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Re: Seeking recommendations for 3D software

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  • Tom Casey
    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
    Message 1 of 15 , 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?

      ************************************************************
      H o m e R u n P i c t u r e s

      Tom Casey
      President & Creative DIrector

      100 First Avenue Suite 450 Pittsburgh, PA 15222 412-391-8200
      HomeRunPictures.com

















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jason Fletcher
      More than a few times I ve seen AE users jump into C4D and start making some beautiful work within a few tutorials. The dynamics and particle systems make me
      Message 2 of 15 , Nov 30, 2012
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        More than a few times I've seen AE users jump into C4D and start making
        some beautiful work within a few tutorials. The dynamics and particle
        systems make me jealous. C4D is definitely made for the motion graphics
        genre of the 3d market and I think that forces them to make it easier to
        use.

        Maya is a truly huge toolset and its steep learning curve is in
        understanding when and how to use its tools in tandem. Issues at rendertime
        can be utterly crippling sometimes. Using the DomeAFL fisheye lens
        shader actually doesn't bring any limitations or glitches into Maya
        fulldome production. Maya is what we use in all our fulldome productions (4
        animators) and we love it.

        My understand is that many people lean towards Max because it has no limit
        of render nodes for renderfarm usage. But it seems that Max is more
        oriented to video game design. (Seeing as how both Maya and Max are both
        made by Autodesk, the softwares have different angles)

        Blender can do pretty much anything that the other CGI toolsets can do. The
        main difference is just how optimized and streamlined the workflow/approach
        is going to be.

        Any CGI software can be setup to output fulldome frames by using a hemicube
        camera rig or installing a fisheye lens shader (if available). A good place
        to start learning any of these softwares is to get a subscription to
        DigitalTutors. Best of luck to ya! Feel free to emails me with any
        questions.

        --
        Jason Fletcher
        Science Visualizer
        Charles Hayden Planetarium




        On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 12:48 PM, Drew Gilmore <dotsandlines@...>wrote:

        Hi all,

        First of all, by 3D I mean modelling and rendering 3D or volumetric objects
        - not stereoscopic shows. I have so far worked mostly in After Effects for
        show production and feel pretty comfortable there.

        We're now looking to add 3D animation to our production capabilities. I am
        realistic that we aren't going to produce a full, beginning-to-end, 3D
        modeled extravaganza right out of the gate (or necessarily ever), but it's
        time to enhance our tools and skills. We have been granted some funding for
        production software and training in the coming year, so we have a couple
        questions for those with experience.

        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?

        And without intending to start a holy war on the list, is there any
        consensus on which software package is more useful or more commonly used
        for fulldome work? It seems all over the map what people are using.

        Thanks

        Drew
        --
        Drew Gilmore
        Asst. Director
        Sudekum Planetarium
        www.SudekumPlanetarium.com

        Just a guy made of dots and lines.
      • Andrea Carvey
        I ve use lightwave for years. I m happy with its capabilities but it has a different paradigm thanmaya so if you are familiar with one the other seems
        Message 3 of 15 , Nov 30, 2012
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          I've use lightwave for years. I'm happy with its capabilities but it has a different paradigm thanmaya so if you are familiar with one the other seems difficult & confusing. They both have pros & cons and can be used to do different things in the same project but that usually doesnt happen since there are " maya" people & "lightwave" people. My experience is that maya practcally requires structured training to become
          Proficient whereas w ligjtwave it is easier to learn on one's own

          Andrea
          ------------------------------
          On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 12:09 PM MST John French wrote:

          Drew,

          Recently we hired some MSU students to do some 3D animation work for us. We have 3dsMax, but the students were using Maya in their classes. So at least here, the university students are trained on Maya (I think because it has a better educational discount). They were able to pick up Max quick enough but it would have be easier had we used Maya.

          Just my 2 cents.

          John French.

          On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 12:48 PM, Drew Gilmore <dotsandlines@...>wrote:

          Hi all,

          First of all, by 3D I mean modelling and rendering 3D or volumetric objects
          - not stereoscopic shows. I have so far worked mostly in After Effects for
          show production and feel pretty comfortable there.

          We're now looking to add 3D animation to our production capabilities. I am
          realistic that we aren't going to produce a full, beginning-to-end, 3D
          modeled extravaganza right out of the gate (or necessarily ever), but it's
          time to enhance our tools and skills. We have been granted some funding for
          production software and training in the coming year, so we have a couple
          questions for those with experience.

          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?

          And without intending to start a holy war on the list, is there any
          consensus on which software package is more useful or more commonly used
          for fulldome work? It seems all over the map what people are using.

