3D Modler

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by ProgrammingFreak, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. svero

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    You know.. It's a real shame about Blender. I've been taking the time go through online docs and tutorials and to learn it a little and see what it can do, and it is indeed pretty powerful and overall a decent app.

    The main problem is that ridiculous non-standard interface. I really have to wonder what the hell is going on there. Proponents of the interface seem to imply that it's more powerful than standard interfaces and I'll grow to love it bla bla bla.. To me all it serves is to be confusing where it could be clear. There's no particular advantage that I can see to using a bunch of buttons to switch between views over the more traditional tabbed UI, which everyone is already use to. Similarly other elements of the interface seem pointlessly obfuscated. There are elements that are not typical windows and are nice, like auto resizing buttons etc.. but I don't really have any problem with that. A button is a button after all. What I dont like is a seemingly pointless effort to be non-standard where standard UI would serve and, IMHO improve the app by making it more accessible. So in the end, it's maybe not a complete show stopper given the cost and power you get. Still though.. why? What's the points of reinventing the windows UI and making everyone learn your own special way of doing buttons and views? Why not strive to make the application as accessible as possible as well?
     
  2. svero

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    Also I'd just comment on Wings. Wings is good, and if you like it then you should give silo a try. Silo is basically very similar to wings, but with a lot more power, while keeping a nice clean intuitive interface.
     
  3. Sysiphus

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    I wouldnt' agree with that, but is an opinion...IMHO, Silo lacks the deep and fast control you have in Wings when modelling organic.
    But to each his favourite...


    I read very little of the docs, though I needed in places like in the NLA animation system. Other than that, imho Wings or Mirai's UIs are faster.

    Mouse gestures can be fast, and it has several methods which are the reason some things are so strange...But I keep disagreeing in how they did the turntable. It was even much better in older Blender versions. And I prefer Max, Maya, XSI, Metasequoia or Wings behaviour in that, by far. It makes it much slower the workflow. Is the main point I don't like. But i use Blender and like its capabilities.


    In that I agree with you. I also think that is wrong.many haven't used even other 3d tools. And I did.A lot. And know how can an UI can be faster. So, yup, in many aspects, there are things that could be better.
    I wouldn't mind it being non standard: I'd just make my mind like I did with XSI, and many tools..my complaint is...is not as fast and functional as they said, even when learned it. It's faster Mirai like ones. In some aspects, is even faster Max one. I like Blender, but I am not one of those thinking is a God send in every little part of it...No tool is.

    You can configure it so, indeed. But as an start, is quite..desertic, ;)


    First, as imho they're not specially Windows lovers ;) Though I see a more friendly aproach to Windows, lately :)
    BTW, UI firendlyness is getting better every time, with every release. 2.40 alpha is, but I guess not in the points you mentioned.

    The UI buttons is not so important for many Blender users as they handle Blender like you would play a flight sim...I get to know if they leave a key without a use...;) All keys. I prefer a mixed workflow. In Wings, adobe, and even in blender,only set main operations as shortcuts.

    Overall, I'd say due to several stuff like the turntable/trackball viewport, I'm not comfortable with it...But i handle it a lot, for its power for free, and for certain interesting aproachs....
     
    #23 Sysiphus, Nov 26, 2005
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2005
  4. NuriumGames

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    I've tried a few, and selected cinema4D, it is easy to start and powerful. I'm really happy with it.
     
  5. Sysiphus

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    very good choice. Just I hope you don't have to export 3d character animations to 'real 3d' games...
     
  6. svero

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    Hmm.. can you give an example. My experience using them was that silo was basically very similar to wings but with many more powerful features. Sort of a superset.
     
  7. NuriumGames

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    Not for now, but you never know. For now I'm just doing renders for 2D game graphics :D
     
  8. Reactor

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    Blender's interface isn't anywhere near as bad as it used to be, and in some ways it's actually better than the conventional interfaces you find in most 3D apps. The main reason things work a little oddly, is because it was based on a really shocking original interface design (made by guys who really didn't know the first thing about a good interface) and no one has had the balls to change it completely.

    I recently went back to Blender for a play, and though the first time I used it I found it insanely horrible to use, I found myself able to grasp it quite easily now... simply because of small tweaks that've been made here and there. If you've used any good 3D software before (Silo, XSI, etc) you know how good an interface can be, and the first time you use Blender you almost want to reach into the screen and slap the guys who made the interface. But, it's not as bad as it first appears. With a little time, you do find yourself able to use it quickly, and effectively. And, you may even grow to LIKE it.

