OT; 3D program to start an 11year old

aussiemick wrote on 10/3/2004, 11:48 PM
To those who are familiar with 3D modelling programs, I would like a Program to start my daughter on. I don't want it to phase her out with complexity but I don't want it so benign it is not much better than the Sims. I am a complete klutz in 3D so I would greatly appreciate some help.Thanks Mick.


Peeks wrote on 10/4/2004, 12:03 AM
Anim8or found in www.anim8or.com is pretty easy to grasp. I'm starting to learn it myself.

Goodluck to your daughter.


farss wrote on 10/4/2004, 4:52 AM
Not that I have yet to grasp ANY 3D animation program but Truespace have some good deals, I think starting with free and some excellent again free online tutorials aimed at the younger ones. Must be good even I could grasp it.

Skevos_Mavros wrote on 10/4/2004, 5:11 AM
Although you didn' t mention "cheap" or "free", I'm guessing you don't want to buy any of the big apps that cost many thousands of dollars? On that assumption:

Free, very powerful, and its interface has gone from awful to usable. But it's pretty full on. Did I mention it was free?

Animation Master
Affordable, but not free. I use and recommend this, especially for character animation. Alas, there is no demo. At all. Check out these online flash tutorials to get an idea of how it works:

Hope that helps, all the best,

sjlocke wrote on 10/4/2004, 6:11 AM

Run with the big dogs. You can download the personal learning version of Maya 6.0 for free. Look for Maya PLE at the www.alias.com website. Maya is used by feature film artists, and while has a lot of power, I would imagine that a beginner can get a good grasp from it. Want a sphere? Go to create->sphere.

I think PLE comes with tutorials too.

TheHappyFriar wrote on 10/4/2004, 6:24 AM
I was going to say that. :)

But, there is also milkshape 3d.

Also, if she plays games like Half Life, Quake (1-3 or an Quake based game) I'd reccomend GTKRadient. It's an editor for many games & is simular to 3d modeling programs. It's also free.

But, I think MayaPLE would be best.
prairiedogpics wrote on 10/4/2004, 7:12 AM
IF (and that's a BIG if) money is not a problem, I would check out Cinema 4D. It is generally acknowledged as being one of the easiest 3D apps to learn. On the surface not too difficult for an 11 year-old, and as she progresses (and ages), it has more and more to offer... (Maya is generally acknowledged to have a pretty steep learning curve.)
Former user wrote on 10/4/2004, 8:58 AM
And GMAX is a free scaled down version of another big 3d program.

Dave T2
JohnnyRoy wrote on 10/4/2004, 9:33 AM
> I would check out Cinema 4D

I too found Cinema 4D to be extremely easy to use yet very powerful. I tried Maya PLE, GMax, Truespace, etc. and, IMHO, Cinema 4D had a better workflow but that’s just me. Have her try a few out and see what she likes.

> IF (and that's a BIG if) money is not a problem

Actually, you need to shop around. ;-) I just picked up Cinema 4D XL7 yesterday on eBay for $53. I had been using Cinema 4D CE 6 before that. The current version is 8 so you can get 7 or even 6 for a lot less used as people upgrade and sell their old copies.

BTW, an excellent source of tutorials for whatever program you choose is 3Dbuzz.com.

TheHappyFriar wrote on 10/4/2004, 9:35 AM
I always found that G-Max ran very sluggish compaed to other 3d apps. Maya PLE & even 3DS-Max ran better.
Orcatek wrote on 10/4/2004, 9:57 AM
I like Hash Animation Master for Character work.

TruSpace for non-character.

prairiedogpics wrote on 10/4/2004, 12:39 PM
JohnnyRoy, you lucky dog!. I've shopped Ebay for an newer version of C4D myself (I'm using CD+, which is essentially CE 6 XL), but never been lucky enough to find it so cheaply.

I was thinking worst case, where he'd have to buy the new Cinema 4D version 9.

Also, as I understand it, GMAX is geared toward people who are interested in developing 3D for gaming purposes.(where low polygon count is extremely important).

