Adding software to my workflow


I am looking to add another software to my pipeline to support were my main 3d software lack.
Modo is my main 3d package and I am having problems with large scenes when I have some instancing/scattering/replicators for the environment. And I want to be able to place displacement maps on the mesh, not in the texture. If possible even stack em. And a good instancer is a must in this second program.
Have been looking at Cinema 4D, Max, Lightwave, Maya and so on. Found Clarisse a couple of weeks ago, and this looks promising (even thou I use GPU for rendering). What do you guys use for the layout / setup / render step? I want to move towards the 3d matte painting / compositing (nuke) area in the future, so if there is a must have solution for this then tell me so I can make the right move now :slight_smile:
All package has it’s pros and cons, and if possible I would have a cost-effective second program for this (like Lightwave or Clarisse).

Anyone know if Foundry is working hard on fixing this problem with large scenes? And maybe add displacer to the item view?
If there is a way to speed up Modo, I would like to stay there. (When Modo freezes my computer is not working, it’s like there is a bug in the code. Not limitations in hardware. ???)


I really like C4D myself, its what I mainly use in my production. Its a great piece of software and the future looks bright with the big core rewrite thats currently in progress. They are also extending their support for 3rd party plugin developers.

That said I don’t think C4D is currently capable of larger scenes. I am getting interiors that lag with 5 fps in the viewport. Interiors. Sure, you can group everything in one polygon object and make the deformers editable but then you are back to the 90s modeling wise… Supposedly the update that will fix this is just around the corner (R20) - big hopes for that one!

On the other hand, 3ds Max works quite well with large scenes especially if you invest in Forest Pack or something similar. Amazing instancing bananza right there :slight_smile:

That said, I personally have a very hard time giving Autodesk subscription money. Right now subscriptions are “expensive” and even if you can afford them, do you want to be stuck in Autodesk purgatory of empty promises? I am not referring to software updates here, I think they’ve been great with 3ds Max but nothing stops them from making the prices higher when (presumably) most small to mid sized studios leave. If that happens then you’ll have to pay it up and hope that you can switch in time before you need to fork up the money for another sub. So basically its what happened with subscription promises (perpetual licenses won’t ever leave - BAM - one year later no more perpetual licenses). That plus considering its the most pirated software in the world or something, I don’t think that bolds well for people that are currently handing the keys over to Autodesk. If you are running a 200$k per year freelance business its one thing but if you don’t get a ton of money that you consider expandable… Well… :slight_smile: I call it a hostage situation and you are not the one holding the gun.

At least what Adobe did “well” when moving to subscriptions is that the pricing model was “fair(er)”. It used to cost around 700$ or something for PS CS? I’ll need to subscribe for 6 straight years to reach that amount. I do dislike their business model as well obviously, basically locking you in but the investment is smaller obviously.

Personally I am waiting for R20 here and then I’ll re-evaluate the situation a bit. Like I said, I think the future for C4D looks good but you never know what a company will do - especially if they don’t share too much stuff with the public. It does look interesting and if some of the more long standing issues are resolved… It might be even better.

Just my five cents :slight_smile:

Disclaimer: I really like 3ds Max and C4D as softwares. I really dislike Autodesk for their deceptive and frankly lame business practices.


Thank you nejck for your five cents :slight_smile:

It sounds like I should go the Max way, it has it all… So… After a few years in that environment maby I can switch, but it sounds to me like a very solid platform to explore in. I just don’t like the camera in Max, it’s a small thing but to me, it’s a big issue that I will have to live with.
Corona is a nice program, wich I like. But whyyyyy can’t they fix the UV mapping. I have not been able to make one functional UV map yet. I gave up and stuck to Headus UV Layout for that when I tried it out.


If you’re looking at getting into matte painting then you may have a more straightforward time using Maya because there are more DMP plugins available for it since Maya/Nuke is the standard software pairing in studios. If you do plan to work with/in a studio then you’ll definitely want to go towards Maya, if not then DMP isn’t really very demanding on software and you can use just about anything.


That would be even better for me, as I know Maya already and like it. But there is nothing as nice as Forest Pack for Maya thou. Only that MASH plugin. But is it possible to paint scattering and stuff in MASH or is there anything else that I have missed. Been about two years since I used Maya now. Xgen was super buggy when I tried it last, so tha’s not even an option.
But what is DMP ? Edit: Aha Digital Matte Painting… What plugins are you thinking about unaccompanieddminor?


Probably the most frequently used one I can think of is this one: does a lot of very handy things, especially if you’re intending to do any 3D multi-camera projection. Also super helpful for modeling.

Not sure about instancing/scattering options in Maya I’m afraid :frowning:




cgstudios hehe, short but clear :slight_smile: Is that the new beast for DMP? Is that a new Terragen btw?


