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jayrtfm
01-24-2003, 11:54 AM
Lets use this thread to directly compare other programs in general, and specific features of other programs to AM.

Besides shedding light on what may be better, or not doable in AM, this could point out undocumented things that AM can do that's been overlooked.


So far, other software that's been discussed here as AM alternatives are:
Lightwave
Maya
Messiah
Calagari Truespace
Maxxon Cinema 4D
Realsoft Real 3D
Electric Image Universe
Houdini

Software that either does one thing, or not as complete as AM:
Blender
Wings 3D
ZBrush

Did I miss any?

What other software should be looked at?

As an aid to this thread and to avoid having to wade through all of the other posts, if you've made relevant comments in other threads, how about copying them to a single message in this thread?

jayrtfm
01-24-2003, 12:13 PM
One program that I haven't seen discused is Carrara Studio 2.1

The feature list webpage is at:
http://www.eovia.com/carrara/features_car.jsp

On paper it looks better than AM, with sub-d's, splines, 3D paint, Photon Maps, GI, area lights can be a modeled object, yada yada...

They have a 90 day save disabled demo

I looked at their Yahoo group, and it seems tolerant of bug discussions.

looks like there's only 3 third party programmers/companies.

$400 for Studio, and $99 for a lite version, 50% educational discount, and they count Ray Dream and Infini-D eligble for an upgrade.

pabitel
01-24-2003, 01:04 PM
When I looked at Carrara, it had no character animation. Supposedly, they've since added bones, but my guess is that it's still a weak area for them.

Nurb'd
01-24-2003, 01:29 PM
you have to honestly seperate them into correct places

considering how 3d programs seem to create zealot style attitudes that could be dangerous

These are ONLY my opinion. I base it on about 6 months of BASIC testing. We all like different things and will create our own bias. Keep that in mind


Maya Unlimited (the full deal) and XSI are the upper class IMO. With 3dsMax coming in very close. The cheapest one here would be Max.

www.discreet.com

3DS Studio MAX Release 5 lists for $3495 at last check. You could grab 3dsMax 5 and CS 4 at 4k when I wa sasking around.

www.aliaswavefront.com

Maya Unlimited 4.5 will cost you $6,999.00. Maya complete comes in at $1,999. You do not get fluids, cloth, fur, live, etc. Differnces in the liscense as well.


SoftImage XSI 3 - Availability and Pricing

"The SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0 environment, which supports Windows, Linux and IRIX operating systems, is available today with pricing starting at $6,750" had to look that one up. By this line you can see who they take serious

"By trading-in one of the following software packages, Alias|Wavefront Maya Builder, Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited, discreet 3ds max, NewTek Lightwave, Side Effects Houdini, companies can save up to $6,500* off the price of the SOFTIMAGE|XSI software"

www.softimage.com

My point here is that is that it is beyond logic to compare these to AM. These are full featured products that people make a living off of. They are very deep and frankly can be intimidating at first. Not really something people are just going to pick up for a hobby. However, you can get the training editions. Great way to get a start on a industry used program. Houdini though not lised is running a great learning program. www.sidefx.com and has only a small watermark. The only reason I do not break down houdini is because is not mainstream. It is tough to use and has a hefty pricetag.

Lightwave running in at $1000 - $1,499 is a steal. It is industry used and has super support. It can create stunning work. Not flawless but more then worth the price. You could do far worse.

Cinema4d is another very good program. It has a couple glaring problems IMO. One the price for studio (the whole shabang) is $2400. I would wager in the long run it will have a rough road selling against Maya complete (just compare) and at twice the price of Lightwave. While some making a living off it .. it is not industry supported (as of yet) like those above. The modeling tools leave a lot to be desired. No n-gon support but more then that it handles it very bad. Do a cut and you get triangles after triangles. Do a subdivide and you get a bunch of triangles. Makes high quality character modeling hard but not impossible. The "advanced renderer module" is still not near as advanced as Mental Ray (XSI, Maya somewhat) or Lightwave. The Mocca plugin while no doubt makes it much more attractive is not exactly advanced stuff anymore. I could go on but I will not.


Now, you can not really compare AM to any of those above. While it has very nice animation tools it has HORRIBLE modelling tools. If you can not model then you might as well forget it. I am not going to touch the other glaring issues with the company, stability, halfworked "benefits" as I am sure everyone is aware.

As to the actual tit for tat on features... that could take all day. Grab the learning programs and you will see what I mean. Grab some learning editions and try them out. Grab wings and do some polygon modelling. Check out nurbs, advanced splines, dynamics, etc in packages. I provided links above.

Do yourself a favor, find a cheap short class teaching one above and buy a student version. Most of them come fully working today except you can not make money with it.

excuse typos as I was in a rush

Natess44
01-24-2003, 06:37 PM
Well said. You weren't even biased (except for the modeling part on A:M but that's an aquired taste)! Lightwave sounds about the cheapest and best overall way to go.

HellBorn
01-24-2003, 07:46 PM
I have started to ask around little. Not stopping at the webshop.

EIU does not offer any competitive uppgrade from AM on the webstore but I sent an email:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We are a number of users that have grown tired about the fact that Hash shows more interest in adding to the feature list than to get the product stable. Some of us have allready switched application and some of us is now searching for a replacement of Animation Master.

Any Chance for a competitive upgrade from Animation Master?

Christer Wallentin

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

and got this reply:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Christer,

I will give you $500.00 off our price for a competitive upgrade from Animation Master. Your cost will be $795.00 plus shipping and handling. This price will not come with printed manuals (manuals are in pdf format on the cd's) but it will include the DUO dongle which will allow you to run Universe 5 on the Mac or the PC. Printed manuals are available for $59.95 but will add 6 pounds to the shipping costs. Call 949-481-6660 ext 107 (Phil) or 109 (Mike), or email all your information to pmartin@electricimage.com and make sure you have your serial number from the AM program. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Pass this information on and as long as the serial numbers supplied check out, we will honor this for your user group.

Best Regards,

Phil Martin

Electric Image, Inc

Sales Team
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have also asked Eovia if they can offer a competitive uppgrade on Carrara Studio...lets se what answer I get.

