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3984Re: Seeking recommendations for 3D software

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  • Tom Casey
    Nov 29, 2012
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      Drew,

      I've used Maya since day one... even go back to Maya's predecessor, the original Alias software starting with version 0.9 in 1986. Through all those many years we have been constantly marketed to switch to one software of another... sometimes even being given free year-long trials to tempt us. For fulldome, we currently work alongside animators, depending on the client, using SoftImage, Max and Lightwave... dividing up scenes depending on each softwares strengths.

      Honestly, although I feel that Maya has the most overall capability, software preferences are more a case of what you already know and feel comfortable with... in other words, after you've spent months or years learning to use one you just don't want to learn all over again. The truth is, the tools are all rather complex and have steep learning curves. And fulldome adds a big plus to the complexity because of what it is.

      One advantage to the Max, Maya, SoftImage apps (all owned by Autodesk) is the fact that they have some import/export capabilities between them with the Autodesk FBX file format, so if you work in one, there is somewhat of a path to pass files between the programs (not everything is ever as transparent as you would like with software). This allows us to work with planetariums using those tools with some advantage.

      From my knowledge, Maya and Max are the two most used by a large number of the fulldome community who are not using the free Blender app. We like Maya, since we also do other higher-end work outside of fulldome and, as I said, we've "always" used. The Mental Ray renderer that is part of Maya has some advantages for fulldome work. Being a production studio, Maya's open architecture also gives us some ability to write our own code at times when needed. Maya also comes with closely tied-in compositing and motion tracking tools and has a large user base with lots of on-line tutorials, shaders, scripts, etc., etc.

      As a single user I would think Max may be a good choice... somewhat less complex to learn and usually what is developed for Maya's high-end user base eventually finds its way into Max because they are both owned by Autodesk. We've hired several animators over the years who started with Max and rather quickly learned Maya when they started at HRP. Max also has a large user base with online tutorials and plugins, etc.

      If you want, get in touch with me offline and I would be glad to discuss further details of our experience... by email or telephone, a call to speak in person would probably be easier.

      Tom



      On Nov 29, 2012, at 12:48 PM, Drew Gilmore wrote:

      > I know there are plenty of Blender fans out there, and I'm all for free
      > stuff. But taking cost out of the issue, are there good reasons to favor 3D
      > Max, Lightwave, Maya, Cinema4D or something else over Blender? Could I (as
      > one person doing most of the visual work) get much more out of commercial
      > software than I could out of Blender? Are there specific pros or cons,
      > strengths or weaknesses for one package versus another - especially for
      > someone just getting started?

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