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Mantle

Your advice on programs for 3d modeling

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Hi all, I was wondering what you all would say is the best program to use for 3d models for characters?? I started to use POSER 5. I liked how it gave you models to tweak, but I dont know if it is capable of accesorizing the characters (suit jackets, etc). I also didnt like how the models acted like clay that can easily get twisted up. Note that I am an extreme novice in 3d modeling. My question is what is the best, simplest, and most easiest to obtain (p2p, free download, etc). I want something that rocks....and perhaps has instructional books either in the program or at the bookstore. Also, what do you all recommend for 3d level design. I have Maya 6 on my computer. Is this what you all would go with?? With both aspects of 3d modeling (characters and levels) I'd like to have a good selection of textures and options. Any of your help is appreciated. Later. [Edited by - Mantle on January 3, 2005 4:05:06 PM]

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Maya rocks for both character modeling and for making levels.
Start with the great manuals and tutorials that came in the software box.

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There are other modeling programs out there, such as:

Wings3D (Free)
Milkshape 3D (trial)
Rhino3D (trial)
Game Studio 6 (free, pay for upgrade)
Unwrap 3D (demo)

Of all these programs however, Maya is probably by far the best and widely used by professionals as it can animate, render environments, and character models all in one. It was used to create all the animated scenes in Spiderman 2 the movie for instance. ;)

If your going to learn how to render your better off learning it with Maya and getting used to how to use it then to use other programs that don't have all of the needed features or quality.

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A freeware program I use for making models is Blender:

http://www.blender3d.org

Tutorials (PDF) are listed on the site.

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There's also lightwave and 3d studio max (the free alternative is Gmax)

While they do cost money, you can get an old version of lightwave, or it's demo if you're clever.

Honestly, I don't see a problem with milkshape. It's pretty simplistic enough, and if you're using proper creation methods, shouldn't run into any problems. I believe that Softimage XSI and Maya both have free "watered-down" versions though, so you might try those.

Keep in mind that the industry standard for games used to be 3d studio max. But, lightwave has jumped out on to the scene recently, with games like Serious Sam. Maya tends to be used for full animations, not really for games, but the excessive occurance of cut scenes has caused Maya to gear some of it's program towards gaming, and it has taken off with wonderful results.

I would say 3d max and maya are tied for the game standard, with lightwave sort of being the x box of the group. Max is PS2 cause it's been around in the game market for longer so it has experience, Maya is Gamecube because it's new, innovative, and more powerful, but aims at a smaller audience. Lightwave is like X-box, it looks really good on paper, and those who use it love it, but it doesn't have much to convince the people using the other two to switch.

Hope that helps.

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My little coin : Use whatever fits to your current needs . It is good enough as long as you don´t run into a limit. All of those told packages have their pros and cons . I have seen fabulous stuff made with Blender . And crap made with 3ds max . In the end it´s the one with the mouse in its hand . And it really depends of what you try to do with it . Makes no sense to pay lots of money and bite you through the interface of lightwave for example when you just want to render a few cubes . Characters can be made by a few cubes ... ;)

3D also is a very complex field. Which could mean that you probably use Software like Silo for modeling, Hash Animation Master for animation , an special Unwrapper for texturing , and Lightwave for rendering the final result . Not to forget post processing in Software like Photoshop . All those fabulous rendered Movies were made with more than one tool and by more than one artist :)

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