Mail others, let them know that your not the only one looking for a competitive deal and put the info you get in this tread.


EDIT:
As the deal I got is $100 under the other one in another tread and as Animation Master now had ben added to the list of applications for competitive upgrades with a $400 price reduction I will again mail Phil Martin and ask for confirmation on the $500 price reduction.

I'll be back...

OK I'm back.
Phil Martin had to admit that he had made a misstake.
But he will stand up to his offer for this AM to EIU upgrade.
So if you want buy, contact Phil Martin directly (phil.martin@electricimage.com) instead of going trough the web store.

Rabid pitbull
01-24-2003, 07:57 PM
just so you know messiah is not a complete package, it is mainly a animation package. it also has available or in the works a render engine, and a scripting tool.

it has absolutlly no modeler, it works with files from LW, Maya, C4D, Max, and maybe XSI. also note that the seperate components are sold seperately, or as a studio.

gra4mac
01-24-2003, 10:10 PM
Are any of the other 3D apps spline modellers like A:M? I mean they use splines to model with like A:M, not that it works, or doesn't work, like A:M. If you know what I mean.

Cheers, Graham

Natess44
01-24-2003, 10:19 PM
Originally posted by Graham Clark
Are any of the other 3D apps spline modellers like A:M? I mean they use splines to model with like A:M, not that it works, or doesn't work, like A:M. If you know what I mean.

Cheers, Graham
If there was another program out there I'd be interested in knowing too. Of course I suppose you could still model in A:M and then export if you really like modeling in it too.

Wegg
01-24-2003, 10:28 PM
Your best bet is Wings3D. It takes a little getting used too. . . but once you get your head around it, it becomes very powerful.

Oh. . . and its free.

www.wings3d.com

PNelson
01-24-2003, 10:29 PM
Considering that LightWave is the #1 3D package for Film and Television animation... ;->


I would be willing to give you guys a special upgrade price to LightWave.. If interested, drop me an email..

Later,
Philip Nelson
NewTek
Director of Worldwide Sales
pnelson@newtek.com

Wegg
01-24-2003, 10:33 PM
There ya go!

Grab a deal from Phill. . . and get Animate from PMG and you will have exactly the same toolset we use at Eggprod. . .

Oh wait you will have to get Darktree. . . and Sasquatch. . . and Butterflynetrender. . . and Shadowdesigner. . .

/me sighs. Oh how I wish AM would get their act together.

---------------------------------------------
William Eggington -- http://www.eggington.net
---------------------------------------------

Dearmad
01-24-2003, 11:10 PM
Yeah, see- that's just gettingo ut of control cashwise... grrrr...

Oh well, v8.5 is still working fine for me.

Nonproductive
01-24-2003, 11:15 PM
Sure if you get all that it gets out of control...but you really only need LW and maybe ACS4 or The Setup Machine for LW to get going (I find rigging in LW is a pain otherwise)...

Messiah:Animate is fantastic and well worth it, but hardly necessary. Same goes for the other plugs and apps Wegg mentioned. They are all well worth the money, but not something everyone needs.

lafnjack
01-24-2003, 11:56 PM
I wish you would have posted that sooner. I JUST bought Lightwave 2 days ago. The discount would have been nice.

But I'll just have to eagerly anticipate getting the program.

lafnjack

Dearmad
01-25-2003, 02:26 AM
Well, I'll probably end up buying LW just to be able to take my liesurely time learning it and comparing, regardless of whether I end up using for real or not. Bottom line is the student price is affordable (thanks Newtek for such a generous deal!) and I just plain love CG too much to ever want to not be learning something new in it every day.:bounce:

It's funny how there *is* a certain soft place in my heart for AM, though... even more so than my fondness for POV and POLYray (where I started).:shrug:

Nurb'd
01-25-2003, 02:38 AM
I think the main point would be... with LW you could go on and make a living with it. I can promise you that on a resume "Lightwave" experience will have WAY more weight then "AM" experience. What you can do with LW just can not be done with AM.

I have a soft spot for Bryce. The first ever 3d type program I used. You would be shocked how nervous I was when I ran into (at that time) 3dsMax . I went from something easy (bryce) to something that was anything but easy yet was endless possibilities (to me at that time). Something simple to something complex. Always hard to move on.. expecially when the next product is a step up.

You should have seen my face when I was introduced to Maya at work. I thought LW was neverending. I had never seen so many options, depth, and just outright true potential.

Moving on is never easy but worth it

Nurb'd
01-25-2003, 02:40 AM
Originally posted by PNelson
Considering that LightWave is the #1 3D package for Film and Television animation... ;->


I would be willing to give you guys a special upgrade price to LightWave.. If interested, drop me an email..

Later,
Philip Nelson
NewTek
Director of Worldwide Sales
pnelson@newtek.com

No doubt about that. Hypervoxels are honestly a treat to deal with and use. The render is amazing. The price is a outright steal

Raist3d
01-25-2003, 08:30 AM
Since I came from a Raydream Studio background before jumping to A:M I know a lot of Carrara's features and limitations. I have been playing with their latest demo.

I would say: if you are doing stills, then Carrara is worth considering. Its strongest point perhaps is the multitude of formats it can import/export (although I don't know how compliant or well it can really do it though), the new Carrara raytracer engine can do *superb* output, and the procedural texture engine is a step above A:M's imho (although A:M's comes close).

The main weakness in doing stills is easier UV mappingl like in Hash where you stamp on things, but it's not all that bad.

It animation system now with bones is definitively a step up from what Raydream used to have, but overall for character animation Hash A:M is still light years ahead.

However, I would like to mention one thing that is very very important:

Carrara's CEO/president is Antoine Clapier - a guy that along with some family/friends started doing very nice plug ins for Raydream Studio from France. When MetaCreations kind of collapsed he was able to secure the license/rights to Carrara and took on it, founding Eovia (www.eovia.com)

Now here's the interesting thing that is key:

Antoine is a very smart guy, programmer *AND* he LISTENS AND RESPONDS to customers on a very frequent basis WITH TACT AND CARE *EVEN* when people are just mad at the program.

