Why doesn't Apple do more to advance 3D on the Mac?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by zarusoba, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. zarusoba macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Especially given the Pixar connection, it has always been a bit odd that the Mac lags behind the PC in 3D.

    I use Maya on the Mac. Quite happy with it, apart from its incompatibility with Snow Leopard.

    Apparently Windows 7 is faster with 3D graphics...

    Will OpenCL advance 3D on the Mac?
     
  2. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

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    #2
    Open CL is about using the GPU for general computing operations, so I'm not sure it will have a great effect on 3D.

    The reason is probably, sadly, that Apple thinks they can get a better return on their investment by spending money elsewhere. For this reason I believe Windows will maintain an advantage over the Mac for 3D because Microsoft have a greater commercial incentive to do so.

    Around 1999/2000 Apple was really talking up 3D in general and gaming in particular. Not so much anymore, aside from a brief mention at WWDC 2007 of some new technologies coming to the Mac (albeit developed by id, not Apple). Not sure what came of them though.
     
  3. McShizzel macrumors regular

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    #3
    Open CL won't make a difference in terms of 3D I think.

    Yeah it is a shame that not more 3D is coming Apple's way. The 3D package I use is Softimage and when I asked (about a year ago) if it would ever make it's way to Mac OS I was told that it would be too much work because the program would have to be rewritten from scratch, hardware configurations are limited and the fact that there are just more Windows users.
     
  4. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Pretty much true for most 3D apps, its either windows or custom os for 90% of the ones I know of.

    As to whether 3D apps could be improved -
    OpenCL (built into nvidia cuda/ati version now iirc) and maybe direct x11 too all are designed to offload processing to the gpu, this could help with rendering of a scene where the program offloads say the processing of raytraced lighting, shadows, reflections and refractions etc. In theory there could be a huge performance increase as its purely (I think) floating point number crunching, an area where the gpu is superior to a gpu, just look at the tesla gpu/cpu from nvidia.

    It might be a while though, I'm still waiting on nvidia to integrate cuda into mental ray now that they own it (about 2 years now iirc).

    Another issue is apple do not sell any systems with a quadro or fire pro gpu, yes you can buy a £1000+ nvidia fx4800 as an extra on top of the slightly (in my opinion) overpriced mac pro, where as windows has laptops and pc's ready configured plus theres a range of quadro's with prices as low as £100 (not very good mind at that price). I still laugh when a mac pro/macbook pro are called as workstations when all they have is a consumer gpu, sorry but a workstation has a workstation gpu in it in my view :)
     
  5. zarusoba thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Here's an interesting (?) interview with a developer who claims that Snow Leopard is the perfect OS for 3D. He's a self-confessed Mac fanboy, though.
    http://www.3dworldmag.com/page/3dworld?entry=why_snow_leopard_is_the

    I think Steve Jobs should have got a Mac version of Pixar's Marionette software while he still had the chance. Of course, this would would have cost Pixar some of their competitive advantage. However, Apple could have done a lot of work on the UI.

    Apparently PC/Mac versions of Marionette were developed back in the days when Pixar was unprofitable, but I don't think they ever got to market. Desktops weren't up to the task in those days.
     
  6. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #6
    I think he needs to use 3D software a bit more, if you're waiting for something to finish (say a render) in leopard then you will be waiting in snow leopard, it will not magically make it go in 'real time' when the hardware is exactly the same :rolleyes:

    All the new features in os-x are only any good if the programs are written to support them.
     
  7. zarusoba thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Yes, that's pretty much the comment I posted after reading the article.
     
  8. samwich macrumors regular

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    #8
    Maxon's Cinema 4D is fully compatible (and 64 bit) for Mac OSX, it has always run stable and can compete with the other offerings of 3D software. I don't feel like it is Apple's fault, or anything they can do, rather the companies ignoring the smaller user base on the Mac side.
     
  9. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

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    #9
    I agree, if Apple had a bit more cash they could maybe provide incentives to developers, but they only have 34 billion US, so it is not really feasible with a measly sum like that. ;)
     
  10. zarusoba thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Do you use Cinema 4D for character animation?

    And any experience of Houdini? I just installed the demo and... it won't open under Snow Leopard.
     
  11. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    #11
    It's funny.. we tend to think of 3D animation as something for professionals only, in industries such as gaming, movies, and engineering.

    But that's largely because the 3D tools now are so difficult to use.

    But imagine how much fun people could have if they could make their own 3D cartoons, and perhaps even basic 3D games. All Apple need to do is keep the app simple and limit the functionality to the most frequently used features (an Apple speciality); and provide a large library of 3D objects & avatars which the user can then use & customise; and a library of facial & skeletal animations for each avatar.

    Apple would be perfectly placed to provide such a tool; given their link to Pixar. Just a thought...
     
  12. samwich macrumors regular

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    #12
    Yes, C4D does character animation (joints, expressions, constraints, fk/ik, etc). I have dabbled in it a little bit, there is a basic walkcycle animation on my portfolio website (www.samwirch.com/video/walkcycle)

    More info - http://www.maxon.net/products/modules/modules/mocca-3.html

    As far as Houdini goes, I haven't used it, but to my understanding it is just a "helper" program, or more of a niche product. Only used for advanced particle system and some dynamics. Here is some info on compatibility with SL

    http://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_forum&Itemid=172&page=viewtopic&t=16738
     
  13. zarusoba thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Sounds like a great idea: it makes more sense than marketing Marionette. I did hear rumours of an easy-to-use 3D app from Apple some years ago, but obviously it never came about.
     

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