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Would like to try 3D Studio Max

 7:20 pm on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've seen that a lot of great stuff is being done with 3D editors and the top of the line seems to be 3D Studio Max. At the moment I'm using Swift3D v2, which is great but Studio Max is said to be far more superior.

Anybody know where or how I can get an evaluation or demo? I'd rather stick with a lower release, like r2 or r3, so I can start out with the basics before I use any higher advanced versions.

And have any of you experienced the software? Is it what it's all talked up to be?

[edited by: Marcia at 2:04 am (utc) on Aug. 26, 2002]



 7:53 pm on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

3D Studio Max is a professional 3d modeler and animator. It comes with a $3,495.00 price tag. I used it in college. I don't believe they authorize a demo. If you are still in school you can get a reduced price from their site [discreet.com]. It is in the same class as lightwave. 3D studio max being one of the best video game modelers on the market, is extremely powerful and has long render times because of the complicity of textures, lighting, and polygon counts. Lightwave is more video special effects oriented with a $1595 price tag. I use lightwave because it, IMHO, intagrates better with After Effects, Commotion, and other digital video packages. It is brought to you by Newtek which, for all you video people, has the video product toaster. Swift3D is not in the same league with these high-end packages.

3D packages like this are not easy to learn. They are extremely complicated and have so much functionality. To use 3D Studio max just for web content, unless you are planning on creating character animation shorts, is extreme overkill.

There is a swift 3d plugin so you can render out to vector base formats from Max and lightwave. What is your final format of your models? There really are no basic versions of Max.

3D Studio Max Samples

Lightwave Samples

The true high-end modeler and animator is SoftImage [softimage.com]. Alias¦Wavefront [aliaswavefront.com] is also extreme top of the line.


 12:22 am on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

3d studio max does not have a demo. I tried to get a demo a few years ago, but just got a crappy CD in the mail with a video of what it can do. Latest version is 4.

Its very hard to learn at first, or at least frustrating. You really need to just follow some tutorials online or get someone to show it to you.


[edited by: korkus2000 at 12:31 am (utc) on Aug. 26, 2002]
[edit reason] violation of TOS [/edit]


 5:07 pm on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

One of the last few MacAddict subscriber CDs I received had a demo of MAYA 3D... I don't know anything about 3D software, so I don't know if learning MAYA would help you with any of the other programs in the long run, but they do offer a free demo which places an 'embossed' watermark over your output files.

It would work fine for learning some of the basics & theory of 3D modelling, I think, and would probably be OK to use for building a portfolio as well.


 5:11 pm on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

I can't think of the name of it, but there's been a freeware 3D modeler out there for years that's extremely popular. It's available as a free download at a lot of the freeware sites.


 5:24 pm on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yes mivox Maya is an excellent modeler. They just started giving out a demo. I have the demo myself. The site got overrun for weeks a few months ago when they released the demo version. It is one of the top of the line modelers produced by alias¦wavefront. You can find the personal learning edition here free [aliaswavefront.com].


 12:05 am on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mayas good but expensive.. Last time i checked it started at 15 grand.... Its more visual in interface, and used to be only for Win NT, same deal with SoftImage.

Blender is a free modeler, but it is really bare bones, and jsut no fun. 3dSMAX makes a simple cube look good.


 12:12 am on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maya's demo was on a MacAddict CD kingkelly... that kinda suggests they've moved beyond Windows, no? (It's available for OSX) ;) And they've dropped their prices: Maya Complete - $1999 USD or Maya Unlimited - $6999 USD

But if someone wants to learn 3D modelling, at least their demo is a free option. That's the kind of software most people wouldn't get their hands on unless they're taking a class for it, or work for a company that owns a site license anyhow.


 1:23 am on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you are interested in nurbs models then Rhinoceros [rhino3d.com] is a good lower end modeler. What makes lightwave, maya, softimage, and 3d studio max so much more expensive is their modeling and animation capabilities. They have both nurbs and straight polygon modeling functionality. They have render chaining and broadcast quality output. They have particle generation and motion inputs for capture quality animation.

I would only use softimage and maya if I were working on episode 3 or getting a job at pixar. No way to break into this market unless you work for a 3d studio. If you are doing work with these programs it is probably overkill; but your clients are completely blown away. Studio Max is for your high end games like tomb raider or everquest. It can also do some breath taking 3d worlds. Lightwave is for the special effects and compositing. Very realistic textures and atmospheres. Then we get to modelers like Rhinoceros. It is more for shorts and basic animations. At the bottom is swift 3d, bryce 3d, and other low end modelers that are for quick and dirty story boards or web work.

Swift 3d is probably the best 3d program for Flash animations. I believe that was its original intent. It completely depends on what your final output is. Are you going to betamax sp? Are you going to DVD or film. Is it intended to be part of the render engine of a game? If not I suggest programs like Rhinoceros or swift.


