Beginner: need advice on my mac-based workstation/flow + Maya

Become a member of the CGSociety

Connect, Share, and Learn with our Large Growing CG Art Community. It's Free!

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  01 January 2018
Beginner: need advice on my mac-based workstation/flow + Maya

I'm a student beginning in 3D design and animation.My concern after a lot of build-up from the instructor and word of mouth is that I am eventually going to run into problems rendering 3D on Mac (slow-down? processing time? can a newly bought external SSD do something to fix this?). I am trying to alleviate the concern telling myself I'm just a beginner and that I will not get into polygon-crunching work because I don't want to design like that.

Macbook Pro is 15" inch mid-2012 build with:
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M + quad core
- 2.6 Ghz Intel Core i7 (< what is this and is the processor okay or does Maya require necessarily more?)
- 8GB RAM

Workarounds:
- 500GB SSD (< I don't know how to make the most of this in order to improve performance on Maya. Am I supposed to work only from it and not have any files on my macbook?)
- Offload hundreds of GB of clutter into 2TB + 500 GB external drives (non-SSD)
- Upgrade RAM to 16GB

Mid to long-term goals:
- Work on Maya with reasonable output or rendering performances (I have heard things like 6 minute animation files taking hours to render and worth hundreds of GB per file).
- Learn how to best take advantage of this SSD storage system (I am guessing it must have a better use than just being a static storage system: how do I best use the SSD to reduce demands from my Mac while I am designing on Maya)

Lingering question:
Is my graphics card / GPU and processor up to snuff? I have no idea how to address this. What matters more here, processor or graphics card? If processor matters more but can't be upgraded, is there any point in upgrading to an external graphics card? What does that even look like logistically and in terms of price? Do i Miss out of much by not upgrading my graphics card?I keep asking myself vaguely "are 2.6GHz remotely enough to do what I want as a beginner and eventually intermediate?" without being sure how pertinent the question is.

Thanks for ANY advice, this stuff has me scrambling for support.
 
  01 January 2018
You're using a 2012 laptop, attempting to do 3D in 2018. That's not a "workstation", that's a laptop. It's going to be slow. Painfully slow, especially on that ancient Macbook. Laptops are already at a huge disadvantage, being slower on both the CPU side and the GPU side.

But all that slowness aside, you shouldn't have any real problems with Maya itself. Obviously you'll be using Maya LT, since if you could afford full Maya you'd be buying a decent laptop or desktop instead, but for modeling and texturing it should do okay. Your graphics card is not a quad-core, by the way - no graphics cards have only four cores. The 650M is a decent budget car, although four generations old now, but I use a GTX 660 desktop card in one of my workstations for Maya and it works just fine so long as I watch the poly count.

Regarding your goals:
"- Work on Maya with reasonable output or rendering performances (I have heard things like 6 minute animation files taking hours to render and worth hundreds of GB per file)."

Not a chance. Your rendering performance on that laptop will be just terrible. A six minute animation? That's 10,800 frames at 30fps. It's going to take days, not hours. Maybe weeks on that Macbook. This time will depend on the complexity of your animation and quality of rendering, but rendering takes time. Lots of time.

"- Learn how to best take advantage of this SSD storage system (I am guessing it must have a better use than just being a static storage
system: how do I best use the SSD to reduce demands from my Mac while I am designing on Maya)"

This won't matter in the slightest with a laptop that slow. Storage isn't the roadblock, processing power is, and that laptop is dreadfully slow to begin with.

You should study up on modern rendering and Maya's workflow and rendering processes, then buy a new computer. It's going to be a painful experience on that old thang.
__________________
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
64KB RAM
1541 Floppy Drive


"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
 
  01 January 2018
Your laptop is old, and was never amazing even when it was brand new, that plus its a laptop, an immediate handicap all by itself. That said, it will be enough to learn from and do your work, but you need to be realistic about render times. Render times vary massively based on too many things to render, but a 6 minute video is over 10,000 frames. Assume you test and make mistakes, and thats realistically 50,000 frames. The minimum render time on that machine would be 10 seconds per frame for a very basic style; that's 6 solid days of rendering for a super basic quality.

If you want photorealism then expect 5-30 minutes per frame. At 5 minutes per frame, that's 174 days.

At 30 minutes per frame, your 6 minute animation (including tests and re-renders) will take 3 years to render.
__________________
Matthew O'Neill
www.3dfluff.com
 
  02 February 2018
Originally Posted by gm286: I'm a student beginning in 3D design and animation.My concern after a lot of build-up from the instructor and word of mouth is that I am eventually going to run into problems rendering 3D on Mac (slow-down? processing time? can a newly bought external SSD do something to fix this?). I am trying to alleviate the concern telling myself I'm just a beginner and that I will not get into polygon-crunching work because I don't want to design like that.

I would look at replacing that old Mac laptop and I wouldn't look to Apple for the replacement.Apple simply doesn't offer any products that are competitive for working with 3D graphics and they haven't for a long time.

By using that hardware you're going to limit yourself and hurt your long term opportunities. Better hardware means shorter iterations which means you can take the same projects farther in the same period of time. If you take half baked crap to an interview and say "if I wasn't using an old Mac laptop..." nobody wants to hear that or look at that.

I'm not saying better hardware makes someone better at 3D but having bad hardware makes it very difficult to produce good work. A desktop in the $1,500 to $2,000 range would be a significant leap forward compared to what you're working with now. Renders would easily be four times faster or more.
__________________
http://www.whenpicsfly.com
 
reply share thread



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
CGSociety
Society of Digital Artists
www.cgsociety.org

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright 2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump
Miscellaneous

All times are GMT. The time now is 10:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.