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dimitri_gamer

"Which 3D modeller to use?"- The most commonly asked question needs an article....

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O.K, this is the deal, I''ve decided to work on an article for gamedev that goes someway to answering that question. "Which 3D modeller?". Obviously I haven''t tried every 3D program under the sun so am not always in the best position to say to someone, (for instance) "use Maya" when I haven''t used it before. I''ve dabbled in Bryce and Blender briefly and have used TrueSpace 3 extensively, I''m now in the thick of things with 3D Studio Max. What I need is some other contributing comments from people that have used other programs. The larger the diversity of software the better. I want the reader of the article to decide which one is best for them, so in a way I want mini reviews of the software, including pros and cons, ease of use, price, features etc... The article will be compiled by me but any quotes will be credited with your name. I feel GameDev needs this at the moment because it''s very programer orientated. So you artists out there tell me what you think. -------------------------- "640K ought to be enough for anybody." -Bill Gates 1981

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I am migrate from progr -> arts ;-)

The best is 3dstudio-max, if you have a decent hardware. Even more, 3ds-max is very good if you have a sidescroll mouse (if you have a opticall ms-intellimouse is better).

truespace sux!

In any case, you also need a good 2d programs such a photoshop (like it), paintshoppro, and more. You cannot made texture using paintbrush (puaaaaj). May download a good shareware from paintshoppro and work with it (if you don''t have much money).


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Guest Anonymous Poster
how bout milkshape? It''s a decent modeller for low-poly stuff. Very easy to use. I haven''t made anything big with it, but I''ve seen some pretty nice screenshots. And it''s so easy to use in opengl thanks to the file format.

Also, Poser''s pretty cool, too. You can make a decent-looking male or female in seconds using this program.

Don''t forget to include prices. Sure, 3D studio max is an excellent program, but I don''t know too many people that will pay 3 or 4 thousand dollars for it.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
TrueSpace is an *excellent* 3d TOOL!

It requires getting used to (the controls), but you don''t need much technical knowledge and such to use it. Its like clay modelling!

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I just *LOVE* Blender. OK, so I don''t have any experience with other programs- but this program is so useful and its..... free!! Completely free. It''s a bit hard to get control of, though.b Recommended!

www.blender.nl

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Isn''t Blender shareware. Correct me repeatedly if I''m wrong. Throwing another program in the mix. Hash Animation Master. It''s mainly targeted at character animation using spline based patches. I created an exporter for it to the xof format, textures and color included. You can download that at http://members.v3space.com/sillypickle. Anyway, it has an SDK that alows you to display models from the original model format, meaning you can scale the detail level and run bone animations and use bones directly.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
No.
Blender is 100% freeware. I think they earn their cash from the manuals they''re selling.

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I could never understand blender, the interface didn''t warm up well to me. Truespace was OK but trying to move the camera around is retarded. I wish the movement could be done with just the mouse buttons like in UnrealED(not a modeler I know). I just getting 3D Studio Max, so I''ll see how that works out.

"Nukeuler....it''''s pronounced nukeuler..." - Homer Simpson

"Where is that thing.........
...for digging.....food?"
"A spoon?"
"Yeah, yeah."

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I personally use Strata3D, mainly cuz it''s straightforward and you can get a free full version of it (without any of the special effects tools). But if you dabble, like me, it''s pretty good.

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I can''t use Blender... End of story
plus, it seems to crash a lot on my PC

My personal favorite is Rhino3D... I have yet to see a better interface, in ANY program... but it''s designed more for NURBS modelling and not poly-based modelling, so it''s not neccessarily the best for games...

As one always open to try new things, thoguh, Where can you get this "Strata3d"?