 2:17 am on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Realsoft 3d v4 is another interesting 3d program I have, quite capable, for $700. It has its roots in an old amiga based 3d program, and runs on both windows and linux.


 4:45 am on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Or you can start off on the cheaper, easier 3d programs:
Bryce and Carrera (both introduced by MEtacreations, but have since been bought-out). Bryce is for easy landscapes that look very nice, and carrera is the easier, more visual version of something like 3DSMAX...


 6:09 am on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sometimes you can find very cheap deals on discontinued software. A company called Micrografx (now owned by Corel) had a software suite call Webtricity that included Simply 3D, which had great reviews by people who used it. Last year I saw the whole suite for $40 - and Picture Publisher, included, is still one of my favorites.


 3:04 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all the input, it was greatly appreciated.

I finally got 3ds Max 4.0 and I was blown away! Everything I'd want and way more! I feel like I could produce special effects for movies now and I haven't built the first thing. I knew it would be powerfull for over $3000 dollars but this goes beyond expectations. Now I'm wandering if I should drop the web design thing and aim for computer animation artist or what ever they call those guys. I do have a strong artistic ability afterall. I'm 34 years old, is it to late for me? More later, thanks all.


 4:54 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Now I'm wandering if I should drop the web design thing and aim for computer animation artist or what ever they call those guys.

If you're really good at it, then you should certainly do it.
You can make pretty decent money creating levels and character models for game companies using 3ds max.
You won't make as much as the programmers though...

P.S. As long as you have a decent imagination, you're never too old.


 5:26 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

:) Look at what moview are spending on effects these days... if you can put together a good portfolio and get on with a professional effects/animation house, go for it!


 5:04 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Update-> I now also have Lightwave 3D 7. I haven't used it yet, still learnin' 3dsmax. And hopefully by next week I'll have Maya. Then I'll look into getting Softimage.

Seriously now, which is the best? Having the chance, which would ya'll study mostly? Is this a good route, industry wise, to learn as many of the packages a possible or should I try and specialize in one?

I know that this gets off the subject a bit as far as web design goes but, I am still a webmaster talking to other webmasters about other avenues and possibilties. I'm sure I'll port this subject over to a 3d designers forum when I find a good one. Do any of you know a good forum for 3d design talk in a general field, non-specific to one software?


 5:19 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

What are you looking to be the final result? They are different tools for different things. Learing all of them is complete overkill. You won't be able to do more than scratch the surface of any of them if you switch around. Decide what kind of animation/modeling you want to create. Then choose the tool that best suits that need.

Be aware that many people are in this industry. The people I know who currently work on movies, games, and shorts do it because they love to. My advice would be to learn one program thoroughly. I see more openings for 3D studio max in atlanta then any other program. I would think that would be the one to work on.


 8:55 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ya definitely 3dSMAX... Its cheaper, so a lot of smaller studios would have it. For now, just try and learn the basic modeling techniques and follow as many tutorials as possible! Its hard enough learning one piece of 3d software, so stay away from the others, even though theyre more powerful....


 1:10 am on Sep 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks. That's what I'll do then. I started with 3dsmax and will stick to it till it burns into my cranium and appears in my dreams. I always eat, sleep and shower what ever subject I pick up on. I could continue web design, which I am good at (for my experience) and make money with. But the truth is that I really love computer graphics and animation. Now I could use that dual P4 3Ghz proccessor and 128mb video card and 1gb DDR ram and dual 23" plasma flat screen monitors... Opps, I'm drewling again. Better get back to work and reality, or is this reality. Its hard to tell after looking at so many virtual worlds.

See ya'll around. Look for my name in the credits in a few years.


 2:56 am on Sep 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

Looks like you've got your mind made up develclint, but I saw some really cool things being done with poser too. This is like apples and oranges but here ya go:

[curiouslabs.com ]


 2:57 am on Sep 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

Poser sure has come a long way since I used the first version back in college.

Thors Hammer

 3:16 am on Sep 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sounds like your having tons of fun with the new toys. ;)

I also have 3d studio max ver 4, and also lightwave. IMHO, 3d is the better choice for what you are talking about. The plug-ins you will find available allow a tremendious amount of control, and options. Currently I run it on a p4 system, running at 2.3 ghz. 512mb ddr memory (soon to be tripled), and an elsa gloria 2 3d accelerator card. 21 inch monitor (not flat :( ) and about 100gig of skeezy drives (netframes, hot swapable).

So far, the render times are ok. Maybe I am just used to it, so it doesnt seem slow. On a dual processor sytem running nt, you will benifit greatly.

Let me know how things go for you, and if you put any examples of your work on the web let me know, id like to see em.....


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