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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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You're doing Maya at school, so I'm not sure why you're worried about what you use for experience.

 

Because I wont have Maya forever.

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You need Maya (or Max) experience for industry work. Blender would be for your personal work. Many of the skills will transfer. If you're hoping to find a cheap tool that is widely used in industry, it doesn't exist.

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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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