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Professor420

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  1. Quote:Original post by brekehan I am currently using Maya 6.0.1 I wasn't very happy with it for what it cost me. The directory hierarchy was very hard to figure out, what is where, and what does what took forever, even after $200 worth of books and videos. I found the interface, especially hypershade and the different "nodes" to be very confusing. When I go to do something like scale an object I am left going, "hmm which one of these 90 nodes on the attribute view has what I am looking for?" Not to be a jerk, but you didn't spend your money wisely. Maya has somewhat of a steep learning curve, but is tremendously powerful and customizable. But you can try Max as well. Quote:Am I correct in that Maya uses OpenGL while 3D Studio Max uses DirectX? If so, am I correct that 3DS Max 2009 uses version 9.0c of DX? Is there any speculation on how much time will pass before they create a 3D modeler specifically for DX10+? Probably a while. They may add in DX10 support/renderers, but it will be a while until there is any real difference for most end users. Quote:Also note, I'd really rather not shell out 1000s for the "officially supported" video cards such as FireGL, or Quadro card, as I've never seen any difference between those and the everyday gaming cards. If anything they have less performance for the dollar, but supposedly better drivers? Most professional users don't use these, but for OpenGL apps, they make a HUGE difference. Not neccessarily an important difference, since it won't allow you to do anything truly different, but Maya and other OGL apps perform much faster with a workstation card, check out some metrics. But not really needed. Quote:So, my question is of course, what am I getting for my extra $1.5k? Bugs? Quote:Which do you guys find easier to integrate with graphics programming and game engines? What's my import/export list going to look like? I've never been successful in getting an .x file out of either, and MS conversion tool didn't work. I am left having to spend months figuring out how to write my own exporter. DO NOT USE .X FORMAT!! Now with that out of the way... Most of the same formats are available for both tools. There's really no difference between newer versions of Max and Maya. As far as what is easier to integrate with game engines, both have their pluses. Both can run dedicated viewports, for example. MEL is stronger than MaxScript and will allow you to do lots, but Max's SDK is more open (so I hear), so if you are mainly using it for pipeline setup and you are a programmer, Max may be better for your purposes. Quote:Which interface do you find to be more intuitive? I have been using Max as a technical artist/animator for the past year after using Maya in college (but starting on Max)... I prefer Maya over Max, but this is highly personal in so many ways. You just need to experiment, it will also matter what sort of work you are doing. Quote:Any stability problems Yes for both :) Quote:Also, what is the community and resources like? Max has more legacy stuff (tutorials, resources (except scripts), etc) than Maya since it was a dominant pro app for a while, but it has been in decline for a while. If you are discussing the new versions, try out both and go for what you like. Honestly, most of the feedback you are going to get is worthless if you don't know exactly what sort of work you are doing and how your mind works. It is a highly subjective matter, until you get into more fine details. If, for example, you are a rigger, Maya is the way to go, without a doubt. If you are modeling hard surface objects, Max MAY have advantages (though many would argue that such isn't true in new versions). That said, I'd encourage you to go Maya, since Max the professional Max community has been seeing an exodus in recent years in favor of Maya.
  2. Do not use the .3ds format. It is very, very old and deprecated.
  3. I am a Pratt Digital Arts/Computer Animation alumni- the program was fucking horrible. I graduated in May 2007 so by the time you go, things may have improved (we had a promising new Chair after many years of alcoholics and interrims). You will probably get the same experience at most art schools, though, their CG programs stink. If you have a choice, do your research- we just hired a few people from Ringling, which if you can get in, I would heartily suggest- one of the only colleges I know of first, second, or third hand, that really has their act together regarding digital arts.
  4. You are asking what opportunities may be available in 5 or 6 years? How can anyone answer that satisfactorily? Just do your thing, bro, and keep making your art. No sense even considering this sort of thing right now.
  5. Get DVD's, go to Workshops (like real VFX workshops, not local university workshops), post your work on forums like polycount.com. Having gone through the 4 year school, you could teach yourself on your own much faster. The degree is important for the sake of having a degree- you already have a degree, so you just need the skills.
