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Selecting a 3D software to use and learn?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by -Jesse-, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone!

    I'm trying to find a 3D software which I could start learning for making more complex objects for BTB. For easy 3D objects I'm using Google Sketchup (with 3dSimEd) and I love it. At work I use SolidWorks (CAD-software) daily and love it even more, but I haven't found a good way to use it for game 3D editing. Would love to know if someone uses CAD-software creating 3D stuff.

    I have banged my head against the wall with Zmodeler for few days now and even with many tutorials, I simply CAN'T use it. IMO there's simply no logic with all the mouse clicks and selections etc. And I can easily get it in a state where mouse clicking and dragging (and hitting the keyboard) does NOTHING at all!

    And then there's Blender. I feel sick right after the program has started. God ugly UI, and I have no clue what's going on in the editing screen. Had a same feeling when I once tried 3DS Max.

    I guess there aren't any other free options(?), but what do you think, how should I proceed? Have thought of trying out the GS Pro, but then again why bother since I can't buy it.
     
  2. try Cinema 4D :-D
     
  3. Marcel vd Aa

    Marcel vd Aa
    AC Paint Guru

    Well, selecting on a 3D software suite is really a matter of what you want to do with it.
    I myself started modeling cars for a game called midtown madness with z-modeler but soon started to dislike the workflow options. In z-modeler there are hardly any tools that allow you to edit geometry in a quick way. Then I had a look at 3DS-Max but like you I got snowed in by the seemingly endless possibilities. Then a friend of my pointed me in the direction of Lightwave 3D. For my purposes (high detail car models) it was (and still is) the best option but what sets apart this program apart from others is the fact that the modeling and rendering suite are 2 separate programs. So when it comes to modeling you will have a UI that is focused on modeling tools without the clutter of rendering tools like 3DS-Max. The same goes for the rendering suite...
    There is however a big reason why Lightwave isn't suitable for game modding, and 3DS-Max is...
    The amount of plugins available for 3DS-Max that allow you to import, edit and export game originated geometry is far better than Lightwave.
    So for the modding of game files 3DS-Max is your best bet. And although the program has a steep learning curve you will find loads of very good tutorials online that can help you. My advice: start learning 3DS-Max; but take it one step at a time... Don't expect that you'll be able to instantly start working in conjunction with BTB. Just do small objects in 3DS-Max and when you feel that you can go a step further, seek out tutorials and work from there. Hope I made deciding a bit easier for you...cheers
     
  4. I once had a go at using Pro/Engineer for that purpose, but the power and relative complexity of the program made things more trouble than they were worth. I found it quite hard to do more than very basic texture mapping, and the program assumes that we want highly detailed objects with real curves, so low poly curved shapes required more steps than I felt were necessary. I had already been using Anim8or and was familiar with the interface, so I had no good reason to use anything else.

    When I started making objects for BTB, I carried on using Anim8or for a while. I eventually stopped when I got tired of it's limited texture format support. It can only show .bmp, .gif or .jpg. After exporting to 3ds (for XPacker), I had to hex edit the file to replace all instances of .jpg with .dds. It's an easy step to forget, so I'd often have to do remedial work in XPacker, or go back and edit the file.

    Another limitation is that texture mapping is quite basic, and more advanced things require exporting to another program (LithUnrwap or UVMapper).

    This is why I started using Blender. I first looked at 2.49 and found that the interface has horrible, and it seemed broken. I next looked at it when version 2.5 came out. This has a new interface. I decided to find some video tutorials, and found a good set here. If you can get the hang of the interface, Blender is quite a satisfying program to use.

    If you have 3DSMax, you may as well get your moneys worth and follow Mr. vd Aa's suggestion.