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Currently doing 3D and i'm not sure if i'm using the right tools

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So I have been doing Game Development for school and I am about to go into 3D modelling for my second semester because I'm interested in environment art and modelling most out of everything. 

At school we are using Maya and Unity to do models and stuff, we dont make actual games until second semester.

 

What i'm trying to get at, maya is expensive. On my personal computer I use blender and unity, and I was looking to learn more programs, but with limited budget, I was looking to more free - cheap programs that would give me more experience. Is blender enough? What other tools and software is good for my field? What will help me the most?

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For 3D modeling, you are also going to need a painting program like Photoshop. Photoshop's pretty much the standard. You can find some free paint programs, but they're probably not going to be nearly as capable or especially as well documented as Photoshop. You're also probably going to need something for Physically Based Rendering materials like Quixel or Substance in order to get the modern look. None of these programs are even close to free, although they don't cost the price of a car like Maya.

 

I haven't done much animation with Blender yet (I'm a huge fan of Blender), but it seems to me that there are other programs out there that are a lot better with animation. I used to use Poser for animation and it seems to me to be a lot easier to use for animation than Blender. Again, Poser and such isn't free and a bit on the expensive side in my opinion.

 

Starting out though, you can do a whole lot with just Blender and a free paint program. Blender by itself is pretty powerful.

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For 3D modeling, you are also going to need a painting program like Photoshop. Photoshop's pretty much the standard. You can find some free paint programs, but they're probably not going to be nearly as capable or especially as well documented as Photoshop. You're also probably going to need something for Physically Based Rendering materials like Quixel or Substance in order to get the modern look. None of these programs are even close to free, although they don't cost the price of a car like Maya.

 

I haven't done much animation with Blender yet (I'm a huge fan of Blender), but it seems to me that there are other programs out there that are a lot better with animation. I used to use Poser for animation and it seems to me to be a lot easier to use for animation than Blender. Again, Poser and such isn't free and a bit on the expensive side in my opinion.

 

Starting out though, you can do a whole lot with just Blender and a free paint program. Blender by itself is pretty powerful.

 

Okay, so me using blender isn't that big of a deal? I keep hearing that blender is not what you want to be using for experience. There seems to be a lot of hate about it.

I can use gimp as a Photoshop alternative, I believe its close to the same. That shouldn't be a problem though because I have Photoshop CC. 

 

Also, do you know any free rendering software? I mean I have to start somewhere to get more experience with it.

Edited by AustinJ

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Amongst 3D modelers Blender is considered the 3rd or 4th best tool depending on who you ask(Excluding 3d sculpting software), It's normally Max, Maya then Blender followed by Cinema 4D (or Cinema 4D before Blender if your focus is animation).

 

A lot of the hate for Blender is for the interface but by the time you are professional you won't be using the interface of any of the 3D software you use, a bad interface does make it harder to learn; so I feel it's not that major factor. 

3d modeling becomes automatic with time, when someone asks me what to press to do a thing I am often as stumped as they are.

The other problem Blender has is it's free, someone who bought Max with out trying Blender first will feel cheated at how much Blender does for free, it won't be strange to hear them say bad things about Blender.

 

When it comes to 3D modeling, creating meshes, UV maping, texturing and exporting, Blender is as good and in some factors better than Max. 3DS Max has a better Spline and boolean modeling workflow. Blender has a better workflow for any other kind of modeling, including Sub-D modeling.(Blender does have more than acceptable spline tools and basic boolean tools.)

Both suck at sculpting.

 

You will notice that I didn't mention Maya and that is because both Max and Blender have better 3D modeling tools. Cinema 4D has very few modeling tools and is the worst to use when making game assets.

 

Max, Maya and Cinema 4D have better animation tools and render tools (In that order), however the rendering you can get around with some basic rendering knowledge and Blender will work for most game animations.

 

https://www.g2crowd.com/categories/3d-modeling  Check here for some reviews, it does include sculpting tools that isn't normally considered, because they are more of a attachment to what you already use. You can use 3D sculpting software to make models for games without other software it's just more difficult than it needs to be.

 

 

Blender is making it's way into the hands of the industry(As a extra tool) it is easy to export with Blender and to make your own exporters for it. 

It's small, free and powerful you will find Blender almost anywhere 3D models are made.

 

If you plan on being a 3D modeler, that is make 3D models and texture them to use in games or other wise, I will recommend Max, Blender, Maya and last Cinema 4D.

If however you wan't to be a animation artist or a 3D artist(Rendering posters and such) then Max, Maya, Cinema 4D and last Blender.

 

Blender is the hardest to learn and hides it's tools, you need to read the Wiki to know how it works. Knowing any 3D software will help you with Blender, each update Blender gets more modeling tools, check the release notes to see what is new.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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I'm not an artist but I use Blender a lot. Most of the people remember Blender as awful version 2.4. Blender changed since then. A lot. Yes, the UI is not the most user-friendly but it's not so horrible as it used to be. In fact, after a while, I find some of its elements really useful ( for example, windows subdivision ). I use Blender at work as well. An artist I work with uses Maya but the whole content anyway goes through scripts which run in Blender and its Blender a tool that spits out the data used by the application. I do a little bit of simple modelling ( mostly mockup models to have something to work with and work out what I will actually need from the artist ) and Blender works for me. I've been using Maya and Max and, as a programmer, I found lots of difficulties - could be it's because the habits I got working with Blender. In Blender, every single UI element is scripted and there's huge API which gives artist/programmer limitless prospects. Being free doesn't mean it's not in use in the industry. Two companies I worked for put Blender somewhere in their content creation pipeline and it did the job like a charm. That would be it of my praising Blender ( yeah, you could call me a fanboy here and if I don't shut up I will be talking about it endlessly :) ).

