3D Modelling

Steve672 wrote on 5/3/2004, 6:25 PM
I have seen a number of posts on creating 3D and importing it into Vegas.

Some have mentioned Cinema4D and lately a post on Blender3d. I am looking for something that won't take me a year to learn. I realize that there is a learning curve but I am sure there must be an intuitive program (like Vegas) which is powerful and yet easy to use.

Any feedback would be welcome.



spacesounds wrote on 5/3/2004, 6:48 PM
Cinema4d only runs on a mac (I think!).

It all depends on what kind of 3d you want to do. If it's only logos and simple graphics, there are a number of inexpensive programs. Their functionality will be limited, though. You won't find any "Powerful and yet easy to use" 3d programs.

I use 3ds max from discreet. It has a steep learning curve, but the feature set, output and video integration are priceless! The broadcast-quality of the graphics simply can't be beat.

There's also Maya. Again, a steep learning curve. Both programs are extremely powerful. And expensive. Max goes for $3500. Maya starts at $2500.
spacesounds wrote on 5/3/2004, 6:50 PM
Also, to get your feet wet, you can check out Carrera Studio from Eovia (I think!). Inexpensive but fairly powerful.
Steve672 wrote on 5/3/2004, 6:58 PM
...ouch, that's some serious coin.

No complex animations, just some fluid flowing thru pipes, (actually, blood thru veins with some valves).

rs170a wrote on 5/3/2004, 7:10 PM
"Max goes for $3500. Maya starts at $2500. "

Or you can get Lightwave for a mere $1600 - and it comes with DFX+ (a high-end compositing program with 2 additional modules).
More info at http://tinyurl.com/2zs9s

Cheno wrote on 5/3/2004, 7:20 PM
I agree with Carerra. I think it's around $400... check out www.rustboy.com.. all done in Carerra's earliest build.

spacesounds wrote on 5/3/2004, 7:25 PM
Carrera is actually pretty awesome for the coin. It's a combination of Infini-D and RayDream Studio, both formerly of MetaCreations. Great for broadcast work.

For flowing pipe animations, you could cheat that with Bryce (also formerly from MetaCreations), now carried by Corel. Under $200.

And for very powerful character animation, check out Poser from Curious Labs (again, also formerly from MetaCreations).
JohnnyRoy wrote on 5/3/2004, 7:44 PM
> Cinema4d only runs on a mac (I think!).

Better not tell my PC that. I use it all the time. ;-) Actually it runs on both a Mac and PC.

> I am looking for something that won't take me a year to learn

IMHO, Cinema 4D is the best choice. I seriously sat down and went through some of the excellent tutorials at 3Dbuzz.com for Maya, 3DS Max, Truespace, and Cinema 4D. I’ve got to tell you there is something about the Cinema 4D interface that is just intuitive for Video editors. I found it extremely easy to use and I was making rotating, extruded text, and things sliding down tubes, and whales swimming underwater in no time at all. There are lots of easy to follow tutorials.

I got my copy of Cinema 4D SE6 for free in 3D World magazine. There was an upgrade offer for $99 to a full version of SE6 that offers faster rendering and higher resolution so you might want to contact them and see if they will just sell you the $99 version. They are now selling Cinema 4D 8 so selling version 6 for only $99 is a good way to get people hooked on their product. Cinema 4D R8 costs $595 with a student price of $290 if you qualify.

The Maxon web site also has links to some great tutorials that I found very easy to follow and adapt to what I needed to do for video. I highly recommend it as an easy to learn, but high quality output solution.

I also use Ulead Cool 3D Production Studio because it is quick and easy to use for simple things like lower thirds or spinning text. But when I want complex lights and shadows and shapes, I reach for Cinema 4D.

rdolishny wrote on 5/3/2004, 8:55 PM
I use Vegas to output my animation and broadcast design projects so I can help with a biased opinion or two!

I use Lightwave and have for years. Again and again it's proven to be the easiest to pick up and learn. It's showing its' age with the split modeller/layout paradym but the output is hard to beat for the price. Plus another poster mentioned it included Digital Fusion for very sophisticated compositing.

I've used Max and found it very capable. I admire the guys who can make Max work but the learning curve is very steep. Guys I know plus myself have run into dead ends with the software - you kinda got to know how you're going to go about doing a project before you start, which means you gotta know the software very well (ie: modelling modes, polygons, NURBS, etc...)

I find Maya very easy to pick up but it's kinda like politics and sausages - you don't want to know how things are actually done! The thing with Maya is it sports this deceptively simple interface but anything you want to do you can do. Everything is modifiable. The interface is super intuitive (Alias has won a number of awards for it's UI) but it's easy to get lost.

In North America is Maya and Max pretty much the standard. In Europe and Japan they love Lightwave. Other posters have mentioned other apps that are good, too, and often cheaper. Good luck!

There is no 3D program as easy to use as Vegas. :)

- Rick
BillyBoy wrote on 5/3/2004, 9:56 PM
Depends what kind of 3D you want to do. For characters Poser 5 is outstanding for its relatively cheap price and has excellent documentation, a large Internet support group and its really a kick to work with. I've spend many a lost weekend just messing around. If I ever find the time to finish the first phase you'll see a Poser version of me on my new web site.

For backgrounds, especially landscapes real and not so real the latest version (or a older one if you can find it) Bryce is equally good. If you want to get into more involved shading and lighting try to find a copy of of Ray Dream Studio. Outdated now, but these three are all excellent at what they do. All are $200-500 range, not multiple thousands.
PeterWright wrote on 5/3/2004, 10:16 PM
Anim8or from www.anim8or.com is free.

