What's your favourite 3D app?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by spicyapple, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. spicyapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    I wanna produce some nice photorealistic images using global illumination and all that nice stuff, but I'm also looking for a really easy to use 3D rendering and modeling application.

    I tried Maya, but found it really extensive (powerful, no doubt), but I was put off by the old-looking interface.

    I downloaded the trial version of Luxology Modo and really love the interface polish and speed and ease of use. This may be my 3D app of choice but I'm not sure if it's becoming an industry standard. I'm saying this because I was big on Imagine 3D and TruSpace but those programs kind of died away. I want a program with legs.
  2. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005
    I like Maya, nothing comes close to its power and it could become the industry standard, but that's still somewhat up for grabs. If Max and Maya merge that app will dominate the industry. Many apps will give you good renders, it's more about what you bring to it. For Mac 3D apps Maya has the widest range of renders available.

    Modo is an offshoot of Lightwave and I could not stand Lightwaves interface, but it's a different company. If you like it that an important part.

    I would not call any of the major 3D apps easy, they all take a lot of work to get used to.

  3. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    I think ZBrush will be right up your alley. It is a Hybrid 2.5D/3D program with it's own unique technology.

    You can get up to speed modeling organic objects very quickly and it has the best support of any software on earth, by a long way. I've been using it for 6 years and I've never had to pay an extra cent for any update or plug in. Plus the next major update to 2.5 (in reality ZB3) will also be free.
  4. faustfire macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2002
    Cinema 4D is the winner hands down if you are looking for something that is a bit easier to pick up than other 3d programs. If you are looking to get into character animation and the like then I would say stick with maya, but if you are looking for an app that is user friendly with a really nice set of tools and a killer render engine which is not only fast but looks great, you should give c4d a try. It is also quickly gaining a foothold in the design and animation industries. I am also seeing more and more job postings requesting c4d experience where a few years ago they would have been asking for lightwave or maya. And for broadcast design they offer an ultra cool module called mograph which will blow your mind.:D

    EDIT: Version 10 just came out and has a totally reworked timeline and a whole bunch of improvements to its character animation tools.
  5. pimentoLoaf macrumors 68000


    Dec 30, 2001
    The SimCity Deli
  6. agreenster macrumors 68000


    Dec 6, 2001
    Walt Disney Animation Studios
    3D app or modeling app?

    It sounds to me like you just want to do modeling, not animation or effects or anything like that, is that right? If so, probably stay away from Maya. Modo is a good choice, and a lot of studios are using it these days to produce a mesh, but EVERYONE is using ZBrush to add bump/disp/normal maps, or even to model. To me though, it's best to stick with a good modeling app like modo or 3DS Max and then import your mesh to Zbrush. The best out-of-box software for getting fast modeling and good rendering is Max, but it's glitchy and a bit of a learning curve, but its an industry standard in games and film (Blur uses Max religiously)

    But as far as Cinema 4D goes, Mac-o-philes wil tell you its awesome, but probably only because they are very Apple friendly. I used to use C4D, but found it too simple, clunky, and NOT animator friendly. (you dont see character animations coming out of C4D). As an animator, I work exclusively in Maya. But it has an okay modeling interface and decent raytracer, but isnt an industry standard app for sure.

    So to sum up:

    Modeling/rendering: Modo, Max
    Map detailing and some modeling: ZBrush
    Animation: Maya (though I use it for everything)

    I've never used softimage, but I hear once Autodesk completely screws both Maya and Max, everyone will switch....hehe
  7. MacAnkka macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2006
    I'm a Blender fan, too. Can't afford anything too fancy and I'm just an amateur, so it was the obvious choice. Works very nicely for a FOSS application. Does everything quite nicely and has a lot of features (and gets more every release...)

    There's also Silo3D. Haven't really tried it myself, but I saw someone during Assembly 06 that seemed the be quite familiar with it. The app was quite impressive and nice. Designed for modeling only, though (but it sure was VERY good at doing that). Didn't cost too much, either.
  8. AppliedVisual macrumors 6502a

    Sep 28, 2006
    I'll give a thumbs-up to Modo. It's a fine piece of software and very powerful, yet easy to start learning. Lots to learn though and will take some time. It's made by Brad Peebler and several of the guys who originally created Lightwave 3D for NewTek. ...And that's one other one you may want to check out - Lightwave (www.lightwave3d.com). But Modo is showing a lot of promise and is gaining a nice following.

    But another to definitely give a try is Blender (as others have suggested). It's free and does have some nice features. For hobbyists or those just starting out, it's a great program to start with. Cinema4D is good too and easy to learn as well.

    I think the best thing you can do is download trial versions of all these programs and actually work with them until you find the one you like.

    Anyway, feel free to ask if you have any more questions... 3D is a huge part of what I do every day and I have lots of experience and opinions. There are several other capable 3D guys on these forums too that might chime in. BTW, what is it that you plan to do specifically? Anything in mind? Any animation?
  9. toaster_oven macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2003
    not sure
    I use sketchup on a daily basis - it's not perfect (doesn't render), but it's much faster for what I do (mostly massing models of project sites).

    i like modo a lot... although it is lacking some features for arch-viz... and you can't do animations - yet... but I agree- it has a huge amount of promise, and is picking up a lot of high-profile CG people.

    and I use max occassionally.

    another app you might want to check out is cheetah3D - it's $99- kinda feels like a very basic version of cinema4D.

