to see the view from the side you can rotate the view 90 degrees. If you want to see a specific point you can rotate and zoom. I found the top view really helpful to watch hip rotation and hand placement. And this is a view you can't even get in a dojo. Unless you're sitting up on beams directly above your sensei and how many of us really can do THAT in our own dojo? The follow feature is nice, but you don't have control over where you follow. But it's my best guess that the creators choose to show the important points.
Description of the techniques:
There are two types: Written and Commentary
You can play the commentary by Donovan Waite Sensei as you watch. When you have the commentary turn on the technique continues to cycle until you press pause or turn it off. I would play this a few times then turn it off for my own personal exploration. There is written explanation of the technique on the left hand side of the screen and it's not a mere repeat of the commentary. Also, the written explanation goes into more detail.
Also a nice feature right below the written instructions is a place you can write your own personal notes.
Center Radials and Nage Footprints:
The Center Radials are useful to watch hip rotation and the nage foot prints and useful to more clearly see how nage moves in relation to uke. When the footprint feature was on I would pause and trace uke's line of movement. It was very helpful to see the angles and position of nage. I had a couple of "a-ha" moments just using this feature.
Overall I really enjoy this training tool and I think it will be helpful for the beginner to learn the basic movement and for the more advanced to look at the details of things like angles or hip rotation. An advanced pracitioner will be able to more deeply explore the basic techniques and a beginning practitioner will be able to learn the basic form and movement of the techniques.
I really wish I had this as a kyu rank or even for my 1st kyu test as I think it would have been very helpful to have the ability to see details that you just can't see on a video or book. I think Aikido3D does a great job of explaining and demonstrating the basic techniques and when used right can be a useful tool for more advanced practitioners. As a more advanced practitioner I really could visually analyze the technique over and over. However, I would like to see some advanced techniques demonstrated which also include henka waza, kaeshi waza, tachi tori, jo nage and jo tori as well as randori which are all part of the dan requirements. Perhapst this could be good content for an Aikido3D Vol.2?
Regarding the technology:
Oh, visually, as a side note. I play video games and the movement was very akin to this. I think some limitations of Aikido3D is related to the technology rather than the skill of the instructor. Donovan Waite has very fluid and strong technique and the motion capture does not fully "capture" this; however, it does so significantly enough to still be a very useful tool. Perhaps as this technology improves then the 3D image movement will improve.