I've only had reason to use it once, but there's a good back-up forum with examples and advice.
Cappi wrote on 5/4/2004, 6:11 AM
"No complex animation, just some fluid running through some pipes."
I am also am a long time Lightwave user and have sampled various other 3D software. What you consider to be "No complex animation" is actually one of the most complex animation in the sense of what to expect out of a 3D software. Fluid effects that look good (realistic) need to be rendered using particals. It is possible to animate a procedural texture, although that usually does not look as real. The problem is that most free or low end 3D software usually does not support this type of complexity.You may have to shell out some money. Blender's particles might be able to pull this off, It has been a long time since I have played with it. If you want to do simple stuff like 3D logos, I would not waist money on a program since there are many free ones that have this capability.
mcgeedo wrote on 5/4/2004, 7:19 AM
If you just need a quick animation of something, you might consider getting an animator/modeler to do it for you. Putting any sort of value on your own time, you'll invest as much in your time as you will the software. It may be cheaper to sub-contract it, and not try to learn 3d on your own, especially if your main focus is video.

On the other hand, if you want 3d stuff frequently, then you'll want to learn it. Wings 3D is free and pretty good, as are some of the others mentioned above. I use 3ds max, but I paid over $3k and spent a couple of years getting productive with it.
Laser wrote on 5/4/2004, 12:32 PM
I have also found Serif's Impactplus works very well with Vegas and 3d animation. You also have a 3d modeling studio within it. $79.00.

vitalforces wrote on 5/4/2004, 4:44 PM
Don't forget Swish. Very sophisticated Flash editor for $99, and will output an avi.

JakeHannam wrote on 5/4/2004, 5:00 PM
Let me add another possible option:

Caligari TrueSpace

They have a variety of versions and the prices vary depending on the capabilities of the version.

All the other suggestions are equally valid. Price is always my main concern so Maya, Lightwave, etc. are out of range. Cool 3D, Swish, TrueSpace, and Eovia are more within range unless you plan to do 3D full-time.
Steve672 wrote on 5/5/2004, 5:49 AM
...so many choices so little time, hmmmm

It appers that finding a "Vegas equivalent" (powerful, not too expensive, modest learning curve) in 3D modellling is more of a challange than I thought.

MCGEEDO had a point, if all I need is the occasional 3d model my time might be better served by hiring it out. Having said that, I really wouldn't have minded adding some 3D skills to my armamentarium of digital image manipulations.

I thank you all for your input, you have provided me with many good and stimulating ideas.

Will let you know what happens.


Massimo Rossi wrote on 5/5/2004, 6:15 AM
I totally agree with Cappi. Fluids animations are NOT easy: they are one of the most difficult stuff to do in CG. Basically, you can use:

1) Particle engines. This is reasonably intuitive to modeling and fast to render, but often leads to annoying problems like fluid "vanishing" or other inconsistency effects

2) Hydrodinamic simulator, engines that solve physical equations in order to simulate real-world fluids behaviour as accurate as possible (water, clouds, fire, smoke...). This can give SUPERB results, almost identical to real-shots, but it is much less intuitive in terms of modeling and, after all, A LOT SLOWER in than particles for rendering in 3D form. I mean, several days of rendering for a few seconds animation, if you don't get a render farm...

Anyway, for me fluids are one of the most charming aspect of CG. I use Maya 5.0 Unlimited, which comes with both solutions, but it is VERY expensive (about $7000). I don't agree about ease of use of Ligthwave: instead, I consider it one of the most complicated software I've ever seen, but it's my opinion and my point of view, not the law.
3D Studio Max is very powerful, though I prefer Maya since it seems to me more well-organized. I know Cinema 4D and Houdini are very good, too.
I don't know there are low-cost (or free at all) solution able to render fluids in an acceptable way (Blender??). Consider that, whatever you do, the choice depends on the quality of the result you intend to get, from the animation length, the "look" you need, and so on... In many cases, particles can be enough.

Also, if you need a SINGLE animation, consider the opportunity to pay some professional guy to do the job for you: this could be faster and less expensive than buy a sw, learn to use it and spend some (or a lot of) time to get the result. Of course, you are a newbie interested in it and want to learn a bit, free to do.

orca wrote on 5/6/2004, 10:33 AM
If you compare Maya, 3D Studio, XSI, and Lightwave (don't know about Cinema 4D). Most users think Lightwave has the least learning curve.

Cheesehole wrote on 5/6/2004, 11:55 AM
I found Max to be far more intuitive than Lightwave. I sat down in front of Max 1.0 and knew exactly how to use it immediately. With every release, interface enhancements have been a major highlight in 3dsMAX, moreso than any app I know of. The UI is half the fun for me. It's very Windows centric, feels like liquid, much like Vegas.

I tried to learn Lightwave afterwards and it seemed like they were doing their own thing. It may as well have been running in DOS as it didn't feel like a Windows app at all. The separate apps, one for modeling and one for making a scene was enough to drive up the learning curve for me after being used to having everything in one place. Of course once you learn all the keys and the methodology it is probably easier to do many things in LW, but not for me! :D

I guess a lot has changed if most users find Lightwave to be easier to learn than Max. (disclaimer: I haven't looked at LW for years)
Carlomazzortocchi wrote on 5/6/2004, 1:58 PM

I suggest CARRARA 3.0 from EOVIA.

A very powerful and simple 3D application. And also ultracheap.
Try the demo, you willl see.