  6. Hi GDNET, For the past couple months, myself, along with Adam Pletcher and Jason Hayes from Volition (and our web admin, Bjorn Waumans), have been working on a website for technical artists, www.tech-artists.org. I just want to extend the invite out there to anyone who may be interested in it. The forum is the heart of the site- there are forums for tools/pipeline, shaders and rendering, Python/Scripting (Adam Pletcher, a co-founder, is a real expert in the field and has given GDC talks on it), rigging, and of course your usual General Discussion and Suggestions forums. Stop by and introduce yourself!. TAO also features a blog, that all registered Devs should be able to post at. To register as a Dev, just PM an admin. (FAQ). The Wiki is the third area of TAO. It has a good amount of content so far and it is rapidly growing. Please help it grow by adding what you can to it- ideally when someone gives you a thorough answer, or you give someone a thorough answer, it should be written up for the Wiki to help others with the same question, and just as importantly, allow others to expand upon the answer. We are also running a competition to celebrate the opening. I hope to see some of you around the forums. Since this is a technical art site, it'd be especially helpful to have programmers there. It will also be a nice resource for you indies who may have technical questions for artists. -Rob Galanakis
  7. I did some photoshop tutorials a while ago on an introductory level for modders: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=387
  8. Quote:Original post by nick5454 My question is I heard Maya is for high end modeling and 3d studio is cheaper with focus on game modeling( low poly). This is no longer true and hasn't been for years. Yet people keep saying it. Maya's poly and sub-d modeling support has grown leaps since Maya 5 or so and some modelers I know prefer it to Max, especially with the NEX plugin. If you are modeling, it doesn't matter what you use, it is easy enough to bring models from one to the other. Quote:Is this true? I plan on making games, but at the same time I want to be able to create high end models if needed for projects at work which need to be extremely detailed. ( My home version will be educational since i'm going to school part time ) Both will be able to handle your needs. If you were doing something involving lots of animation or pipeline, Maya is the way to go. Max has more stuff 'built in' and is probably easier to use at first, but Maya's is ultimately more powerful because all its systems can work together correctly. If you are an animator, use Maya, if you are a modeler, use whatever is easier for you. Character setup (rigging) is MUCH easier in Maya if you are going to make a custom rig, or need a good canned rig (Setup Machine). Max has Biped, which is complete shit but is easy for quick stuff and pretty easy to learn. You'll find Max has an easier learning curve but Maya is a limitless toolbox.
  9. Only having read through a couple posts, but as one of the few professional game artists on this forum: Autodesk doesn't check (as stated). Nor do they care if you are using illegal software. Many industry analysts (there aren't too many though, so take this lightly) have attributed much of the success of 3dsmax and its wide adoption to the ease in which it could be pirated and found. The same is often said of other software (MS Rep: "If people are going to pirate, we'd rather they pirate Microsoft software" to paraphrase). The truth is, piracy is rampant, and Autodesk really doesn't care because they make their money on the enterprise/commercial level (as stated). As for the practicalities of the situation: If you don't have the money for the software or are starting out, no one is really going to care even if they find out you are using pirated software. If you are freelancing professionally, once you get enough cash you should buy the software- no one would really ever know, but at that point, people will start to put you on the shitlist and call you dishonest if you are found to use pirated software. If you are working in a studio, some has licenses where you can use your 3D program from home. If they don't, and you pirate, generally people don't care, as you aren't making money from it. The real factor is whether you are making money- if you are pirating (and there is no difference between pirated software, using the Student version for commercial work, or eternally using a trial) and using the software to make money, you are really stealing. If you are not making money, morally and ethically people don't really care. Everyone does it, everyone knows everyone does it, and the world would be a worse place if they didn't. That said, if there are cheap or non-commercial alternatives available to you, take them. I'd suggest Blender or XSI Mod Tool, if you want something better, then go the next step up of XSI. It, unlike Blender or C4D, is actually taken seriously in the games industry.
