Suggestions on 3D Modeling Software

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Post: #1
I am evaluating the various options for 3D modeling software on the Mac. I need to be able to generate 3D objects to be imported for use in iPhone games.
I have looked at Blender, Cinema4D, and Lightwave. I have not tried running the Autodesk products through Parallels, though I suppose it might work. I did not look at Houdini due to the cost.
So, I think I am going to purchase Lightwave, but I am wondering if anyone has any warnings for me why this might not be the best choice.
Thank you.
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Post: #2
I switched from Maya to Cheetah3D. It's very affordable and works well on the Mac. Not industrial-strength, but you might want to check it out.
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Member
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Post: #3
I use low cost and fat free AC3D.

I'd probably switch to Cheetah for the animation support
if we had a plugin or if we change model formats to FBX.
Its like Cinema4D junior.

Blender is all powerful if you can learn it.
Lightwave is amazing if you can dedicate the time to learn it as well.

It depends on what your goals are and how much time
and energy you intend to commit to them.
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Post: #4
Blender seems pretty good and a popular option.

Howling Moon Software - CrayonBall for Mac and iPhone, Contract Game Dev Work
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Member
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Post: #5
Thanks for the replies. I'll check Cheetah out.
The problem with Blender is that it is so hard to learn. I played with it for months without any success.
On the other hand, Lightwave is appealing because their documentation and training is so good. I was able to get up and running in a couple days just by watching the video training at their website.
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Apprentice
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Joined: 2009.03
Post: #6
How about wings3d? It's a free sub division modeler, which works quite well and is available for Mac. It also offers a slew of export options.
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Post: #7
IMHO, different tools solve different problems, and 3D modelling is a whole bunch of problems (polyhedra modelling, Bézier/NURBS surface modelling, texture design, texture placement, bones placement and connections...). If we consider all these tasks, what is easy to do in what tool?

PS: What about user interface and Mac-style interfaces? Wings3D is pretty horrible in that respect. I believe Blender isn't extremely easy and not very Mac-ish, right? What about AC3D? I think I'll have to try it, it looks interesting.
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Post: #8
If you want a Maclike interface, Cheetah3D is your best bet. I wasn't ever able to really get into it, though; for some reason, Wings3D still makes more sense to me.
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Post: #9
Blender.

The documentation has gotten a lot better over the years, as has the interface. Grab a tutorial and follow along and it's a lot easier to learn the program than if you just started fiddling with things.

http://www.blender.org/education-help/
http://www.blender.org/education-help/tu...g-started/
http://www.blender.org/education-help/video-tutorials/
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Main_Page

I particularly like these two:

http://www.blender.org/documentation/htmlI/ (Your first animation in 30 + 30 minutes)
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro

Also, this site has a lot of Blender game-specific tutorials and exporter scripts for game formats:

http://www.katsbits.com/
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Post: #10
This is one of those threads that should be a normal idevgames.com web page but isn't. This information is helpful. It will be buried in a month.

My web site - Games, music, Python stuff
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Post: #11
Ingemar Wrote:IMHO, different tools solve different problems, and 3D modelling is a whole bunch of problems (polyhedra modelling, Bézier/NURBS surface modelling, texture design, texture placement, bones placement and connections...). If we consider all these tasks, what is easy to do in what tool?

PS: What about user interface and Mac-style interfaces? Wings3D is pretty horrible in that respect. I believe Blender isn't extremely easy and not very Mac-ish, right? What about AC3D? I think I'll have to try it, it looks interesting.

Maya can do all those and much more, and has a Mac-style interface (for the most part). Very expensive though.

Blender can do all those and much more, but does NOT have Mac-style interface by any stretch of the imagination. Ugly as sin... Hard for me to learn to use. Awkward. The interface has improved over the years but I still can't stand it. But it's free.

Wings3D is pretty limited in comparison, doesn't have a Mac-style interface at all, but I actually found it to be semi-decent to work with. Free.

Cheetah3D can handle a fairly good subset of those. Polygon modeling is pretty decent, subdivision is decent, texture design is limited but possible, texture placement tools are not as good as Maya but certainly workable, bones yes, spline editor is a pain but works. Cheetah3D is "mini-Maya" to me. Very Mac-style interface (in fact, Mac-only). Affordable.
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Post: #12
diordna Wrote:This is one of those threads that should be a normal idevgames.com web page but isn't. This information is helpful. It will be buried in a month.
But it is also a subject that has changed a lot in the past, and there will be more changes as products are updated or abandoned.

The most important aspect for me is a good balance between ease of use and features. Wings3D is pretty nice for making rigid, non-textured models, but that's about it. For many purposes it needs to be complemented by some additional tool, at the very least for texture placement and bones. That can be made, but it seems like unnecessary work when I can't really see anything I would add over what is already out there.

Cheetah3D, maybe. Blender, tempting but I never liked the user interface. Maya, well, maybe. I don't think the money is impossible if I can see the need. AC3D?
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Post: #13
I can't remember AC3D, although I know I gave it a spin. I seem to recall it was pretty good, but I chose Cheetah3D instead and ran with that.

As mentioned at the top of this thread, another alternative could be Lightwave. I've given that two tries in the last decade, and both times I wasn't quite sold on it, although it is indeed very impressive. The last time I tried it was just before a major UI overhaul which I never stuck around long enough to investigate. The previous UI was pretty awkward to me at times. The new one might be better. Definitely worth checking out.

Ingemar Wrote:Maya, well, maybe. I don't think the money is impossible if I can see the need.

That's my situation as well. I can manage to afford it, but my main issue is that I currently have no need for 85% of the stuff I'd be paying for. My current level of game development simply doesn't require that much horsepower. I will say that I found it wonderful to work with, even though it can be a little overwhelming at times. There is no finer 3D editing/rendering package available on the Mac. It's nice working with industry standard tools. Blender has nearly all the horsepower (perhaps all?) but very little of the elegance.

I was initially concerned about the acquisition of Maya by the anti-Mac Autodesk empire, but they so far *seem* to be making good on their intention to continue Mac support of Maya, so I am easing up on some of my previous skepticism.

All I need right now is something to make skeletally animated and textured low-poly meshes. Cheetah3D is working for me right now. It can export to FBX, which is pretty much all I need. Importing FBX into my game engine requires some work though, since the FBX documentation is nearly worthless. The example code is ridden with bugs, and poorly written in many parts, not to mention the FBX SDK is all C++ (and not very nice C++ IMO). It does work though, so I'll STFU Rasp
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Member
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Post: #14
I use Art Of Illusion, a free OpenSource modeler. It's very easy to use, yet you can make compicated adverts. It exports lightwave and .obj files. It's the best 3D modeler I've ever used. IT's also great for exporting textures, it has a GUI graphics based procedural texture editor.

~ Bring a Pen ~
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