A bit slowly but steadily Carrara under his new company has improved in stability, speed, features and they are working now on what will be Carrara Studio version 3.0 which is going to add apparently many goodies.

The 3d art work I used to do was 3d stills with Raydream, and I jumped to Hash because I wanted more control on were to place the textures.. this is something that really bugged me of Raydream (and then of course, I read the feature list and my eyes went blind for a bit...).

Since Antoine has an incredible dedication to his customer base, listens and pays attention I have no doubt eventually Carrara Studio will become more and more feature rich where is more important. In fact, if version 3.0 makes "stamping" textures on polygon meshes like in Hash A:M I would most likely switch back since that's the kind of work I used to do and enjoy, plus that's in my eyes Carrara's main only weakness for that kindn of work.

I guess at one point I want to get into animation and I was very impressed now that I took the time to check out and learn what A:M has... but I am mainly interested in stills.

Oh and Carrara's render times are probably from 4x to 8x what A:M does....

So to summarize: don't go there for character animation, ok for stills but you not as easy to UV texture as Hash (not impossible either). Excellent render quality and speed. They also have global illumination models, radiosity, etc. Also check it out to edit /import/export to several different formats.

- Raist

jayrtfm
01-25-2003, 08:45 AM
Thankx Raist!

>> Oh and Carrara's render times are probably from 4x to 8x what A:M does....

just to confirm, would that be slower or faster than AM?

also, for large files AM needs eggslice. Do you know of any problems when creating a 5K rez file?

Nurb'd
01-25-2003, 08:50 AM
Well it comes down to quality

take this picture

http://www.eovia.com/images/carrara/showcase/cricket.jpg

Having not looked at it in a long time.. it has come a long way. :applause:

http://www.eovia.com/carrara/features_car.jsp

Good for him.
If I was just starting I would take a long look at it. $400 not so bad. Looks to be pretty solid (I have no real idea)

http://www.eovia.com/carrara/prod_tour_car.jsp

Raist3d
01-25-2003, 08:53 AM
4x-8x faster. I meant faster.

I need to do an empirical test but Carrara's renderer is amongst the fastest out there I think.. except when Lightwave came with their super-duper Pentium 4 optimization (Lightwave is the ONLY app I have seen that runs much much better on P4 than Athlon)

As far as I know Cinema 4d is still speed king overall.

For big high resolution files, no, I don't think you need something like eggslice. It does take more ram, but not as much as I have noticed A:M take.

- Raist

Nurb'd
01-25-2003, 08:57 AM
Mental ray is faster on my machine. Cinema is very fast though until you start adding complexity to it. Apply a couple shaders/lights and then go for it.

Cinema is the most stable program I have ever seen though

chazz3d
01-25-2003, 03:44 PM
Perhaps another way to look at this issue is to consider how a program is getting to where it is going. IOW, for me, a large consideration is a perception of the program's quality (aka stability) AND in what direction its development is going - or appears to be going. But also, its important to review how its gotten to its present state. If a program has punished the user as it developed, that says something about the developers and the prospects for the future.

For instance, my experience with Hash is that the dominant issue has been and still is stability. This has maximized punishment for the user. Not to say Hash doesn't have good points - after all, I use it. But this issue and other requirements pushed me to invest in Cinema. Yes, Cinema does not yet provide the CA tools I would like to see - even with MOCCA - but it has always and still does perform as advertised in extremely stable fashion. In fact, it is perhaps the most stable software I've ever used.

Currently, I use Hash to explore CA and if necessary composite with imagery produced in Cinema. Sure, doing it all in one program may be possible, but often is less practical. This goes for most software. BTW, I also use another modeler, Rhino, which provides a very high level of capabilities for those especially difficult tasks.

Way back when, I used Ray Dream - another crazy ride. Of course, Ray Dream is gone, ostensibly replaced by Carrara. I'm afraid the purveyors of Carrara were once attached to Ray Dream, and misled the RD users. This is just one example of the risks involved.

The bottom line to this post is that there is more to consider than features and capabilities. Don't put too much faith in any one package - you might blink and find you've adopted another orphan.

nerrazzi
01-25-2003, 11:40 PM
Here's a Freeware spline Modeler that accepts .mdl format. http://www.geocities.com/hamapatch/program/index.html
I haven't had a chance to use it so I don't know how well it works. If anyone gets an opportunity to try it out, let us know.:shrug:

Stychentyme
01-25-2003, 11:46 PM
[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by weggingt

Grab a deal from Phill. . . and get Animate from PMG and you will have exactly the same toolset we use at Eggprod. . .

---------------------------------------------------

Wegg,

Do you need animate? How are Lightwaves animation tools otherwise?

Stych

Wegg
01-25-2003, 11:53 PM
They were/are horrible. Rigging is insane. All these freaky little bone spurs and contortions you have to go through to get it to work right. Lightwave doesn't have a "Pose" mode like AM and Messiah so its nuts. The realtime feedback of Lightwave isn't anywhere near as good as Messiah. Messiah pretty much kicks ass. Its not nearly as "easy" as AM. But its solid, quick and stable.

Nurb'd
01-26-2003, 01:28 AM
I would nto say horrible. You CAN get it all done. Take the interview by croteam (makers of the game Serious Sam) .. they use only lightwave. That goes for all animation, modeling, etc. At the same time .. it will take extra effort and some know how. If you got the money then no doubt follow the advice with messiah. Just know that you can animate in LW alone.