--Tr][aD--

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I also prefer Strata3D over Blender.
The controls were easier to figure out, and the animation tools are not that bad, either.
The bad side is the lack of online tutorials, I had to figure it all out myself. The program is free, but the manual will cost you, and I opted to skip the manual.
You can get it at www.strata.com
I also use Bryce4, for now, getting Bryce5 this fall. It''s suppose to have more support for organic modelling, so that will be nice. The good thing about Bryce is the immense amount of information and tutorials online for it.
It''s hard to say which has better animation tools, Strata3D or Bryce4. They both are pretty easy to animate with.
I''ve also tried that OpenFX that someone posted about a while ago. It''s not bad for modeling, but I don''t like the job it does of rendering.
I''d love to try Lightwave, 3DMax, or Maya, but those are way beyond my budget.
Just my opinions.

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Please do not count out all of the "lesser known" software too. You definately should include programs such as Milkshape, Blender, 3D Studio Max, Maya, Lightwave, TrueSpace, and other bigger name programs...
But you also need info on the lesser known programs such as Nendo, Mirai, MultiGen, Softimage, and others...

I would suggest splitting the section up into 2 seperate parts - one for beginners, and one for advanced. Part for the people who have never touched 3D before, and just want to get their feet wet, and part for the people who already know what they are doing but just want to learn more.

Personally I would love to read an article stating the differences between the polygon tools of the high end software (Maya, 3D Studio Max, Softimage). How does Houdini match up? How good are the rendering abilities of Mirai? Things of this nature. But I guess that I am asking for a little too much.... Good luck with the article.

-Luxury

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Blender is the program I mainly use. The sheer number of buttons available is daunting at first, but this makes it very powerful once you''ve got the hang of it. It can do many things, including panoramic rendering, animation, and (a recent addition) radiosity, though they can''t make it animate that at the moment. It has a very useful screen with "Ipo curves", a graph plotted of the orientation, position and size of an object. You can make an object animate by editing the Ipocurves directly, which can be far more accurate that using just keyframes, but Blender also supports these.

Before I discovered Blender, I used Bryce 2 for a short time. It''s an excellent program to teach 3D principles to newbies, but it becomes very limited very quickly, and the version I used seemed particularly inefficient in it''s object structure - a scene would end up taking ten minutes just to render a preview with a few blocks and a landscape. The problem with Bryce is it''s very high level, and uses solid objects and boolean operations but doesn''t allow low level editing of stuff like polygons.(Note that I last used Bryce several years ago. They''ve probably improved it a lot since then)

I also messed with freeware stuff like PovRay and sPatch, but found them very limited and gave up after a couple of days of experimenting.

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I''m no arty expert but that Amapi program is pretty nice, espescially since version 4.15 is freely available.

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As a curiosity question, if the idea was to discuss the capabilities of a particular modeller as a tool for game design, why would it''s rendering capabilities mean anything?

quote:

(about Blender) The sheer number of buttons available is daunting at first, but this makes it very powerful once you''ve got the hang of it...



You should see my workspace for Rhino. I''m rather certain it has more buttons, but the buttons LOOK more logical, and give you tips as to what they do... They''re much less daunting than Blender, and rather easy to figure out how to use. Whereas with Blender, I have no clue what a button does and no reasonable way to find out. The movement/rotation/etc system is, frankly, annoying, and I''m "quite disappointed" that it only uses a single viewport. I would HOPE there are ways to at least change it, but Rhino starts up in 4-viewport mode, and labels each, which is much easier to work with. Also... who the heck wrote that menu system??

quote:

Before I discovered Blender, I used Bryce 2 for a short time. It''s an excellent program to teach 3D principles to newbies, but it becomes very limited very quickly, and the version I used seemed particularly inefficient in it''s object structure - a scene would end up taking ten minutes just to render a preview with a few blocks and a landscape. The problem with Bryce is it''s very high level, and uses solid objects and boolean operations but doesn''t allow low level editing of stuff like polygons.



Bryce is not a modeller. Bryce is a render engine, and a good one at that. It''s main three drawbacks are a lack of any particle system, no way to use UV coordinates for texture mapping, and an animation model that is basically limited to what you can do with a modelview matrix. At least I have never figured out how to make actual animations in it... It is excellent, however, for rendering still images, althoguh I''ll agree that it can be rather slow. To those having trouble speed-wise, simplify your textures! The more complicated the procedural texture, the more phase you add, and the more of them you use... the slower it renders...