  10. The only way to 'morph' is with the same vert count. So the new model will need to be made from the same mesh as the old one. (no way around this AFAIK, it is how it is done in films as well, but they have the aid of animated displacement maps) There are other practical considerations, as well- how about UV's? If the morphing is extreme, the texture will have serious stretching, you will also need to morph UV's- what as these UV's morph, what happens to their underlying maps? You may need to not morph the UV's, but have two different sets, and LERP between the textures if they are different. Finally and important, morph targets work linearly. If one statue goes from arms crossed to arms above head, it will not work- the verts will move in a linear fashion, intersect, turn inside out, etc. Your best bet for this is, for example going from a woman status in prayer, to a warrior statue with arms raised, is to model each (from the same start mesh!!!) in a T or biker pose. Skin them up and deform them into their statue pose with Bones (you can rotate and translate, do not scale though). At this point, if you are making a high-res model, you can make it in the statue pose. Also, the UV's can be different, but they will both need to be passed into the shader. Create a blendshape from one model to another IN THE BIND POSE. You'll also need to save out the animation from the one model's pose into the other model's pose. Then to blend from one to the other, at the start you would have: Blendshape weight: 0 Animation Time: 0 Texture LERPing (both need to be sampled): 0 (first texture only) at the middle: Blendshape weight:.5, it would be halfway deformed between the two Animation Time: .5, it would be halfway through the pose-to-pose animation Texture LERPing: .5 (this won't look perfect, it will be a bit blurry and indistinct right now, but it won't have errors) At the end: (obvious enough so I won't list) To do a complete statue/character morph, you will need at least the first two (blendshape and skeletal animation) and the last if they have unique textures.
  11. Max is no longer more widely used than Maya. If you were to poll all the AAA studios, you'd be surprised to find how few Max studios there are remaining at the top tiers, and many of the larger studios are in the middle of a transition to Maya (such as Blizzard, which is using Max for WoW still, but Maya for its coming MMO). Studio-count wise they may still be equal, because lots of small studios are using Max, but as far as seats go, I would be amazed if Max outsells Maya licenses on the gaming front, at least in Europe and North America. I've gone over the reasons why people are switching before, I just wanted to point this out to dismiss this notion that keeps getting propogated about Max and games. For your purposes though, just getting into games, it makes no difference, choose what is comfortable. Having interviewed a few people recently, the topic of software experience has come up when considering candidates and every time it is probably the least influential factor (even our Lead Technical Artist came from Maya, not having used Max for 7 years or something- and there is probably no position more reliant on the software than technical artist, and if it didn't matter there, it doesn't matter anywhere. Try both, see what you like. Odds are if your English isn't so good, you can find more non-English tutorials for Max.
  12. Textures aren't embedded in .3ds files. Also you can use any major and almost any minor 3d program to import .3ds files.
  13. Max 2008 is a HUGE improvement over Max 9, you should really consider getting it even if you don't see the reasons right away, they will quickly become apparent.
  14. There are two envelopes. The darker red is the 'end' of the influence, on the outside. The lighter red is the beginning of the fading of the influence, so everything inside this should be almost 1 weighted to the bone. Right now you have the inner evelope extremely small, and the calf inner evelopes is probably encompassing those verts. Which means, no matter how large you make the thigh outer envelope, won't matter- adjust the inner envelopes as well. The built-in 3dsmax tutorials cover most of this well, I'd suggest going through them. And then once you can use Skin Envelopes, you'll realize you may as well just assign vert weights yourself :)
  15. I think you're right. Anyway: Quote:You also should not allow any of the high poly model showing through your low poly, this will cause the rays to miss, producing errors in your normal map. That is incorrect. While sometimes you choose to cast 'out' or cast 'in' (it just flips the ray the low-poly surface is casting to find the high-poly point), you generally cast both ways, which is what the OP is doing. Make sure your "Bump" value on your standard material is set to 100, not the default of 30. The errors on the feet/legs and fingers are from your casting/cage. You are hitting different geo than you intend. For the legs, fix the cage, for the hands, I tend to just paint them out unless you need to be meticulous. To get a good cage, go to "Reset" on the cage modifier, then "Push" the minimum amount you can to get the cage above your mesh. Areas of the cage that interpenetrate with mesh you want to fix manually, with some soft selection or whatever. As far as the cage goes in general, think of it this way: each 'point' on your low-poly surface (actually pixel but let's just say point) casts out a ray, by default along its normal (or casts in a ray along its inverted normal). When you have a cage, you adjust the way the ray goes. Instead of just going along its normal, it goes from its point on the mesh to the corresponding point on the cage, and returns whatever the normal is where it hits the hi-poly mesh. So for places like the webbing of the fingers, if we shoot along the normal we very quickly inter-penetrate other geometry on the lo and hi poly and things become a mess... we can use the cage to control exactly where and how far these rays shoot, so we don't get those nasty errors you have on your normal map. The hair seam looks like it is a resolution issue. I can't quite tell with certainty, but it looks like at the seam you have an area of the UV map meet with another area that has about 4x the resolution... even this out, fix your UV layout, whatever, just make sure the 'checkboard' you apply to check your UV's is pretty consistent at the seam.