And you can get poses.. just not in the traditional way. You can also get sliders.. but again.. takes extra work. More then it should really but at 1k and all the other stuff in LW...

http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=28922

I will say though that having used Maya for a bit now.. I would not be happy to go back to LW rigging and animating :shrug:

UserDelta
01-26-2003, 03:27 AM
when i first got into LW, i had a lot of problems rigging in layout but honestly once you learn how to rig in it, it can be done quickly and works great. i think a lot of the fustration really comes from new users not knowing what the tools are yet, not knowing how things work in layout, and trying to create a simple rig with the wrong ideas in mind. the deal is that you can make the rig as simple (with just bones and FK) or as complex (bones,weightmaps,IK,jointmorphs,expressions,etc...) as you need it, the usual thought is that because there are all these parts for rigging, that you need to have them all in your rig, which isnt true and actually will make a bad rig. and being an ex A:M user, i'll tell you honestly that you probably wont create that rig as fast as you can in AM but that doesnt mean you cant do everything you can in AM and more. layout does have a steep learning curve, imho, features are not consistent which makes it more confusing, but if you can learn past all that, you'll be pretty happy with what you CAN do :)

oh heres a little rig i put together for a model, its a WIP but you get an idea of what you can do. http://www.tittiwinkle.com/wah.gif dont mind the slippery feet :) i spent like 2 minutes on the animation.
all i need on top of that rig now are the jointmorphs (like smartskin) and its basically done. probably took me 2 hours for that rig there. maybe slow compared to AM but not bad :)

JoeW
01-26-2003, 05:35 AM
Hey UserDelta,

I liked your modeling videos - cool stuff.

I've been messing with LW for about a year now, and although I like a lot of things about it, I think it's character tools are rudimentary at best when compared to AM. I've been trying to find an acceptable solution for rigging shoulders for a LONG time, and although I'm getting close, I'm still not happy with what I've found - and it takes a ton of work to get what you want. I really dislike the "slippery slope" way that rigging works - if you make a mistake, it's back to the *beginning* for you - as opposed to just fixing it and moving on....

In regards to JointMorph, well, I've yet to see a situation on something OTHER than a "tube" arm where it actually works. On cartoony characters, it works fine, but if you have any anatomical detail, it wigs out big time. Oh, how I WISH LW had real smartskinning...... Maybe I just don't know what I'm doing, but I've followed every tutorial I can find and still have no luck when using *my* models.

This isn't meant to be a jab at you - I guess I'm just a little miffed at LW - it's such a tease. Great modeling, great rendering, sweet soft-bodies and cloth.... crappy mapping, crappy rigging, sluggish IK, and no real smart-skinning........

JoeW

UserDelta
01-26-2003, 06:57 AM
http://forums.newtek.com/discus/messages/2/30349.gif

ignore the cheesy animation, it was just a test of deformation :) this is using the smartskin technique by joe dryer sorry for not being clear, but this is what i meant by jointmorph, i didnt mean the jointmorph tool :) http://www.lightwave3d.com/tutorials/animation/smart-skin/index.html

joeW: its not true that you have to start from the beginning if you mess up, but thats what i used to think also. its kinda like the undo button in layout, although it will only undo the last move, you can reset all your mistakes simply without it but you have to know how to.


but all that being said, ive always thought that if A:M could be as stable as LW and had the renderer and its Sub-d algorithym, i would definately use it again :) but i think lw8 will have all that awesome rigging and animation tools cause thats what most of the users are pushing for for the last year, and newtek listens :)

dantea
01-26-2003, 07:17 AM
Originally posted by Nurb'd
Houdini though not lised is running a great learning program. www.sidefx.com and has only a small watermark. The only reason I do not break down houdini is because is not mainstream. It is tough to use and has a hefty pricetag.


First off, yes, I'm a houdini user trolling so feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt. :) Just want to give some info in case anyone is interested rather than simply the remark that "it is tough to use and has a hefty price tag." However, for hobbyist, non-commercial use, the free version is great (and the pricier the better since I'm learning a more expensive package for free :) ). You can save and render up to 640x480 with what Buzz calls a "wordmark." This is a professional package that has just about everything.

There's been a great community starting to build up over at www.3dbuzz.com with an online Houdini class. As far as I can tell, everyone is having a great time learning, building models, creating effects, procedural networks, etc. Anyhow just my 2 cents if you're gonna simply base a package on that one comment. Check out the online video tutorials for yourself at 3dbuzz.com and also the ones that come on the 2nd CD that comes with it, individually downloadable at: http://www.vislab.usyd.edu.au/sidefx/cd2_5.5.208/start_here.html

Nurb'd
01-26-2003, 08:43 AM
I jumped all over it myself... a chance to use the famed houdini for free

Raist3d
01-26-2003, 12:04 PM
Someone was doing a scene of glass in A:M and I decided to replicate it on a Carrara Studio demo I got (the one you can download from Eovia), and render in both just raytracing with best AA and Global Illumination + Caustics best quality & Best AA:

http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=365751#post365751

Scroll up to see all images.

Also I tried to render at 4096x 3xxx and the program was able to do it fine without super using a lot of ram, so you don't need eggslice or such thing.

Roger Eberhart
01-26-2003, 05:16 PM
Originally posted by JoeW
.... crappy mapping, crappy rigging, sluggish IK, and no real smart-skinning........

JoeW

Hey Joe,

Long time no see. It's fun to see an AM forum that's not deserted like Postforum. Anyway, thanks in part to you I've got Lightwave now. With regards to the crappy mapping, I cornered Deuce (the guy in charge of Newtek's beta program), at the LA Lightwave Users Group meeting. I asked him to take a look at Max 5's uvmapping for inspiration. Hopefully they will.

Are you guys using AM at all these days? I remember last time I talked to you that Avalanche was shifting towards using Max.

Later,

Roger

marcopio
01-26-2003, 05:30 PM
Dear Rober,

Do you have an email for Deuce at NewTek? I would like to contact him.

Thank you.

JoeW
01-26-2003, 06:03 PM
Originally posted by Roger Eberhart
Hey Joe,

Long time no see. It's fun to see an AM forum that's not deserted like Postforum. Anyway, thanks in part to you I've got Lightwave now. With regards to the crappy mapping, I cornered Deuce (the guy in charge of Newtek's beta program), at the LA Lightwave Users Group meeting. I asked him to take a look at Max 5's uvmapping for inspiration. Hopefully they will.

Are you guys using AM at all these days? I remember last time I talked to you that Avalanche was shifting towards using Max.

Later,

Roger

Hey Roger,

Yeah, Nicco grabbed me and told me he'd kick my ass if I didn't show up ;) Good to see you here, too.