    ProgrammingFreak, I just had a quick look at Anim8or. I haven't looked at it in a while, but it looks quite solid for what you want to do. (it looks surprisingly good, actually) I'd go with that, if you need to animate things. A good combination then (if you want to do everything for free) is to learn Wings, and export an obj to Anim8or where you can animate it. In between you can use another app to texture it (perhaps Blender, perhaps Unwrap3D)
     
  9. NuriumGames

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    I'm not a 3D expert, but Maxon claims that cinema4D is fine for gaming.

    http://www.maxon.de/pages/dyn_files/dyn_htx/htx/sol_games_e.html

    "CINEMA 4D and the Game Industry
    Environment models, characters or high-end texture work for maximum realism. MAXON supports game developers with CINEMA 4D and BodyPaint 3D - even when it comes to integration with 3ds max, Maya or Lightwave."
     
  10. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I tried the cinema 4d demo and really liked it. I thought it was a nice app.. just I found for 2K i might just as well spring for the extra and get 3dstudio Max.

    I'm going to try xsi 5 demo. I've heard good things. I wasn't super happy with xsi 4.2 when I gave it a whirl, but maybe this version will fixup some of the concerns I had. I guess we'll see. Overall I'm still not really impressed with any one 3d tool. None has really felt "Right" -- at leasy not in the lower price ranges. I'm quite happy with silo for modelling in just about all respects except numerical editiing where it's weak. But for character animation and rendering... Haven't found anything that really thrills me. I expect there's still room for another app in the market that really brings to rendering and animation what apps like silo and wings brought to a standalone modeler. (again while remaining reasonably priced)

    There is one option, although they have seemingly no customer service (ive not yet been able to get an email answered by them having written twice) and the worse possible arrangement for purchasing their app. (something to do with a hardware dongle and ordering from paypal or some such completely ridiculous thing) The tool itself though looks pretty cool and I enjoyed the demo. It's Messiah Studio, and at ~300$ it's priced pretty attractively. projectmessiah.com

    - S
     
  11. Sysiphus

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    I spent a pair of days, quite several hours with the demo. And well, found it to be a very different UI, despite what I had heard. Imho, Wings is faster, is more UI-less, but is faster. Is hard to explain, and I promise when I judge a software, do an strong effort to not get biased. Also, having used deeply many packages, allow me to know quickly if an UI is fast and where. I think Silo is very good, and specially feeel atracted by the topology brush, but imho for organic moedlling is faster Wings methods, but not the methods in the few tutorials out there, but certain discovered based on the Wings internal way of working, in teh mid of very hard pressure, under tight game deadlines. Could I get those also with Silo? Probably. But in my experience, you need mesh structure and certain UI stuff to get the advantages of Wings. I have done even more hours with other tools than Wings, but its internals and way of working is not as deep, as flexible. With Wings there are hundreds of modelling tricks not doable in other packages, even expensive ones.

    I guess I'd be really happy if my company purchased Mirai. But sadly wont see the day. I guess, though, Wings has evolved such a load from what was nendo,(basic package done by Mirai's company, based on Mirai's modelling) the inspiration... Even wings may have some advantages over Mirai's modelling, who knows. I'm told teh animation stuff in Mirai is really sweet...

    Now logically you can think is just Wings is the tool am expert in, that's why I speak so...Well, no. As I say, I know much better some others, which indeed are "bigger" . I indeed moved as saw clearly how it was really better than others.

    Anyway, this is very personal for each one. Probably even each brain is built better for one or othe rway of doing things, hehe, who knows...

    There was indeed an eternal discussion in all inet 3d forums(I just rarely browse em unless I have a very rare problem at work...Indeed, I did browse for freakiness, rarely a 3d forum helps me, dunno...) ...metaballs as all the other methods...splines against per poly modelling... max vs Maya...In fact often is more based on each one experience...But I tend to hear moe to those who have used a lot of packages. Anyway, I could be biased , too. Who knows. Best advice is each tries all the software and then decide. That's the best way....

    Indeed: I have modeled even with arcan stuff like Quake modeler, or 3d Studio msdos, Organica, Softy 3d, stuff that indeed half of it doesn't even exist now. Modelling can be done with whatever, most of the tools will allow making models. Is a matter of speed and capabilities. But even with a very small set of features, you can do a piece of art, or just functional 3d.