 

There's more free software that I've seen in a line of work. For example Meshmixer ( http://www.meshmixer.com/ ) that you could use for sculpting. One of the artists I know uses "3D Coat" as well for creating PBR materials ( the amateur version costs $99, not a budget breaker ).

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One thing you will learn as you go is that there isn't always the "right" tool for the job, rather what works for you.  If you are working in school, or a job, or have a very specific need, then maybe yeah there is a requirement to what software you use.  But if it is for personal, hobby, or gamedev use where you get to use whatever you want, then the "right" tool is whatever you can use to get the job done that works best for you personally.  It sounds like in your case(as in mine) money is a big factor.  That means Autodesk stuff is out.  I exclusively use Blender because it is free and more than capable of any 3d modelling job unless you are at the really high end of something.  The same thing goes for texturing...Substance currently offers "Live" which is basically a $20 a month rent to own on their software.  I can afford that, but I wouldn't be able to easily afford licenses all at once, so that is what I do, and the substance suite is great for texturing, including PBR style.  If you don't care for PBR(which is probably a good decision if you are going solo because other styles can be easier to pull off), you can actually do pretty well doing the texture painting directly in Blender.  I for one could never paint textures in 2d, I guess it just isn't very intuitive for me(though many artists do it).

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The Pros all seem to use max and maya, with max probably most common.

 

i've used max, blender, truespace, and others.

 

all decent 3d modeling packages have the same basic capabilities, and techniques like creating rigged wardrobe are the same on all of them, the interface controls and ease of use are just different.

 

so for modeling techniques, you can learn and practice with blender.

 

but for resume bragging rights, you want max or maya saddle time.

 

high modeling skills honed with blender, combined with the basic ability to find your way around the latest version of max or may would probably be enough.  

 

but that still does nothing about the high barrier to entry of the price of max or maya without a student discount, etc.

 

fact is you gotta be richie rich to play with the big boy toys.   : (

 

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste".

 

There would be more max any maya artists if they didn't cost so much.  I feel sorry for those aspiring artists who can't afford them.

 

I've owned max in the past. It was used to make Caveman v1.0 back in 2000.

 

Nowadays, i just use blender. It does what i need, at a price that can't be beat.

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So I have been doing Game Development for school and I am about to go into 3D modelling for my second semester because I'm interested in environment art and modelling most out of everything. 

At school we are using Maya and Unity to do models and stuff, we dont make actual games until second semester.

 

What i'm trying to get at, maya is expensive. On my personal computer I use blender and unity, and I was looking to learn more programs, but with limited budget, I was looking to more free - cheap programs that would give me more experience. Is blender enough? What other tools and software is good for my field? What will help me the most?

+1 on the blender/gimp train. I've been using blender since... maybe 2001 ish? and it's workflow has improved greatly since then. There is a large community of talented artists that share their skills and knowledge through online tutorials. Gimp is easily as good as illustrator(as it is a 2d drawing program) and can match most of photoshop's capabilities as well. you can't beat the price on these 2, and they are more than capable of creating everything you could ask for as far as art assets go.

 

side note: one piece of software i have no problems with price wise is CrazyBump. With that and the wife's dslr I can create beautiful seamless textures(in gimp) and generate normal, occlusion, bump, and spec maps in minutes.

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For creating models you should really be looking at dedicated modelling packages such as ZBrush, Mudbox or 3DCoat.

 

They are more powerful, user-friendly and productive than an all-in-one package - such as Maya - because they are designed to cover only the modelling, sculpting and texturing phase. To top it all off, they are very affordable.  The rest of the process can be finished off in Blender, and still achieve fantastic results.

 

For your situation, I would go with 3DCoat.

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For creating models you should really be looking at dedicated modelling packages such as ZBrush, Mudbox or 3DCoat.

3D sculpting is good for a lot of modeling, however it isn't precise, It would be extremely difficult to make a sports car or a building using only ZBrush.

 

3D sculpting works best for organic forms, although I have used ZBrush for decorative architecture like pillars. Creating finished game ready models using only 3D sculpting software is not recommended.

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For creating models you should really be looking at dedicated modelling packages such as ZBrush, Mudbox or 3DCoat.

3D sculpting is good for a lot of modeling, however it isn't precise, It would be extremely difficult to make a sports car or a building using only ZBrush.

 

3D sculpting works best for organic forms, although I have used ZBrush for decorative architecture like pillars. Creating finished game ready models using only 3D sculpting software is not recommended.

 

I think you misunderstand what I am suggesting here, and will clarify.

 

Our friend already has Blender to cover the low-poly/precision side of modelling, and it does a great job at that.  They honestly do not need better at this stage. If its professional circles for "precision" then they should be looking at experience with 3DS Max or at least Modo.  But once again, those packages are overkill.

 

Although Blender can cover the whole model process - from beginning to end - other packages such as ZBrush and 3DCoat make a lot of difference.  If our friend wants to take 3D modelling to whatever level they desire, then a combination of ZBrush and Blender will allow that, and that combination is far more affordable than just replacing Blender with another general-purpose application, when even those packages cannot compete with ZBrush for sculpting and detail.

 

Once again though, If our friend wants bang-for-buck then 3DCoat is pretty much the "all-rounder" of dedicated modelling applications and the personal edition is about £80. 

Edited by Anri

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