I guess my biggest bitch about LW's mapping is that I can't display the subD curves in the UVmap window - it reverts to polygons. If you know of a way to get around this, I'm ALL ears. If you paint a nice map of a face, but don't have a ton of detail in the model, you're pretty much stuck with projecting the map.

There used to be an application/plugin called "TruMap" - it was a part of Explore (Wavefront) and I really liked using it. Also, Maya's UV mapping is VERY nice - and I love the fact that if you change your model, you don't lose your mapping.

We've pretty much bailed out on Max simply because it didn't hold up to what we were promised. Max can't handle heavy game worlds worth a damn - it's OpenGL is very weak, and the modifier stack paradigm is cumbersome as hell while populating worlds - not to mention vertex lighting of worlds took FOREVER. We've pretty much switched over to Maya 4.5 since it added some extensibility that we needed. We do most of our world building in Maya 4.5 (can you believe they shipped it with BROKEN vertex lighting? - and don't seem to care that it's broken?) - then take it back to 4.0 for vertex lighting - ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

We still use AM on a fairly large scale - I just bought 45 upgrades for Avalanche. All of our characters and animations are done in it, as well as a lot of object construction. We have the flexibility to use either Maya, Max, AM, or LW for object construction - just depends on what the artist wants to use - it all ends up going through our filter chain and into the engine. For me, AM and LW get the brunt of my workload.

Have you seen the Arcticpigs plugin for AM 8.5? Very, very cool. I bought it just for kicks - a very slick way to put your animations on the web.... (www.arcticpigs.com)

Take it easy, Roger - hopefully, once all the vinegar goes out of this forum, it will be a good place to help shape the future path of an application we all have a love/hate relationship with :)

Joe

My Fault
01-26-2003, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by JoeW
Yeah, Nicco grabbed me and told me he'd kick my ass if I didn't show up ;) Good to see you here, too.

Dats right, you know you don't wanna mess with me. My wife says she'll sack you if you act up too much :p

Now if we could all just convince Joe to start posting some of the stuff he's been emailing me. Sweeeeet indeed.

Roger Eberhart
01-26-2003, 07:24 PM
Marcopio - You almost guessed it. It's deuce@newtek.com

Joe - I'm guessing we'll be going with Maya as well after this project is done. The rest of the company went with Max 5. I'm stuck with Max 4 (I would kill to use Max 5's uvmapping tools). If you've got some new stuff I'd love to see it. Post it here or send me an e-mail. You still have my e-mail address, right?

Later.

Raist3d
01-26-2003, 08:50 PM
Did you guys consider Maya as an option? And if you did what held you back?

Just want to know what you guys think about it. I saw that Maya complete is now $2000.. That has come way way down in price from the $16,000 era.

Still $2000 is not pocket change but seems that in the games industry it's either 3ds max or Maya, with a little slice to Lightwave.

JoeW
01-26-2003, 09:01 PM
Originally posted by Roger Eberhart
Marcopio - You almost guessed it. It's deuce@newtek.com

Joe - I'm guessing we'll be going with Maya as well after this project is done. The rest of the company went with Max 5. I'm stuck with Max 4 (I would kill to use Max 5's uvmapping tools). If you've got some new stuff I'd love to see it. Post it here or send me an e-mail. You still have my e-mail address, right?

Later.

Hey Roger - still with Blizzard, I'm assuming :) (?) I'm kind of suprised you guys aren't going with XSI. The XSI format is a lot more extensible than Maya's stuff, but then there's that pricetag that knocks the breath out of you. I've spoken with some of the regional reps and sent some commentary up to the Softimage offices - the good news is that, although they may not agree, they DO seem to want to hear what you have to say... ah, but I digress....

You should be glad you're still in Max 4. One of our "MaxHeads" was showing me a model he'd built in 5 the other day - it crashed on him 4 times in 10 minutes. He was cursing under his breath the whole time about what a piece of sheee-it it is. He even went so far as to say that AM was never that unstable for him - and that's pretty damning....

I'll punch you off an e-mail with some of the more recent stuff I'm working on - it's too big to post here, and I don't really have a place to post it up right now....

Take it easy,

Joe

JoeW
01-26-2003, 09:10 PM
Originally posted by Raist3d
Did you guys consider Maya as an option? And if you did what held you back?

Just want to know what you guys think about it. I saw that Maya complete is now $2000.. That has come way way down in price from the $16,000 era.

Still $2000 is not pocket change but seems that in the games industry it's either 3ds max or Maya, with a little slice to Lightwave.

Don't get Maya "Complete" and Maya "Unlimited" mixed up. Maya Unlimited (with dynamics, hair, cloth, etc) is still $7500.

For game companies, Maya Builder is also an option. Most game companies don't need rendering and animation tools for 90% of their artists - they need modeling and mapping and some ability to attach attributes and scripts to objects. I think Builder is selling for under a grand....

The best things about Maya are it's poly modeling tools, it's UV mapping, and it's scripting. The worst thing is Alias Wavefront's attitude toward their customers. e.g.- We don't have support contracts because it's almost impossible to get REAL support. The other day, we were at the end of our ropes dealing with a vertex lighting issue in 4.5 - so I called about getting a support contract (since there is no free support). A/W wanted us to pay for a contract starting BACK when we originally bought the software - i.e. we would pay full price for a year contract, and get about 3 months support for it. Nice.

We told them where they could go with that idea.....

Joe Williamsen

Roger Eberhart
01-26-2003, 09:54 PM
Joe - Yep, still with Blizzard. I'd have to get a juicy offer to work in Oregon or Washington to make me budge. We have a couple of former Square employees who are big fans of Softimage. But I think the cost would be a factor. Also, we write a lot of our own tools and Maya makes that so darn easy with Mel scripting.

Has your buddy at work downloaded the 5.1 patch for Max? They didn't add anything new, it's just a giant bug fix. Max 5's uvmapping is real nice. They stole just about everything I liked from Maya and added a couple of things that Maya doesn't handle well. I've seen something like flatten mapping on Maya, but it couldn't handle triangles.

Roger

Raist3d
01-26-2003, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by JoeW
Don't get Maya "Complete" and Maya "Unlimited" mixed up. Maya Unlimited (with dynamics, hair, cloth, etc) is still $7500.