    Svero, and I can't remember now, but I discovered several modelling features, and fast ways not present in Silo. Even said so by a very few number of users in their forums...

    I only say: in the last two companies, I am clearly a faster modeler in props and game characters than my colleages artists which used Maya and Max. that's indeed quite a reason, as I don't consider myself necesarily better than them, but is surely the tool. Or the way I understood it. Go guess.

    @ Nuriun
    Then u did the better choice, imho. I'm jealous on anyone using that fast and explendid renderer...very easy to set up scenes with it, too. And u can impove it with modules. Great, great choice. Remember there are plenty of tools you can use, which are free, as companions...ie, Gimp, Lithunwrap, Wings3d, etc.

    @ reactor
    Quite agree. Things like the new widgets, are imho a clear wish to make it more easy to work with for newbies. Partially , only. As I find to see also add animation features I was crying for some years ago...Then was told were unneeded, and tehy all get into progressively, so...It may be a matter of time Blender is not feared as a hard UI. Who knows.

    Well, yup, specially now that you have weight painting, as envelopes alone are never enough to do accurate human animation. 0.9 added weight painting. Yet though you cannot make a foot glued to ground, while walking, and this is *so* needed...You can do with Blender. It requires knowledge, though. I started in Blender using it only as an animator, importing the obj from Wings, indeed. And works great. Then I realized modelling was quite easy and once learned the 2 or 3 rare ui habits, is like every modeler...yet i don't prefer it.

    In the long run, if a lot of character animation , and very accurate animation, I'd recommend Blender, even just concentrate only in animation and very basic UI and scene setup, plus of course character animation. As that way is NOT so heavy to learn Blender, trust me. You can model and uv map outside, which imho is the best bet. But to each his own.

    You can do also with Anim8or. And probably..probably is good enough to do toon animation and stuff. It also has advanced stuff not present till now in Blender: rotation limits on bones. Yet though all overall package is easier in case of Ani8or, I, call me rare, find much straight to the point character animation in Blender. Maybe there they did went more standard to other packages, and that's what I found so easier, familiar.

    Anim8or is, mainly, imho, an easy, functional scene builder. And very easy to learn.

    If for animate scene objest, etc, simple renders...it may be quite better bet than any other, for speed and easiness.

    @Nurium...yup, but look how they focus in the only strong points they have...Body paint...the integration is meant for texturing with it and hotlinking with max...but that's texture, not export of character animation...true, they also mention fbx...and what...fbx is only supported in animation matter by high end packages...what's the point then if u need another expensive package that may animate better? You'd be purchasing Max or Maya or Lightwave, that have several great flavours for character animation in their owns...not to speak no the money wasted.

    Other possibility is shockawave 3d...you can't do much with that... Is not very good to speak of 2d games...as yup, rendering stuff is allways possible with cinema...am speaking of 3d export of character animations...

    Cinema would rock with a full x export. Of character animation, I mean. Not only 3d statics. But if for only rendering, truely rocks.

    the lack of these exports has been even recognized by customer attention emails...

    The main reason is Cinema has surely a very strong market in architecture and general rendering...

    @Svero I'm very curious about Messiah quite long tiem ago. Was near to purchase the "games" version, how I call it, long ago, which exports x files but I think it does not render. Yet though, saw as more complete XSi Foundation 4.0 (for which you really need 1280x1024 destop, which I have now with a cheap but good tft) and...well, for character animation, I have not find anything better , yet. To me, that the easiest by far to animate is character Studio 4.x in Max, but imho is not the best, neither the most powerful. Is the one I allways am asked to use at work, though. has some strong advantages, specially in team work.

    But...xsi is simply sweet in many aspects. Not a fast UI, anyway, in my opinion. But a load of power in it. Is a complex tool. I have not regreted the purchase by any means, but everyone needs to think very well if an UI suits the own ways, etc.

    Dunno what price they'd make me for updating to 5...neither if it'd worth me the improves, I only animate mid to low pol stuff with it, and do the occassional GI render. As was planned. Though finally I end up using also a lot Blender. But for animation, Blender is lacking some features that are very basic in XSI, and some both have, are better done in xsi.
     