Erk wrote on 10/4/2004, 5:12 PM
You might check the 3D magazines at your local superduper bookstore. They often include a disc with full versions of popular 3D programs. These will typically be 1 or 2 versions behind the current, but you can learn on those, and upgrade for not a lot of money.

aussiemick wrote on 10/4/2004, 6:24 PM
Thanks very much to all.I'll now weed through all the suggestions and then see what interests Al and down the line let you know what she found suited her best. Might help someone else. A lot of the time we do forget to get our kids involved in nuts and bolts computing rather than just playing games all the time. Again thanks. Mick
jmeredith wrote on 10/4/2004, 6:37 PM
Not sure where you are located but in the states your daughter would also qualify for educational versions of software (prices are a LOT lower). You can Google for student software - I've also purchased from the company listed below and have been pleased with their service.

Leviathan wrote on 10/5/2004, 5:55 AM
Hi there,

It's always great to see people get interested in 3D. I do 3D semi-professionally as a freelance artist, so I'll try to offer some helpful advice.

First I need to ask a couple questions. What got your daughter interested in 3D? Is she fairly artistic already? Does she draw/sketch/paint/sculpture etc.? What about photography? Any interest there? Is she a problem solver? I.e. when faced with a problem does she tenaciously work through it or does she get discouraged? Also, is she very comfortable with computers, roughly speaking what level would you say her skills are at? The answers to these questions are most important, as it will give me a much better idea of how far along the road she is in terms of being ready for 3D.

The main thing about 3D is it's a whole lot more involved then just learning any one piece of software. Generally speaking skills and techniques learned in one program can be carried over to any number of other programs. The key is that what really makes a capable 3D artist is an understanding of the theory behind 3D. That's where classic art skills are indispensable. If she's interested in getting into animation then there are more specialized things she'll need to learn, timing, lag, follow through, keyframing etc. Animation is a whole facet in itself, my suggestion would be that she work on modeling(drawing in 3D), texturing(building surface characteristics), lighting, and camera work....for starters. That should keep her busy for a while, animation is the really fun stuff, but it needs to come after the other stuff.

Now, moving on to what you actually asked about...the actual 3D program. Please answer my previous questions before making a final decision. Personally I learned on 3D Studio MAX, however I have also used Softimage XSI v2.0, Maya, Cinema 4D (v8.0), Carrara, and a little bit of Lightwave, other then that I've only read about any others that I might mention.

My personal opinion would be that if you go with a really high end program you're probably going to have problems with the learning curve, that is unless she has an excellent tutor and/or excellent tutorials (and by excellent tutorials I mean tutorials that tell both how to do things as well as why). The problem you'll run into with the mid-market and beginner/free market stuff is stability and toolset limitations. There is no perfect solution....so what you need is the best possible compromise.

Personally I would stay away from the beginner/free market stuff (excepting some of the free high end apps), simply because your daughter will run into toolset limitations way to fast, not to mention possible stability issues. Don't get me wrong, there's good free apps out there but they are all quite limiting once you get going.

High end apps I would also shy away from, mainly because of the learning curve, I'd wait until your daughter at least has her foot inside the door before you go with the high end stuff. High end apps are worth every penny of the price, but they are 'professional' through and through, they're meant to be taught, by professionals to students. They can be learned through self education, but it's a long and difficult process.

That leaves the mid level apps, Truespace, Lightwave, Cinema 4D, Carrara, etc. Truespace is primarily a modeling app, from what I understand, and it's interface and workflow leave quite a lot to be desired, that is they're not exactly industry standard, so if you were to choose Truespace, then be aware that the transition from it to a higher end app would be a more difficult transition. Lightwave I also have workflow issues with, it's got a nice enough toolset, but I've always found working in it fairly slow and somewhat inefficient, I'm not sure about the current version but I've found the others to be rather 'clicky' if you know what I mean. Cinema 4D, another excellent toolset, but personally I find it has some major workflow issues, I also find the interface very cluttered. Carrara (currently version 3, version 4 being released later this month), is IMHO the best bang for your buck that you're going to find, you can buy a full commercial version of Carrara 3 right now for $379 and get the upgrade to Carrara 4 Pro for free....unbeatable deal. Carrara is a nice overall app, good modeling tools, great texturing tools, fast, great looking renderer, and the animation in version 4 promises to be very good. Check out www.eovia.com for all the details. (BTW I am in no way affiliated with Eovia). I have found Carrara to have an excellent toolset, gentle learning curve, and an unbeatable price. It is seriously THE BEST I have seen in that price bracket.