  10. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2006
    I know it can be a chore to get going with, but I've used POV-Ray for years. Many people have generated some stunning output using POV-Ray, but I'm sure that sans an interactive user interface, they spent a lot of time building their source file for processing.

    It supposedly takes full advantage of multiple processors and cores, so I wonder what the performance would be on a Mac Pro.
  11. iKwick7 macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2004
    The Wood of Spots, NJ
    I am ADDICTED to SketchUp- it is by far the most comfortable, easiest to use modeler out there (in my opinion). I used it the last couple years in college to model and would then export to CAD to render in Accurender.

    I also really, really like Piranesi for rendering- its the exact oppoisite of photo-realism though, very artsy. SketchUp and Piranesi work so wonderfully together.
  12. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    I use 3ds Max. Too bad AutoDesk hate Macs, I had to get a PC because of this. (This was before intel came in)
  13. Superlat macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2006

    I know everyone is going to guffaw at this, but I wish that higher-powered
    3d apps had an interface like bryce, despite its inadequate modelling and camera control. 3D has a learning curve, so you get the results from the effort that you put in. Maya has excellent tutorials to get you going.
  14. mooncaine macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2004
    My favorite: Hash's Animation:Master

    The question in the subject line asks for my favorite, and this is it: Hash's Animation:Master.

    However, it's the forgotten stepchild of the 3D world because its makers [stubbornly?] refuse to develop polygon modeling or even make it possible for you to import models from the widely used formats that other programs import and export. Hash's own way of modeling, using splines, makes for some fabulous models that can be zoomed in on without getting faceted, yet without demanding a lot of computer horsepower to "smooth" the polygons, since there are no polys. Spline modeling has a few annoying probs, though.

    It's good if you will be self-contained, doing all the work yourself or with other A:M users, but not good if you want to work with models made in other apps, or models you want to export to other apps. It's great for character animation, solid for rendering, and made for the hobbyist who wants to make his own computer animated movie at home. Very powerful animation tools. Great user group. I just wish they'd acknowledge polygons and let me import and export models from other sources.

    It's priced for that type of user, too. I pay $99 a year to keep getting the latest updates, even when they totally rewrote the program. Mac & PC installers come with it.
  15. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2006
    I agree. I still use bryce but plan on getting Maya when i have the money.
    CAnt wait.
  16. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

    Mar 19, 2004
    A series of tubes
  17. erickkoch macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2003
    I agree. I use Vue Easel and will upgrade to Vue Esprit when version 6 comes out. It's a scene generator on training wheels but it's easy to use for learning the basics. Then you can move up to Vue Infinite or Vue xStream if you can afford it.
  18. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005
    Now if I add Real Flow, Electric Image, Pro Modeler and Terragen to the list, that covers just about every non CAD 3D app out there. It seems there is no consensus on any one app. ;)

  19. jrichie macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2003
    ATD hit the nail on the head!

    Everyone seems to like something different. However, maybe we should be looking at what is the favourite 3D app they use at work......

    That will probably narrow the choices down a lot to the industry standards.

    I personally like 3DS Max and am starting to play around with modo.
  20. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005

    I still don't know if even that will help. ;) Here's a list of 3D apps I have and use in varying degrees, some a lot and some hardly at all. It has less to do with which is my favorite and more to do with what I'm looking for and which app is going to do the best job. No one app does everything well although Maya comes pretty close. I do want to get Z Brush soon, maybe Max down the line.

    Maya Unlimited, a amazing powerhouse app, my main 3D program. I can't think of anything this app will not do.
    Electric Image, beautiful and fast renders
    Lightwave, no comment :rolleyes:
    Real Flow, high-end fluid dynamics
    Blender, excellent for free app
    Vue Infinite, incredible 3D scene generator
    Terragen, similar to Vue Infinite but free
    Silo, great little modeler for a small price
    Pro Modeler, great for modeling typography
    T Splines, an alternate modeling program/plugin for Maya
    Wings 3D, have not used it very much
    Amorphium, don't use any more, it's a bit like Z Brush but not nearly as good

    Edit: I listed what/why I use the programs

  21. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    Let's not forget mudbox just because it hasn't been released yet. :) It looks very ZBrushy.
  22. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005

    Looks very interesting. :) No OSX version yet. :(

  23. blackelmo macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2006
    Strata CX?

    I've been using Strata for years. I think its pretty easy to learn and produces great results for various 3d needs. I mostly use Strata to make elements for motion graphics projects. I'm curious about the the new features in CX...
  24. DISCOMUNICATION macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2004
    Cambridge, MA USA

    The only 3d app I own or learned was LightWave. I have a demo copy of SoftImage XSI. But I'm rusty. I haven't done any 3d in a few years. I've seen, but not tried Modo. It looks good, but seems like too much cash for an app that isn't a complete solution like everything else out there at least tries to be these days.

    If we're just going to randomly name drop apps no one has mentioned Houdini (expensive). What else hasn't been mentioned? Shade is popular in Japan, but has gotten poor reviews here in the states.
  25. Mookamoo macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2006
    Cinema 4D.

    The guys at Maxon are excellent and will help you whenever they can.

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