  12. ProgrammingFreak

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    I'll just keep looking into Blender
     
  13. Sysiphus

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    Then grab 2.40 alpha 2 also, as in many ways is nicer... :


    http://www.blender.org/cms/Blender.31.0.html


    Must say, and I did not say before: Blender has today the possibility of export of a really great quantity of game formats through non included export plugins. Those are python scripts, even customizable by any average programmer, or not even that... Not needed, they tend to work great.

    I have used very succesfully -and been a tester of some- exports like : md2(even import!), md3 , x, ase, ms3d(milkshape, but is not complete) Each does not work with every Blender version, but other good thing in Blender is u can access to any version. 2.36 tended to work great with all them. Today's 2.37 works well with several. And I guess once 2.40 is fully released, and API docs get public (more or less they did a bit already ) the plugin authors ("third parties" ;) ) will as allways, freely update the plugins. Is usual.Anyways, sometimes I do use an old Blender for a rare export. During time, it has had a great load of plugins. I tested Wings3d import to work really great, some days ago,and that one included natively.

    The biggest lack in Blender keeps being no smooth groups , imho. But u can set all smooth and break the edges where you want a hard edge. Quite bad, real hard edges work flow is not there, but depending on your needs, you can overcome it so.

    there's not yet an easy and functional way to produce lightmaps with Blender, remember that, also. There are some free alternatives, but I think wont hurt you to buy some cheap jewels, like Ultimate Unwrap(uv mapping) and Giles (lightmaps) , which are really important in any workflow. 100$ in total, I think.

    Anyway, I'd prefer to render with Cinema ;)
     
  14. svero

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    So just thought I'd mention that I tried the softimage Xsi 5.0 demo and... well I'm not sure what they did exactly, but wow.. Sure seems great for 500$ -- I'm thinking very seriously of migrating to it for animation and rendering.. although its still likely I'll do my initial modeling in silo.

    Also thought I'd mention... The one problem with using separate specific tools for modeling, rendering, animation etc.. is that you get confused between the interfaces. You're working in silo a few days then you switch to the renderer and your placing some models in a scene and suddenly you stretch a model to 4x it's width by accident because the middle mouse button is something else all of a sudden. That's a bit of a pain.
     
  15. Jim Buck

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    For anyone reading this thread that didn't read my thread about 3dsmax 4.0 that I'm selling - $112.50 until the end of this weekend only. :)

    To contribute something more on-topic.. I've only used 3dsmax 3.1, 3dsmax 4.0, Maya 5.0, and Maya 6.5. My usage has been limited to writing plug-ins for these pieces of software, so "powerful" or "easy-to-use" is from a tool-writing point-of-view instead of a user point-of-view. Though 3dsmax had an interesting API (keep in mind I never used higher than 4.0), Maya's just blew it away. Maya 5.0's API was slow if you were trying to mess around with hi-res geometry, but they made great strides in 6.0 and above to improve the performance (probably from a user's point-of-view as well) in dealing with next-gen typical models and textures.

    Though they typically are out of the budget range of an indie, if you can pick up an older version of these packages for cheap, it could well be worth it.. especially if long-term you may be looking to get a job in the mainstream industry.
     
  16. Farmergnome

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    If your serious about learning a package, you cant go past Max, full marks from me, even better once you get a plugin called polyboast, its poly modeling tools are pretty much unbeatable if you have the time to sit down and learn it, fairly expensive though.
     
  17. Sysiphus

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    Polyboost is good, but that, Meshtools, Orion...are only an attempt, an small subset of Mirai modelling and selection tools, which are which Wings includes since eons ago.. Many max users are amazed, but to be true, that's only an small part, it's lacking other power already present in Wings and Mirai's selection system and modelling features...

    All thos emodelling features there sold as great things are basic features on Mirai and Wings3d.

    I'd admit one thing though: as a neck saver, in videogames, few things like Max. But I can clearly say is not the best UI possible, in any way. Those third party plugins do esxist really for this reason.

    @ Jim Buck..WHAT? That's a freaking bargain, but only in case you are transfering the license....Which I don't know if is allowed by Discreet/Autodesk...I suppose it is...

    For that price, Max 4 is simply a jewel. Gmax is based in max 4.2, and well, you can do all a videogame need with Gmax. Heck, I'd buy that Max 4 if I were certain that is a real license transfer.But it sounds too strange for me...
    Anyway I have xsi and a load of software already..but heh, tha'd be a real bargain. No matter that Max 8 is out now...