For game companies, Maya Builder is also an option. Most game companies don't need rendering and animation tools for 90% of their artists - they need modeling and mapping and some ability to attach attributes and scripts to objects. I think Builder is selling for under a grand....

[stuff deleted]

A/W wanted us to pay for a contract starting BACK when we originally bought the software - i.e. we would pay full price for a year contract, and get about 3 months support for it. Nice.

We told them where they could go with that idea.....

Joe Williamsen

God, that is nice... and retarded.

Anyhow, yeah I realize there's Unlimited and Complete.. it's just from what I saw Complete seems to be quite complete on its own... but then I haven't really used it so I wouldn't really know.

I didn't know Maya Builder existed.. isn't that the same as packed in Unreal Tournament 2003? I thought that was Maya Learning Edition (which may be the same).

I will look to see if I can find the Maya Builder edition...

Thanks!

JoeW
01-26-2003, 11:09 PM
Originally posted by Raist3d
God, that is nice... and retarded.

Anyhow, yeah I realize there's Unlimited and Complete.. it's just from what I saw Complete seems to be quite complete on its own... but then I haven't really used it so I wouldn't really know.

I didn't know Maya Builder existed.. isn't that the same as packed in Unreal Tournament 2003? I thought that was Maya Learning Edition (which may be the same).

I will look to see if I can find the Maya Builder edition...

Thanks!

Unfortunately, it's not a unique situation. When XSI came out, a lot of long-time Soft users who had let their support contracts lapse (because they knew more than the SoftImage tech support guys) were told that they would have to pay BACK support before they could get the upgrade price for XSI - talk about a slap in the face. Many of them just hung on to Soft3D and used the "back support" money to buy Maya... which I'm not sure how I'd feel if that'd happened to me....

Anyway, I think you're right - I think it was Maya PLE that was bundled with UT2003 - but I'm not sure.

Unreal's editor is pretty cool, too... too bad it's so specific (but I guess it should be - it's based around their engine....).

Joe

pabitel
01-27-2003, 11:58 PM
Has anyone tried Art of Illusion (www.artofillusion.org)? It looks pretty cool.

Wegg
01-28-2003, 12:05 AM
HA HA Ha ha. . .

It has a manual. :-)

Wooowee. . .

/me needs to stop sucking on these cough drops. . .

jayrtfm
01-29-2003, 07:39 AM
http://www.kaydara.com/products/index.php?filename=MB_demo

Over at http://www.3dtrainingvideos.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=98155-TH6GFRB99F9&Product_Code=MOTIONBUILDER
is a $100 Freelancer edition of Motion Builder.
From the demo movies it looks alot like AM.
Has anyone used this? How does it compare to AM and messiah:animate 3.0?

HellBorn
01-29-2003, 11:18 PM
I have tried AOI and I also know that some likes it. It has procedural materials and animation but...
It's written in java and I don't know if it's the Java or the coding but the interface is sluggish. Screen handlning is also slow as the programmer not want to use Java3D and OpenGL because that extension not existed for Macs. I have not tried to bone and animate in it yet but I will test it some day.

gra4mac
01-30-2003, 09:21 PM
Originally posted by jayrtfm
http://www.kaydara.com/products/index.php?filename=MB_demo

Over at http://www.3dtrainingvideos.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=98155-TH6GFRB99F9&Product_Code=MOTIONBUILDER
is a $100 Freelancer edition of Motion Builder.
From the demo movies it looks alot like AM.
Has anyone used this? How does it compare to AM and messiah:animate 3.0?

I had a look at Motion Builder. It looks good,except the price. It made me think of Poser 5. I gather you can import models, rig, tecture, use hair, and working cloth dynamics. Check out the cloth page at Curiouslabs. I'm still not sure how you incorperate a Motion Builder or Poser animation into a scene in another app. I tried this with Poser 3 and Srata. The outcome

http://www3.telus.net/imagestreamstudio/Bedroom%200-15s%7bOn2%7d.mov

led me to believe I needed one app that can animate in a scene, that I can affort. I think you know how this ended. Is anyone user Poser 5 with good results?

Cheers, Graham

jayrtfm
01-30-2003, 10:33 PM
http://www.kaydara.com/support/documentation/kb/vidsmac/MB_Maya_Import.mov

Squeakypics
01-31-2003, 12:29 PM
Someone just posted this on one of my other forums:
There is a free FULL copy of Truespace 3 in the current
issue of Computer Arts Magazine!
I thought it might be of interest especially as they usually do upgrade offers at the same time.

Huge Regards
Dave

gra4mac
02-03-2003, 06:51 AM
I just downloaded a demo of Pixels 3D and was wondering if any of the Mac users have treid it. Believe it or not, I think it is Mac only. There is an OS9 and OSX version and a PDF manual. I think that shows somethig right away. They have a competitave upgrade for $299 USD. I gather that CA isn't their main pont, but I thought I'd check it out.

Cheers, Graham

PJC
02-03-2003, 04:32 PM
Originally posted by JoeW
hopefully, once all the vinegar goes out of this forum, it will be a good place to help shape the future path of an application we all have a love/hate relationship with :)

Joe

So true, Joe.

After a rough weekend working in Cinema4D XL 8 (I've told that bone not to influence anything but the arm, but there it goes screwing up the neck again!!!) I sure do miss the ease of certain key things in AM.

You guys are AM/LW, we are trying the same thing with AM/C4D.

Damn Animation:Master, it's like crack!

- pjc

Wegg
02-03-2003, 04:39 PM
Originally posted by Graham Clark
I just downloaded a demo of Pixels 3D and was wondering if any of the Mac users have treid it. Believe it or not, I think it is Mac only. There is an OS9 and OSX version and a PDF manual. I think that shows somethig right away. They have a competitave upgrade for $299 USD. I gather that CA isn't their main pont, but I thought I'd check it out.

Cheers, Graham

Pixels. . . ooo boy. There is $600 I'll never get back. Avoid this pile of poo poo like the plague!