--Tr][aD--

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Ok, it is a forum from game and arts so, we talk about low-poly..

The main tools for low-poly is :
-extrude
-multiple cameras for put a "eye-drop" in the backgroud.
-cut
-texture management.

It is for beginner and expert.



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i''ve played with maya when i went to visit a 3d house, and man does it kick a55! I wish i could afford the 5 grand for just the basic edition (i think its $30,000 for full!!?). The one best thing i liked with it is its simple camera control. just hold down alt and a combination of mouse buttons! its simple but effective. going back to programs like truespace or max is bad after using maya . I''ve always wondered why makers of modellers can''t make camera control easier...its an important thing.

Houdini.....scary..... its too techincal to be useful. In the movie FX industry its mainly used for its advanced particles.
BTW- i wouldn''t call softimage a "lesser known" pacakge...

-----------------------------
-cow_in_the_well

''When in doubt, empty your magazine.'' - Murphy''s Combat Law

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I wouldn''t call Sotimage a lesser known program either - but when it comes to game developers, it''s almost non-existent. Of course they have tried to fix that with their new SDK''s, and all of that - but it is still very unusual for a game company to say "yeah, we use Softimage or XSI". I love Softimage, and when it comes to character animation, there is no program better.

And as for Houdini - I know that it is WAY too high-end for any game company, most VFX houses, and me . Too much math. I have a friend who used to use it, but the discussion isn''t only about game making - the topic is "Which 3D modeller?" That''s a pretty general question, and who knows? Maybe Houdini is the best choice for your project (I can''t imagine your project!)

-Luxury

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LightWave has the best modeller I know, but I haven''t seen Maya or other big stars. LW has nice, easy controls. At least compared to 3DS Max R3. I''m quite good modeller, but I just can''t understand Max. It has very stupid interface.

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as a question... how many people reading this have actually used Rhino? Am I the only one?

I''ve never seen Maya, but Rhino''s camera controls are very sensical and easy-to-use... and as this discussion seems to be showing, ease-of-use if often better than power when picking a modeller, and most of that factor is in the interfae... I have yet to see ANY modeller with a better interface than Rhino

www.rhino3d.com Get a free demo!

--Tr][aD--

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I''m afraid I must disagree strongly with Triad. If you find Blender frustrating, you simply haven''t experimented with it long enough.

It is in fact very powerful in modelling as well as rendering, and has many useful tools that other programs don''t provide. Things like the "remdoubles" command I have yet to see in any other app, and it is invaluable when making complex models with polygons.

Blender actually has four different rotation systems, and I find it hard to believe you didn''t find one you could use easily among them.

Blender can easily be made to provide as many simultaneous different views of a scene as you want, just split the window and select a different view for each one.

Blender does have a basic tooltips system, but relying on that isn''t in my opinion the correct way to learn it. You have to use tutorials, and buying the manual (which costs only slightly more than the average computer game, and a lot less than 3DSM) also helps.

The problem is that most 3D modellers you can dive straight into and create a crude scene in a couple of minutes after installing them. With Blender, you MUST start small and work your way up.

This is because Blender is designed for very precise use, and as a consequence one thing it doesn''t do is lend itself towards improvisation, which is the way many people often work.

With Blender, you should plan your scene carefully on paper before you start modelling. Do third angle projection, isometric sketches, anything that helps get clear in your mind what you''re trying to do. Only then can you hope to do a decent job of modelling it. This does apply to any 3D program, but it is especially important for Blender.

Everybody here seems to worship simple, basic controls. This is good when you''re starting out, but one day you''ll try to do something really complex and find the controls of your program simply aren''t flexible enough.

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...and I must (politely) disagree with you. IMO, if a modeller takes days or weeks to learn how to use it, it's not a well-written modeller. I like a modeller I can install and be using in minutes. If I have to sit and stare at it and think, "Now how the heck do I use this thing", it's a bad modeller.


