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3D Modeling Mac - Next step from Sketchup

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by LERsince1991, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. macrumors 65816


    So I've decide its time to learn a better 3D modeling software package than Sketchup.

    Would anyone be able to help me look at the options?

    I'm running a Macbook, going to study architecture at uni so would be good for the program to be used in that industry so I have a head start.

    Came across the following main apps for architecture but these are windows.
    - Rhino, 3DS Mac, AutoCAD
    others are maya and solidworks.

    My current workflow is Sketchup to model -> Hypershot to render -> Photoshop to retouch and enhance.

    P.S. Don't worry about the price I think I can get the software through my uni soon.

  2. macrumors 65816


    I first learnt Rhino, and even though it was my first step in 3D, I found it very intuitive. In about 10 hours I could do some relatively complex modeling. It's good for NURBS, and more generally speaking, designing, and that's it. Don't think of Rhino as a substitute for Autocad.
  3. macrumors 65816

    I've had (little) experience with ArchiCAD, which to me is more advanced that AutoCAD, which isn't Mac compatible anyway... but I still prefer ArchiCAD

    You can get a 1 year free Education version of ArchiCAD as you are a Student ArchiCAD Education Registration

    I'd be interested to see what Uni offers/say as most of the work there was done through AutoCAD.

    P.S This is my very first ArchiCAD drawing, drawn completely from scratch and to scale. It's out Bungalow which we’ve recently inherited and had extended. It's somewhat basic but you MUST start to learn the basics before you go into creating curtain walls, multi-stories etc.

    Attached Files:

    • 2.jpg
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  4. macrumors 65816

    You have my pm so no point repeating it all here but I'll add this.

    Your uni (on architecture course - especially at Lincoln) will be windows only, end of, no buts no other options. There is NO architecture course in the UK that I know of that uses anything other than autocad, most use 3ds Max and some may now be using Revit/Viz. These are ALL windows only software. Stress analysis programs are windows only too.

    Photoshop is windows too so even that part is covered.
  5. macrumors 65816


  6. macrumors member

    Blender is great. Plus it's open source (and free). If you want something commercial go with Cinema 4D of Maya. C4D is way easier to learn for a beginner though, IMO. Maya is really extensive, and you may not need all that it has to offer.

    Blender or C4D
  7. macrumors 68000


    Why would you run anything other than what your university wants you to use? And for what it's worth, isn't archiCad the industry standard for architecture?
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Nope. Only for some visualizations. I'm not an architect, but my friend is. They are using almost exclusivelly Autodesk products.
  9. macrumors member

    If they are using Autodesk, I would probably go that route? My friend does interior renders with C4D, but that's just interiors. :)
  10. macrumors 65816


    This is from Lincoln Uni

    "We have Adobe Creative Suite 4 (Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere,
    Flash, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Fireworks, After Effects), ArchiCAD,
    AutoCAD, Ecotect, 3dsmax Design, Rhino, Sketchup, Microstation, MS
    Office and many other packages."

    I'm thinking stick with an AutoDesk product, probably AutoCAD.
    I have tried 3DSMax for like a month or so ages ago and found it very different and quite hard to grasp.

    I'm going to see if I can get an AutoCAD copy for a few months use.
    Thanks for the help.

    P.S. I will also ask about Maya and 3DS Max but I feel Maya will be too hard from what I've heard.
  11. macrumors member

    maya is a lot like 3dsMax. Ultimately I say stick with something that the Architecture industry uses.
  12. macrumors newbie

    The makers of Form•Z have a new modeler out called Bonzai3D which is similar to Sketchup, except that it also does nurbs. It is unfortunately a new product so I don't know if they got rid of all the bugs.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    IMO Cinema 4D (especially the architecture edition) and ArchiCAD make a great combo, especially with this out:


    Only because most of the people use AutoCAD, it doesn't mean you have to use that too.
    For instance, if you find Maya difficult to use, you should really take a look at C4D. It's very powerful yet very easy to use (And less RAM hungry too).
  14. macrumors 65816

    But on a different view - why learn a program if it isn't being taught on your course (c4d) :confused:

    The whole point of doing (for example) autocad and 3ds max is that you will be taught how to integrate the two together by the tutors supposedly, I say supposedly as this years exhibition (I went to see interior design and saw architecture too) from the final year architecture course (at lincoln) had zero 3ds max renders (just about all autocad plans and elevations) and iirc they only bought 3ds max this year because they had the money left over :rolleyes:
  15. macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    From an Architecture Student...

    That list conforms with what I would've said anyway. It doesn't matter what program you use, so long as the images you produce at the end of the process get the point across during a presentation.

    The only reason you'd choose to stick with one is because that's what you'll be using in the workplace when you graduate. For that purpose, AutoCAD is the only one that serves a purpose (as it's used in most offices). After that, it depends what office you want to go into.