PJC
02-03-2003, 04:42 PM
Yeah, there down the street in San Diego from me, and I talked to them for a while. It sounded like a couple of guys writing software in their basement, but that's just my opinion....:p

- pjc

koon69
02-04-2003, 01:21 AM
Yikes. I tried Pixels and it seemed like a nice app. mac only still. Id figured in these hard times making it PC would help. Why is Pixles poo poo like Wegg said? It has nice modeling and a nice render in tempest. Is it the owner Bryant guy? I once almost bought it.

Wegg
02-04-2003, 01:36 AM
Its all personal taste I guess. But when I was using it. It was horrific.

punchatz
02-05-2003, 01:41 AM
Originally posted by Roger Eberhart

Also, we write a lot of our own tools and Maya makes that so darn easy with Mel scripting.
Roger

Roger, you would be very surprised what XSI and scripting could do for you that maya could never do. XSI can use pearl , python or VB as its scripting engine. This means it can not only control every thing in xsi but any other active x program which means a good chunk of windows programs.

And there is the better poly/sub dees tools, being able to share animation data across different characters, real time shader tree and its core NLA features that all make that price tag not seem so high after you see how much more work you can get done. Get someone down from soft to show you what it can do. Get all your artists and programmers in a room to watch a demo for a day or so, have them hammer the demo guy with questions and problems that your current software gives you. Have the programmers look at the dot xsi format. I think you will hear these quotes a lot "Damn that would save me a lot time" or "That was easy".
We just had a week of training some maya freelancers so we could increase our freelance pool and those are the kind of things I have heard said. Is it pricey yes. But for us it is worth every penny.


Greg Punchatz

3DArtZ
02-06-2003, 01:46 PM
So I just got my upgrade to EI universe 5.0 and I must say that I am very impressed. The last version I used was 3.0 and bones were just a disaster. No way to really control what the bones affected... it was all bone strength and area of influence.... but now they have bone control... by interactive paint maps and a real fast skinning engine.
It still is way more cumbersome in creating your characters actions compared to am, but the new bone control features are awesome.
Mike Fitz

Wegg
02-06-2003, 05:38 PM
Good to hear. Hope it works out for you. Let us know when you have a test animation for us to see. . . I have a soft spot for their product. I really wish it had done everything I had needed it to do at the time. :-/

marcopio
02-06-2003, 05:47 PM
Mike,

I downloaded the Electric Demo 5.0 and the interphace runs very sluggish. I tried it on two computers now even a Pentium V 2.5 Ghz with 1 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Ti 4200.

Do you also run sluggish in Animator and/or Modeler?

3DArtZ
02-06-2003, 06:00 PM
Hey Marco, I know that there are open GL issues with EI. Also it is mac native. I suspect that it is running sluggish due to an opengl conflict. I'm running it on a G4 mac @450mhz and it blazes.
You might want to check to make sure that the app knows to use hardware and not software for its graphics redraw.

Wegg, I hope to get some stuff done with it this weekend and will post when I have something worthy

Later
Mike Fitz

marcopio
02-06-2003, 06:07 PM
Look forward to see some of your work in EI.

Yes, I have the Hardware setting set.

HellBorn
02-08-2003, 12:00 AM
Please report what you think about it 3DArtZ.
Is it by the way possible to save and reuse animations?

I did consider EIU but I dropped it after trying Messiah Animate.

Messiah seems to be an animators wet dream.
Problem is among other things that I can simply not afford the Messiah + Lightwave combination.

And as I allso need to render I have tried to find out in what state Messia Studio is in. Is it usable? What works what don't.
No answers on that on the forum and not from costumer support (not any answer at all actually). Whithout any info on this I don't dare to take the chance with Messiah Studio.

I had heard good things about Cinema 8 so I took it for a test ride and yeah. MOCCA makes skeleton setups pretty easy. As I had done the Messiah tutorials I started to look for a possibility to save and reuse animation segment. And it's not possible !!?? Everything has to be saved in the project file. Heck even AM can do that as far as i know (I have never really done it as I lost all inspiration while fighting creases and never got to the animation part).

&%&%#/&% this was a real turnoff so now I'm almost back into square one.

So..please update us about what can and can't be done in EIU.
What possibilites is there when putting together animation segments, to save and reuse them. Is there particles, what can be done with them etc etc.

Any information is god information...

Wegg
02-08-2003, 12:48 AM
I have messed with Studio and. . . the renderer works. Its not perfect but it shows a lot of promise. Has a real GI look to it. But without UVs. . . it is a long way from being usable right now. Stick with Animate bolted on top of a render package. . . like C4D, Max, LW, Maya etc. It's pretty robust. . .

dfaris
02-08-2003, 06:13 AM
Originally posted by HellBorn
Please report what you think about it 3DArtZ.
Is it by the way possible to save and reuse animations?

Messiah seems to be an animators wet dream.
Problem is among other things that I can simply not afford the Messiah + Lightwave combination.

And as I allso need to render I have tried to find out in what state Messia Studio is in. Is it usable? What works what don't.
No answers on that on the forum and not from costumer support (not any answer at all actually). Whithout any info on this I don't dare to take the chance with Messiah Studio.


Hey HellBorn,

I have Messiah Studio and pretty much all the animation stuff works but I have only scratched the surface of what it can do. The animation stuff in studio and animate are pretty much at the same level of usabilty so I'm sure wegg can tell you about that part. The renderer is not done yet as said above but I have done some test renders with what is done and it does look damn nice the GI look is pretty nice and its damn fast for me anyway. I have asked them about the UV mapping and was told that the next release should have it. in a few weeks so you might want to wait and see if its in there and how it works. Wegg and Joe know the animation in messiah pretty well so I'm always picking there brains to find out more stuff. There is so much in messiah to learn so you should be ready for a learning curve, but man its nice.

I have also sent them an email about an upgrade offer for AM users. They said that were going to talk with the owners. Waiting to see if they do offer this. I will post it if they do.

HellBorn
02-09-2003, 12:01 AM
I have messed with Studio and. . . the renderer works. Its not perfect but it shows a lot of promise. Has a real GI look to it. But without UVs. . . it is a long way from being usable right now. Stick with Animate bolted on top of a render package. . . like C4D, Max, LW, Maya etc. It's pretty robust. . .

