Need advice on 3d software

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by mbease, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2013
    Hey, first time poster here.

    Here's the story:
    I recently became interested in creating a simple tower defense game with a team of friends. We all have interest in doing this for a living and want to get some experience creating a game before getting formal education. We have picked up Unity Pro and are looking for other software needed to pull it off.

    I am the artist that will be creating graphics and models for the game.
    I've worked with programs like InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere, Audition, and the like before, but never any 3D modeling software.

    The goal is to make tower and character models with some simple animations for use in the game.
    I have been learning a lot of things in 3DS Max the past couple days, but today, as I was getting into some more advanced tutorials, some of the features of the program have bugged out and I am not able to adequately perform certain tasks.
    I am currently running 3DS Max through Parallels on my Macbook Air. My computer isn't overheating (or really heating in general) and I have encountered no other problems other than subobject points completely not showing up when trying to manipulate them. It wouldn't be the first time running a program through Parallels has made a program buggy for me.

    So reading through a couple threads on this forum, I see there are great things to say about MAYA, Modo, Studio 4D, and Blender. I'm looking into Modo right now to see if that's what I want. I really want something that will run perfectly on my mac without messing with bootcamp, Parallels, or other alternatives (unless I have to).

    Given my goal for learning and creating models of objects to use in a simple tower defense game, which program would be my best option?

    Big thanks in advance.

    By the way, here's a visual of my problem with 3DS Max:

  2. macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar

    I can't see your Max screenshot since its blocked at work but you have a few options.

    Blender is free (I personally do not like Blender but many do).

    Modo is fantastic and has great modeling and UV tools. If you are in school you can get a student license for pretty cheap. It runs fantastic on both Mac and Windows (and soon Linux once 701 is released).

    Maya is alright. You can get a free student license of it. I would pick Maya over Blender but its modeling tools aren't as nice as Modo's in my opinion.

    If you are making a 3D game I'd suggest something like a Modo or Maya to Unity3D pipeline.
  3. macrumors G3


    Pretty much what Chrono said.

    Max is probably one of the hardest editors to start out with. It's very, very powerful, but it's kinda overly complicated. The UI is crowded, just isn't user friendly. It might be an editor you'll want to play with later, but it's sure as hell not one you'll want to learn with.

    Maya I've only played around with a tiny bit. It struck me as being a little cleaner and more streamlined than Max, but still not what I'd call newbie friendly. From what I understand, it's still the one package to beat if you're into animation.

    Modo. Excuse me while I gush. For straight up modelling, you cannot beat it. The tools, the work flow, everything meshes together so smoothly and intuitively. The UI is clean and easy to navigate, and...yeah. It's just nice. It's my preferred editor for a reason. The downside is it's the relative new kid on the block, so it's not as mature as the other big packages. Animation, specifically for characters, is a little on the weak side, and the renderer is missing a couple of nice features you'd get out of Max and Maya.

    Blender. I'm gonna disagree with Chrono here, because I find Blender to be surprisingly decent. No, it's not the best at everything. Max has a better renderer for games (as in it can output higher quality AO and normal map bakes), Maya is a better animator, Modo has far better modelling tools, but it still does everything well enough. Think of it as the jack of all trades editor. And since it's free, it compliments the weaknesses of all the others without any huge cost on your end.

    Also, it has the best sculpting engine outside of Zbrush and 3Dcoat.

    My suggestion would be Modo and Blender to Unity. Both of them are set up to export directly into that engine with as little fuss as possible, and it's easy to share project files between the two through their strong Collada support.
  4. macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Max is very powerful, but buggy enough on Windows, let alone through parallels/fusion.

    Have you thought about buying library models? It might be more cost-effective (or not, I don't know, but it's worth considering)
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2013
    Thanks very much for the input. It helps a lot.

    I picked up Modo 601 and have been playing around in it while learning through provided tutorials on Luxology's website. I really like Modo.

    At first it was hard to get used to because some of the videos labeled as "beginner" or "noob" were not aimed toward people who had never used modeling software before. For 3DS Max, I was able to learn from videos on youtube fairly easily, but it seems not many people have made video tutorials for Modo yet.
    After pushing through a few of Luxology's own tutorial videos, I finally found several that taught the bare basics and am now creating some relatively impressive objects without much hassle. I feel like the learning curve is rather easy (but I have a very high learning rate).

    Has anyone around here made game graphics with Modo/Unity? I'm pretty much going purely off of online tutorials and advice from people at this point.
  6. macrumors G3


    I've read up a bit on it. If I remember correctly, importing is incredibly easy, since Unity supports Modo's native .lxo files as a valid model extension. All you should have to do is open a model up in Unity and it's ready to go.
  7. macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2013
    Blender okay to use with my new IMAC?

    I downloaded Blender but when I started to open it up I got a message that it was not from the approved Apple Store software. Will I wreck my Mac if I try to use it? Love to try but don't want to risk compromising my computer or my support from Mac.
  8. macrumors G3


    Naw, you're fine. All that means is Blender hasn't been officially approved by Apple's new Gatekeeper process thing. It's a "use at your own risk" warning, but there's no real risk involved. You won't get any malware, and it won't corrupt your OSX install.
  9. macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    As Renzatic said its perfectly safe to use. A lot of programs will get errors with Gatekeeper turned on (ZBrush for example).
  10. macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2003
    New Zealand

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