          Thanks

          Drew
          --
          Drew Gilmore
          Asst. Director
          Sudekum Planetarium
          www.SudekumPlanetarium.com

          Just a guy made of dots and lines.
        • Paul
          ... For volumetric I use scientific codes. The following is a full ray casting volume rendering of MicroCT data http://paulbourke.net/exhibition/mv2009/ Some
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 1, 2012
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            > First of all, by 3D I mean modelling and rendering 3D or volumetric objects

            For volumetric I use scientific codes. The following is a full ray casting volume rendering of MicroCT data
            http://paulbourke.net/exhibition/mv2009/
            Some of the Dark production is also volumetric, since even though the simulations are particle like, they have a cloud of influence and thus get rendered volumetrically, again with custom code I wrote
            http://darkthemovie.info

            > And without intending to start a holy war on the list, is there any
            > consensus on which software package is more useful or more commonly used
            > for fulldome work? It seems all over the map what people are using.

            Increasingly the choice of 3D modelling software will depend on what you want to achieve and which package meets your needs. For Dark we probably used at least 4 packages, Cinema4D, Vue, PovRay, and custom 3D rendering code. In the past there may have been favourites based upon fisheye generation support but I think (hope) things have matured since then.
          • Amr El-Laithy
            Andy , I m working for planetarium post-production for 3 years now , based on our workflow in cinema4d , and it s nice . we start produce the dome master just
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 2, 2012
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              Andy ,

              I'm working for planetarium post-production for 3 years now , based on our workflow in cinema4d , and it's nice . we start produce the dome master just like the old schools with the 5camera Rig which is working nice even now . then we start to use the Dome shader for c4d and other plugins.and i may publish one of my tutorials for how to produce dome master in c4d .

              Amr




              ________________________________
              From: Andy Dolph <acdolph@...>
              To: "fulldome@yahoogroups.com" <fulldome@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 8:46 PM
              Subject: [fulldome] Re: Seeking recommendations for 3D software


               
              I know that Alex Lindsay at Pixel Corps strongly recommends people start in Cinema4D for both learning curve and workflow reasons. I have a lot of respect for his opinion, but that's general advice, not dome specific and I don't know what would be required to get dome masters out of Cinema4D.

              Andy

              Sent from my iPhone

              On Nov 29, 2012, at 12:48 PM, Drew Gilmore <dotsandlines@...> wrote:

              Hi all,

              First of all, by 3D I mean modelling and rendering 3D or volumetric objects - not stereoscopic shows. I have so far worked mostly in After Effects for show production and feel pretty comfortable there.

              We're now looking to add 3D animation to our production capabilities. I am realistic that we aren't going to produce a full, beginning-to-end, 3D modeled extravaganza right out of the gate (or necessarily ever), but it's time to enhance our tools and skills. We have been granted some funding for production software and training in the coming year, so we have a couple questions for those with experience.

              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?

              And without intending to start a holy war on the list, is there any consensus on which software package is more useful or more commonly used for fulldome work? It seems all over the map what people are using.

              Thanks

              Drew
              --
              Drew Gilmore
              Asst. Director
              Sudekum Planetarium
              www.SudekumPlanetarium.com

              Just a guy made of dots and lines.
            • Drew Gilmore
              Just wanted to thank everyone for your responses. A lot to absorb! -- Drew Gilmore Asst. Director Sudekum Planetarium www.SudekumPlanetarium.com
              Message 6 of 15 , Dec 6, 2012
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                Just wanted to thank everyone for your responses. A lot to absorb!

                --
                Drew Gilmore
                Asst. Director
                Sudekum Planetarium
                www.SudekumPlanetarium.com (http://www.SudekumPlanetarium.com)

                Just a guy made of dots and lines.
              • cpm5280
                Drew, We are primarily a Cinema 4D shop, for a variety of reasons. It s fast to pick up, which is important considering our workforce, many of whom aren t
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 7, 2013
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                  Drew,

                  We are primarily a Cinema 4D shop, for a variety of reasons. It's fast to pick up, which is important considering our workforce, many of whom aren't fulltime 3d professionals. It is still extensible, and there's are two extensive scripting systems (Python & Xpresso), etc. Particle system & volumetric shaders seem to be biggest weakness, but can be worked around.

                  We have also begun to integrate Vray (for c4d) as our renderer of choice, both because its texturing system is quite nice (and cross platform) and because the forthcoming 1.5 & 2.0 updates will allow it to do distributed rendering across unlimited nodes, supports GPU acceleration at render time and in the viewport, etc.

                  Maya & 3D Studio will both have an eventual place in our workflows, but as adjunct tools, not as primary platforms.

                  Other solutions -- Lightwave, Blender, Bryce, Vue - are all interesting & useful, but I don't consider them in the same league.

                  --- In fulldome@yahoogroups.com, Drew Gilmore wrote:

                  Just wanted to thank everyone for your responses. A lot to absorb!