Having good/detailed real-time geometric displacement in before mentioned apps (c4d, max, maya, …) is a problem though (dont know how displacement in clarisse performs).
Low res approximations in the viewport are not a problem though.

For static displacement people use zbrush for that (displace a dense mesh and then decimate it to something more ‘economical’ in terms of polycount).
Then export that and if its still a really heavy mesh you can use Corona or vray to import it as a proxy object and just scatter the proxy object.

Max has some nice tools to do instancing/scattering… and if you need more control you can always get forest pack.


[quote=]Modo is my main 3d package and I am having problems with large scenes when I have some instancing/scattering/replicators for the environment.[/quote]When I read that I thought of Clarisse…
Clarisse can do displacement maps.
Scattering is first hand use unlike other programs in which it’s a second thought.
Point cloud information or satellite information even inherent shaders can produce a wide variety landscape opportunities.
Then with it’s Scattering/object painting/among other tools you can combine with matte paintings to produce realistic live.3d or combined scenes.
I would dig a little deeper into what it can do.You can’t model in it in a traditional sense but everything else is covered in spades.



Indeed but again, I’d be wary of going down that road. It seems it (AD) has a very weird future ahead of its self even though the software and its ecosystem is quite good. If you are planning a business / freelancing career you might want to weight your options.

Ultimately, do download demos from all the packages and try them out before you buy them / rent them. Depending on what kind of scenes you are working with C4D might be super fast to set up a complex scattering solution (integrated Mograph Cloner, plugins like Forester / SurfaceSpread) but 3ds Max does have more scattering options available (Corona Scatter, MultiScatter, Forest Pack, Railclone - all payable) that can scatter “more” - at least for right now that is. I haven’t used native 3ds Max scattering tools but in that regard I do think C4D is better out the gate, so without any plugins.

It depends though - some people think “a lot” is different than what I think is “a lot”. From what people tell me, artists who use Clarisse are probably laughing at both of the above packages (don’t quote me on that one, just hearsay, haven’t ever used Clarisse) :smiley:

Definitely consider it twice and try all the software too.


If you already know Maya well enough to be comfortable with it, then I believe that would be the most logical, flexible, and powerful solution.

I’ve been doing arch/viz professionally with Maya (and mental ray, soon to switch to Vray) for over a decade now, but in my spare time I also do large environmental pieces. Scores of prop objects, even hundreds in some cases. If done properly, it’s very flexible, powerful, and efficient. With instancing or references, there’s really no upper polygon limit - and even on my weakest 4-core / 8GB RAM computer Maya has no problem pushing billions of polygons. Many billions. I don’t see even trillions a problem, with sufficient RAM.

A current personal project-in-progress, for example:

A couple WIP areas, close-up:

As for scattering, I use Environment System for Maya, spPaint3D for hero instance “painting”, and an InstanceAlongCurve script for those fences (for example). There’s also CarbonScatter (from the Vue team) and many other scattering options, but EnvSys is the best for landscape design in my opinion. This scene has over twenty “Systems”, with 3 to 20 different source objects per system, so well over a hundred different plants, trees, rocks, flowers, grasses, etc…

Hope this helps.


Hey Fredrik!

So there is no one way studios are doing this, but in my experience DMP and Env Gen are using either Katana, Clarrise, or Maya\Max with Vray\Arnold\Renderman for large scenes. Or a combo of all three.

Clarrise and Katana can handle an absolute shit ton of data, so sometimes it just comes down to what is required in the shot. If I were you, I would learn one of Clarrise or Katana, and also get comfortable in Maya or Max. Mash has really added a lot to Maya’s arsenal for scattering and geo painting.



For What You have in Mind I would go Clarrisse defenetly. Its unbeatable with instancing and outdoor rendering of huges amount of Data. No other DCC App can beat Clarrisse in this regard. However you still need to make your assets in C4d,Maya or Modo. For this I would choose C4D. But Thats personal preference.


Thank you all for your help on this. I think I will go with Cinema 4D to start things of and after that go with Clarisse if Cinema 4D does not give me what I need.


I made this video a while ago:
But Keep in mind Clarrisse is not able to create assets. So you still need to work in C4D etc for modelling and Animation.


That’s pretty impressive stuff, sir. I had only heard of Clarisse before this thread, but had no idea what it was for or what it could do. Of course, Maya can’t come close to keeping up with that kind of visual tech in the Viewport. And to be honest, making such huge environments in Maya is VERY TEDIOUS, even after years of practice for me. Perhaps Clarisse could bridge the gap between tech and artistry for me as well, along with Maya itself, thanks for the information!