Anyway, I hope that my long post has been helpful, please do not hesitate to contact me again, either here, or at my business email: video"@"theshirepro.com
(remove the quotes). Good luck.

JohnnyRoy wrote on 10/5/2004, 9:50 AM
> I've shopped Ebay for an newer version of C4D myself (I'm using CD+, which is essentially CE 6 XL), but never been lucky enough to find it so cheaply

Yea, I got lucky. I placed the opening bid 7 days ago for $50 (the lowest amount). Someone out bid me a day later (at $51) but I never placed another bid until the last day. You don’t want to drive the price up. In the last few minutes, I bid $99 (that was my limit) and I won at $53. The person who bid against me only bid $52. ;-)

I did let a lot of them slip by. You have to have the discipline that says you’re only going to pay so much and if it goes over that you have to walk away. Eventually, it will pay off. (now you’re really going to hate me) I got Pixelan SpiceMASTER 2 and SpiceFILTERS for $90 on eBay (that’s half price).

> You can goggle for student software

I almost forgot. Your daughter can get a student discount! Academic Superstore and Studia are two major web retailers that specialize in student software. I’ve ordered from both of them for our local school and they are both great.

richard-courtney wrote on 10/5/2004, 11:46 AM
I have truespace 6 and the free tutorials are not too bad.

I had a scene with a desk, chair, brick walls and a moving camera up
in less than a week.
see caligari.com
pb wrote on 10/5/2004, 12:56 PM
Okay, how about for a 49 yo video editor with zero animation experience?

Our animaotor left, taking her PC and software with her. Money is not an issue, we need something that is easy to learn and use. I could go to say 2K USD if I had to. Which program would you folks recommend? Both of us have extensive programming experience and my partner is adept with Photoshop, if that's any help...

thanks in advance,

richard-courtney wrote on 10/5/2004, 8:24 PM
2K for older artists I would like Maya. My budget is much lower and
may age is .... over 21.

For a youth Truespace is good for someone who is serious about
getting into the business. Keep in mind that most companies want a
college degree so experience will come with classes and internships.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 10/6/2004, 8:01 AM
i would suggest maya too. It can do pretty much anything & runs on Windows, Mac, and maybe (still) SGI's.
pb wrote on 10/6/2004, 10:44 AM
Well, maybe I can go to whatever the price is for Maya software and tutorials. Fact is we do not have an animator but still need to make plan view animations showing Mining Trucks and shovels interacting with each other.

Thanks for the input. We'll see if we can hire a Maya trainer to come up here and if we can, buy the package.

TheHappyFriar wrote on 10/6/2004, 6:56 PM
Where do you live? If a local college teaches maya, maybe you could get in on their classes (I think i still have my Maya 1 book from college!)
sjlocke wrote on 10/6/2004, 7:07 PM

Maya complete is $1995, I think.
BillyBoy wrote on 10/6/2004, 7:28 PM
I'm amazed people suggest thousand dollar programs for a eleven year old girl. Come down to earth.

If she's interested in characer animation you can't beat Poser 5. It comes with many basic models and you can literally spend months fooling around making minor changes and there is a big comunity. Its also fairly cheap. About $160 street.

If you mean landscapes and gemotric objects Bryce is also excellent and fairly low priced.

If you daughters is talented enough to make her own any of the vector graphics applications like Corel Draw or Fireworks and/or Freehand are also reasonablly priced and excellent.