                  --
                  Drew Gilmore
                  Asst. Director
                  Sudekum Planetarium
                  www.SudekumPlanetarium.com (http://www.SudekumPlanetarium.com)

                  Just a guy made of dots and lines.
                • Carlos Matias
                  Hi Fulldome Community. First : Best Wishes for this new year ! My point of view about 3D software for fulldome creation is simple : the faster the rendering
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jan 10, 2013
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                    Hi Fulldome Community.

                    First : Best Wishes for this new year !

                    My point of view about 3D software for fulldome creation is simple : the
                    faster the rendering process, the more I'll focus on creation.
                    So, using a 3D soft that handles 180 fisheye rendering out of the box is
                    good for the movie quality. The problem is that some render engines wont
                    make a good job on all the aspects of 3D rendering / textures / shaders.

                    My actual choice is 3DS Max with V-ray (integrated VrayDome Camera) and
                    Krakatoa Plugin for particle intensive rendering. Krakatoa has a camera
                    modifier for fulldome rendering.

                    I'm also testing the Clarisse Fx. It's not a modeler but some sort of
                    after effect for 3D scenes.
                    The Clarisse FX team just added support for fisheye rendering to 360°
                    (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=407104316035714&set=a.355599397852873.86087.149946391751509&type=1&theater)

                    Best regards.
                    Carlos Matias
                    http://fulldomeart.com


                    Amr El-Laithy wrote:

                    Andy ,

                    I'm working for planetarium post-production for 3 years now , based on
                    our workflow in cinema4d , and it's nice . we start produce the dome
                    master just like the old schools with the 5camera Rig which is working
                    nice even now . then we start to use the Dome shader for c4d and other
                    plugins.and i may publish one of my tutorials for how to produce dome
                    master in c4d .

                    Amr

                    ________________________________
                    From: Andy Dolph >
                    To: "fulldome@yahoogroups.com "

                    Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 8:46 PM
                    Subject: [fulldome] Re: Seeking recommendations for 3D software

                    I know that Alex Lindsay at Pixel Corps strongly recommends people
                    start in Cinema4D for both learning curve and workflow reasons. I have
                    a lot of respect for his opinion, but that's general advice, not dome
                    specific and I don't know what would be required to get dome masters
                    out of Cinema4D.

                    Andy

                    Sent from my iPhone

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

                    Hi all,

                    First of all, by 3D I mean modelling and rendering 3D or volumetric
                    objects - not stereoscopic shows. I have so far worked mostly in After
                    Effects for show production and feel pretty comfortable there.

                    We're now looking to add 3D animation to our production capabilities.
                    I am realistic that we aren't going to produce a full,
                    beginning-to-end, 3D modeled extravaganza right out of the gate (or
                    necessarily ever), but it's time to enhance our tools and skills. We
                    have been granted some funding for production software and training in
                    the coming year, so we have a couple questions for those with experience.

                    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?

                    And without intending to start a holy war on the list, is there any
                    consensus on which software package is more useful or more commonly
                    used for fulldome work? It seems all over the map what people are using.

                    Thanks

                    Drew
                    --
                    Drew Gilmore
                    Asst. Director
                    Sudekum Planetarium
                    www.SudekumPlanetarium.com

                    Just a guy made of dots and lines.


                    --
                    Carlos Matias
                    http://fulldomeart.com
                    Ph : +33 950 822 822
                    email : carlos@...
                  • amr.ellaithy
                    i have heard that c4d has a fisheye modifier now ? any news
                    Message 9 of 15 , Nov 6, 2013
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                      i have heard that  c4d has a fisheye modifier now ? any news 



                    • Chris Maytag
                      There is a cylindrical lens post effect, but it s not terribly useful. Have not seen any new dome-related feature in R15, unless I m missing something. We
                      Message 10 of 15 , Nov 6, 2013
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                        There is a “cylindrical lens” post effect, but it’s not terribly useful. Have not seen any new dome-related feature in R15, unless I’m missing something.

                        We use vray (in c4d) as our primary renderer and get great directly-usable results from its “VrayCameraDome” tag attached to the camera. Plus, you get the benefit of vray’s cooler texturing system, which is something we like.  Vray for c4d 1.8.x is new, and its distributed rendering is a work in progress, but we think it’s evolving into a great platform for this kind of work. It’s also now mostly core-for-core up to date with current Vray releases (excluding 3.x) for other platforms feature-wise, with some exceptions that don’t matter much to us.

                         

                         

                        ---
                        Chris Maytag

                        Studio Manager

                        Fiske Planetarium

                        University of Colorado Boulder

                        303-492-5002

                        maytag@...

                         

                      • Jason Fletcher
                        I haven t heard of any updates that adds an internal fisheye to C4D. Here is a list of the current plugins for C4D. http://software.multimeios.pt/wfcam4d/
                        Message 11 of 15 , Nov 6, 2013
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