Sharks vs Dolphins animated 3D action on your Mac

Which is better, Sharks or Dolphins? I know which most people would rather meet when swimming in the ocean, but here we are talking about two apps in the Apple Mac App Store. Dolphins 3D Lite and Sharks 3D are two programs from the same developer, 3Planesoft, and they are both excellent, but one is better than the other.

The apps show either dolphins or sharks swimming in the sea and they work in either wallpaper or screen saver modes. In wallpaper mode, the desktop wallpaper is replaced by an animated image of an underwater view that you might get if you were scuba diving in the ocean.

Dolphins 3D Lite is set in a shallow sea and you can sea the surface above and sunbeams can be seen slicing through the water. Below is the sea bed and this is animated because your position is constantly moving. Dolphins swim around, disappearing into the murky distance, swimming across from one side to the other, or coming up behind you and swimming over your head.

Sharks 3D is set in deeper water and the sea bed is not visible, but you can see light playing on the surface above. Sharks swim around, across the screen from one side to the other, into and out of the screen, and so on.

The quality of the graphics and animation is so good it looks real. It looks like you are watching a video rather than an animation and it is superb. It is only animation, but you have to see it to really understand how good it is.

In wallpaper mode, Sharks and Dolphins replace the desktop wallpaper, so they swim around the windows and apps on the desktop. An icon is added to the menu bar at the top of the screen and this enables the app to be switched to screen saver mode. This hides the menu bar, dock and open windows and runs full screen. The first time you do this you will be so amazed at the quality you will just sit back and watch it for 10 minutes. It is fascinating.

Looking at the last update date in the Mac App Store, Dolphins clearly came first and Sharks is a newer app with many more features. Sharks simply has a lot more to it and is a more powerful app.

In the Dolphins preferences you can set the ocean floor detail, turn antialiasing (a graphics quality setting) on or off, enable or disable bubbles and dolphin sounds, and set the timer for the screen saver mode.

In the Sharks preferences you can set the camera to static or dynamic, following the sharks. There are options to turn on/off seaweeds, schools of fish, pilot fish and remoras. Pilot fish follow sharks around and remoras are sucker fish that attach themselves to sharks.

Running full screen animations is not good for the battery life of a MacBook, so there is an option to use battery save mode or to pause the app. There is also a low CPU load option when on mains power too. My MacBook hovered around 9% CPU in normal mode according to Activity Monitor and dropped to 6% CPU when the low CPU load mode was selected.

The effect of the app on CPU power and battery life is noticeable and using it as wallpaper on a low powered Mac is not recommended when you are using battery power. It is something to keep an eye on. You can always simply run it when you want to sit back and enjoy it, and quit when you have finished.

There is an interesting mode with these apps that enable you to control the camera view. It is like swimming with dolphins and sharks, and you can look up and down, turn around and so on. You have all the fun of swimming with sharks, but without the danger of being eaten.

Sharks 3D has in-app-purchases. Bull sharks are free, but others like blue sharks, sand sharks, hammerhead sharks and others, bust be purchased as add-ons. The free app shows open ocean, but you can also purchase a sandy bottom, an old bomber that has crash landed and sunk to the bottom, or an old submarine that has sunk and is rusting away. Sharks and scenes cost £1.49 each here in the UK Mac App Store, or $1.99 in the US store.

Dolphins 3D Lite and Sharks 3D are simply for your enjoyment. They will not make your Mac faster or enable you to work better. They are just for fun and they are very entertaining. As you can probably tell, I really like these two apps and I think you will too. Sharks is the better of the two.

Title: Dolphins 3D Lite
Price: Free
Developer: 3Planesoft
Size: 14.2 MB
Version: 1.1.0
OS X: 10.6.6 or later

Title: Sharks 3D
Price: Free
Developer: 3Planesoft
Size: 129 MB
Version: 1.2.0
OS X: 10.6.6 or later, 64-bit processor

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I like these. Thanks

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