    To keep it simple...
    AutoCAD - A program for drawing plans (has a 3D function, but it's rubbish). The industry standard for years, although this looks less certain in the future.
    ArchiCAD - A 3D modeling program with limited abilities. However, it's BIG advantage is that it will do the documentation for you once you're done.
    Photoshop - A program for touching up photographs, making presentations e.t.c.
    Illustrator - A program for making presentations, editing line drawings e.t.c.
    3DS Max - A 3D modeling program that is great for animations. However, it's models aren't NURBS (i.e. the circles are made out of straight lines)
    Rhino - A 3D modeling program. Uses NURBS and can create just about any shape you want.
    Sketchup - A primitive 3D modeling program that's easy to learn. Despite it's primitive-ness, I still have friends who use it for presentations in 3rd year.
    Microstation - I'm not quite sure the specifics of this, but I do know that alot of firms in Australia are changing to this.

    I would recommend knowing AutoCAD and one of 3DS Max or Rhino (and Photoshop and Illustrator of course.
  16. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Hi, Luke.

    My suggestion is to get a descent PC desktop to supplement your Mac laptop once you go to school. All of the software that is prevalent in your chosen line of work is PC only. You will have to use Windows now or later, so why wait? Having a dedicated PC is the way to go. Just keep it off-line to avoid the associated issues that I have no grasp of.

    Dale, who has never owned a Windows box...
  17. macrumors member

    Or use a Mac running Windows via Bootcamp, that's what I do. The best of both worlds.
  18. macrumors 65816


    ^ I agree with this. If you have a mac and don't want to fork out for a PC, Bootcamp is excellent.

    I replaced a Pentium 4 2.8 desktop with my MacBook Pro and have had nothing but good experiences :)
  19. macrumors 65816


    Thanks everyone! Great info here.

    Oh btw I know how to use most of CS4 to a good enough degree to do work, couldn't live without it ;)

    I'm using bootcamp now and I'm trying to get trials of AutoCAD, Rhino, 3DS Max and Maya to try them out. I probably won't have time to look at them all and my priority to learn them are:

    3DS Max

    I'll have a play with them all however. As stated my LeviG I want to stick to those programs so no blender, C4D etc... just because thats what will become useful at uni.

    And seriously I'm not intending to get another computer, we've got 2 dells in my house that both are ridiculously crap... (we're free though through a business order so...) we have 2 Acer laptops that are better but still nothing compared to this beauty of a laptop :p Macbook, Bootcamp it is :p
    The uni has a lot of computers handy all the time anyway, no need to spend more money.

    Will let people know how I get on in about a couple of weeks (probably on AutoCAD)

  20. macrumors member

    Can you not find out what software they'll be using in the course and then learn that? That would be most sensible. We use Autocad at work, though some Microstation stuff is starting to creep in, and I must say I don't like it!
  21. macrumors 65816


    Yup, AutoCAD :)
    But I still want to learn some others.
    I saw some genius student when I was at an open day and he had used a lot of rhino (Rhino scripts?), his work was impressive.
    Others had used sketchup, a lot of students were in the studio working on AutoCAD plans, didn't see any 3DS Max or Maya though.
    Not sure what they render in though, I like hypershot and have a copy so I can always use that on my own back but I will see, I'm not sure what AutoCAD can do. Can it render?
  22. macrumors 65816

    3ds max with finalrender (not much different to mental ray in my opinion) is what everyone I know uses for architectural renderings. Revit is starting to sneak in a bit more though.

    Not saying it can't be done with others but its down to the integration of autodesk products.
  23. macrumors 65816


    Ah that's what they use, I'll give it a go with Hypershot first then look into mental-ray, 3ds max finalrender etc...

    Hypershot v2 will be better for architecture I've been told. (currently just gone to 1.9)
  24. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    I always thought a dedicated PC was the best way to deal with Windows, but then I have no out of classroom experience with MS, either.

    Maya is a bit much for industrial design and architecture, in my book. It will run on Mac or Windows, but is at it's best under RedHat and other versions of Linux. It is industry standard for motion pictures and special effects. The only 3D software I have used is LightWave, but this is my best understanding of applications for 3D. LightWave builds good machines, 3D StudioMAX builds good video game characters and Maya excels with textures, gases and fluids.

    I saw a demo of Maya in '02 and it was scary. It had the capability of understand rules of physics like gravity and I'm sure it has advanced considerably since the days it was owned by Alias|WaveFront.

    It's $2000 to $4000 USD anyways...

  25. macrumors 65816


    Well a dedicated PC would be a good way to go and then a laptop to take to class then a dedicated PC in the studios owned by the uni but theres no point. I'll have my laptop and their dedicated PC's anyway :)

    Ah right thanks for the insight.
    The way I see it is AutoCAD, Rhino and 3DS max are top of the list.
    Maya might come in somewhere.
    Price doesn't matter, I can get it through the uni for FREE.
    Look here


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