Strata Advice:
Don't use strata... Don't even THINK about using strata... Don't even think about THINKING about using strata...

I installed it, started it, and wondered where I was supposed to model. OK, File-
Access Violation

Major points off (score is now deep in the red)

Okay, so I hit 'close'... only it doesn't... I go to task manager and try to close it... it still doesn't...
Eventually, I had to REBOOT to get rid of it... even "Log Off" which usually closes anything, crashed or not, was unsuccessful...

It was promptly uninstalled


This is just my opinion. If strata works for you, wel then... good for you. As for me, I never plan on touching the thing ever again.

Anyone reading this that hasn't already, please go to www.rhino3d.com and get yourself a free demo of Rhino. You won't regret it...

...and for those that wonder why I, a poor miserable game programmer ( ) support this software... it's because it's under $1k ($195 if you're a student), and used by major industry giants to design really expensive thing... like cars (Ford), shoes (adidas), and boats... and I'm not kidding, go to the site and check it out! Plus, it runs great on just about any PC, even with absolutely no graphics acceleration.

"You have to read the manuals" is also a terrible way to have to learn a program, IMO... and I COMPLETELY fail to see why "dive right in" is a bad thing... "Dive right in" means the program is easier to use... as long as there are features above and beyond the easiest ones (like basic primitives), there's nothing wrong with this kind of program. Does the fact that it takes me ten minutes to figure out how to move an object mean that that program moves objects better than another? I think just the opposite is true, in fact. Blender's system of moving, sizing, rotating, etc. is crude and imprecise. I guarantee you that Ford motor company wouldn't design a car using Blender when a single object being misaligned by as litle as a hundredth of an inch will ruin a $10,000 (MFR cost) car.

btw: big companies don't like hard-to-learn programs. You know why? Eiser to learn=less training time=less lost productivity=more $$ ...and you shouldn't either, for about the same reasons...

oh, one other thing... Rhino also has an SDK out there (or at least has one coming soon, I've gotten a bit behind 'recent') so you can write (or DL) your own tools if the built-in ones aren't sufficient... of course, if I understand ight, Blender is open-source, so maybe that's the same difference... but with Rhino, you're also getting tech support, and I've had dealings with the Rhino people... they're quite friendly, prompt, and can often get you answers, whereas I believe blender is oficially unsupported. Sure, you can get support, but it has zero legal backing.

...if you still want to tell me I'm wrong, get Rhino and try it, then tell me WHY I'm wrong, with specific reasons comparing the two programs.. I've used both. Have you?

--Tr][aD--

Edited by - TrIaD on July 4, 2001 5:30:10 PM

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Some good feed back, thanks...

quote:

-Captain Insanity


If you find Blender frustrating, you simply haven''t experimented with it long enough.

It is in fact very powerful in modelling as well as rendering, and has many useful tools that other programs don''t provide. Things like the "remdoubles" command I have yet to see in any other app, and it is invaluable when making complex models with polygons.

Blender actually has four different rotation systems, and I find it hard to believe you didn''t find one you could use easily among them.

Blender can easily be made to provide as many simultaneous different views of a scene as you want, just split the window and select a different view for each one.

Blender does have a basic tooltips system, but relying on that isn''t in my opinion the correct way to learn it. You have to use tutorials, and buying the manual (which costs only slightly more than the average computer game, and a lot less than 3DSM) also helps.

The problem is that most 3D modellers you can dive straight into and create a crude scene in a couple of minutes after installing them. With Blender, you MUST start small and work your way up.



This is the kind of thing I''m looking for to quote in my article. Explain your reasoning as to why you like the software, but don''t sit their praising it all the time, point out it''s faults as well.

Has anyone here used Maya? If not I think I''ll have to download the demo before I write the article, finding the time to use it though is another thing. I can already see that there are going to be debates as to which is the best modeller, I''ll say this now though, there is no stand out modeller that offers everything ie. powerfull, easy to use, well priced.

Keep those replies comming...

--------------------------
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." -Bill Gates 1981

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