    I like Maya for animation...I find the UI a bit heavy, but ok..

    @ Svero. Then I'll have to have a look on update price over an xsi 4.0..
    Oh, btw, I actually never ever planned on using xsi for modelling, while seems is incredibly powerful...I just model in wings and import in xsi. With obj, it even respects smoothing normals hard edges (similar but not the same than smoothing groups..hard edges is faster to setup)
    XSi has plugins you can download for free that import and export perfectly animated x files, making it full two directions with my other tools.

    True, but is a must. I work everyday at job this way: model with wings, uv map with Ultimate Unwrap, texture with Deep Paint3d and Gimp or Adobe, integrate in Max, create the materials to which I asign the textures done, and do the painful thing of rigging well the character, with bones or with biped, depends on the project. usually allways with skin modifier, and then I animate it. Not actually in a single day(lol, usually is at least a day per task, as minimum), but often happens so, as one have to go non linearly fixing things...I have learnt by experience loads of workarounds to not have so linear workflow wether inside Max, or with the other steps in other tools...

    [This practically 10 hours a day...ouch.]

    Is a bit of a pain in that (I tend to suffer more with hotkeys short cuts, but even got used...I can be in a day hitting ctrl+shit+z for undo at Wings3d, later on same keys in adobe (Wings3d used those with a lot of brain) but in all others is ctrl+z ...or invert selection is some ctrl+shift+i, in others shitf+i...etc...and key shortcuts are essential for me to go fast...Specially painful is...edge, face,vertex keys for switching between these modes...in Blender , Wings, and Max, is a total different thing...In some like Wings, Max and Ultimate Unwrap at least i can setup my own keys, and in all them I do so.)

    But you get used to everything.
     
  18. Diragor

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  19. Sysiphus

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    hehe. I purchased that one, too. Is great. But i bought 1.23b, freely upgraded to 1.55 ...Yet though the real jump is 2.0 , but I think full purchase for me, so I didn't buy 2.0...Is one allowing normal maps generation..In shareware games, no application till quite some time, as that requires 3d cards more powerful that the average casual gamer (off topic, but does anyone know which is actually the machine to aim to? I mean, cpu, card. Is it like a celeron 400, gf4mx then?) .Yet though is of a lot of use for making 3d like UIs with just a brush, for also hi res finishing, and general modelling. For animation, it never animated, I think now there are some efforts, but I'm not very informed of that last thing.

    I agree, is a great tool .Not one I'd recommend much for main modeler in low pol games.While it can do that, other modelers are better suit for that. But i have used for that, as a curiosity, and can do. the uvmapping was poor for games, as only the planar, cilindrical, etc, plus an automatic method not good for clear uv templates in games to exchange them , 2d edit, etc, at least in 1.55, and I think also in 2.0. many people during long time used external uv mappers, and I know of pros in AAA games in the industry using it every day, specially for *very* hi res stuff and normal maps.

    Anyway, anything can serve...Just some tools are better for certain tasks...Zbrush is ideal for wrinkles and very realistic final details (but be prepared to have a machine allowing editing with hundred of thousands of polygons or even a million, or you'll find it useless...Probaly 2.0 eats more) but with other fast organic modelers you can do the same, evenm with more control in wire flow (Gollum was modeled with Mirai and other stuff) .I did show in some thread my wip orc head. Was actually mainly an exercise to do similar stuff -in what is modelling only, for texturing I'd carry it to my deep paint3d which I prefer to Zbrush 3d painting for certain technical reason- with just a free tool like Wings : http://xs.to/xs.php?f=orcc4.jpg&h=xs50&d=05416

    ...as all in Wings/Mirai, etc, is based in subdiv modelling. Is usually also quite good for animation: I do control if I want the flow of the wires so that they will deform like muscles once animated. It was not the case yet as I usually start a bit more raw and then, order the wires a bit more. Wings allows that flexibility thanks to winged edge internal mesh structure.

    To summarize, I agree Zbrush is amazing.
     
    #39 Sysiphus, Nov 27, 2005
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2005
  20. Jim Buck

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    I'm just selling it as-is. It comes with no upgrade capabilities and no tech support. Just the original disks, manuals, packaging, and legit serial code. If the download still exists somewhere, it's easily upgradable to 4.2. (4.2 is what we were really using at my company at the time.)

    Yeah, I figure it's got to be useful to *someone* since only next-gen developers would care about Max 8.
     

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