I do understand that it's the solution you recommend.
But buying both Animate and one of the mentioned applications is simply not possible. I can take the chance with Advance Studio OR I could buy C4D/Lightwave. I'm just a hobbyist doing 3D for fun in I have to but a limit to the cost here.

Heck..If my wife known what Studio cost I would probably wake up with an axe in my head....or rather not wake up with an axe in my head ;)

Nonproductive
02-09-2003, 12:50 AM
Hellborn - both C4D and Lightwave are good packages.
Lightwave is probably better for Character animation "out of the box" but C4D is pretty dang close. I think PJC could enlighten you more there. However, eventually *both* packages will have conduits for Messiah:Animate. It's not something you need to purchase with the 3D app.

You will have a ton of stuff to learn in whichever package you choose - Mesiah:Animate will just add to the "to-do list."

My suggestion is this: Pick up Lightwave or C4D - whichever you are most comfortable with using. Learn the program well - modeling, texturing, rendering, etc. Then, if you still feel the need, pick up Messiah.

I bought Lightwave 7.5 and Messiah:Animate at the same time and quite honestly I am still working through LW's toolset 6 months later. I jumped in with the preconception that Lightwave's CA tools were junk. Fact is, in 7.5 they are not half bad and I could have saved a couple bucks at that time. Would I have eventually boguht Messiah anyway? Probably... but I'm just not ready for it yet.

You may also want to consider Lightwave + Keytrak (a $99 dope sheet plugin) instead of Lightwave and Messiah. Messiah is incredibly fast and powerful but also adds another (very steep) hill to the learning curve.

dfaris
02-09-2003, 03:38 AM
Originally posted by HellBorn
I do understand that it's the solution you recommend.
But buying both Animate and one of the mentioned applications is simply not possible. I can take the chance with Advance Studio OR I could buy C4D/Lightwave. I'm just a hobbyist doing 3D for fun in I have to but a limit to the cost here.

Heck..If my wife known what Studio cost I would probably wake up with an axe in my head....or rather not wake up with an axe in my head ;)

Oh I forgot to say you should check out the messiah yahoo list there are always people selling messiah studio and messiah animate on there and you can get it for pretty cheap. I got studio for about $700 and I know one other person that git it for around $500. You can register it with the PMG people no problem.

Wegg
02-10-2003, 04:33 PM
I'd like to dissagree with you there Nonproductive. LW's character animation tools don't even come close to the power, speed and ease of use built into Messiah. Joe and I tried it for a few weeks and. . . trust me. . . its anything but "capable" when you compare it to the alternatives.

But. . . each to their own. huh. . .

Nonproductive
02-10-2003, 04:51 PM
Nope Wegg - we are completely in agreement.

LW's tools are no where near as easy or fast as Messiah (or most others I have tried) but you *can* get a model rigged and animated. It's just going to be a bigger hassle then if you had Messiah.

Personally, I struggled with trying to get my head around LW's rigging and eventually decided I was spending way too much time on it and dropped $90 for ACS4 so I could move on with learning the rest of the program. LW's char tools are a bear - but they do *work* (mostly - lack of dopesheet is a bit troublesome)

I own Messiah:Animate - and once I am confortable with Lightwave modeling, texturing, rendering I will move on to learning that. I bought it when I did because PMG indicated that the $600 was a "special, limited time" offer...it's still running 6 months later - 6 months that the $$ could have been earning interest in my account instead of theirs.

My point was simply that whether you choose C4D, Maya or Lightwave - you can get work done without Messiah and add Messiah to your toolbox down the road. (assuming the connections to all the apps are working by then...) Messiah is incredible and head and shoulders above LW's tools - but just as folks are struggling with A:M now - they can get by with LW's tools until finances permit the additional purchase.

3DArtZ
02-10-2003, 05:07 PM
Ok, so I spent sometime this weekend going through EI's character set up tools and this is what I feel so far.
I'm comparing my expereince with Hash's tools...
First, the tools are there to do character animation. They aren't easy to use by any stretch of the imagination... but you can do it.
What I did was export a model from hash and convert it to a fact file through EI Transporter.
Then opened in EIU, I set up the bones and put basic IK into the model(this was surprisingly easy). IK system is pretty fast and behaves reasonably well with out much fine tuning.... adjusting the "pole vectors- rotating a handle is all I did, if anything".
Then I used the strength maps to control how/what the bones manipulate on the mesh. This is much much much much faster then Smartskinning and produces decent results.(my website is down, so no samples....)
This whole process took me a couple hours... getting use to the new controls was the most time consuming...

End result.... EIU is much harder to use than Hash for character set up and animation.
No action editor, difficult to achieve thins we take for granted in hash ie - draw a path in the choreography, drop a walk cycle on the model, attach model to path with stride length and viola, your character is walking all over the place.
You pretty much have to animate each step the model takes in EI.
but
One can achieve a level of reusable actions by saving the character set up as a motion file...
Control over the mesh is very good and can be very precise, with ability to have bone strength maps overlapping into other areas at a percentage of 100 to 0, which allows for blending of mesh control...ie, thigh bone and pelvis bone both have a say as to what the hips do.
The render quality/speed is worth going through the pain of setting up the character alone.... but no dynamic simulations to report(cloth, hair without plugins)
Yeah, I'll use ei for character animation in the future if I have to.... but I can't recommend this to someone who is primarily interested in character animation and doesn't own an upgradeable version the software yet. In otherwords.... if you have it, learn it, otherwise.... do some more research on other apps out there.

One addition... this may sound harsh on EI... don't get me wrong... EI is a great app - motion picture quality and has more pros then cons... its just the character animation tools aren't all there yet.
Mike Fitz
:hmm:

John Keates
02-10-2003, 10:53 PM
Doesn't Hash have blended bone strengths now? I know that you can't controll it very easily but there is a plugin which helps you control the weighting of each CP. I am guessing that this will come built in fairly soon.

Just thought I'd chuck that in.

binder3d
02-11-2003, 03:57 AM
Check out amxchange.com They have that weight plug in.

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