I’m having a tough time trying to decide what to use, Maya PLE, XSI Foundation, or Animation Master (if there’s anything else I should be considering, please let me know). My focus is on animation, and all my experience so far is in Maya. Actually, I’m surprised AM hasn’t lowered the price in response to Foundation only being 500 bucks. If AM were 200, I think I would just buy it right now. But at 300, plus shipping, I wonder, well, maybe I should just fork out the extra dough and get XSI. I mean, isn’t XSI a much more powerful program? I tried the XSI demo for a bit today, but I’m having trouble getting my head around their workflow, it isn’t very intuitive, I prefer Maya’s way much more. However, I don’t like PLE because it’s so crippled, and that watermark is just so intrusive. If there were a 500 dollar version of Maya I would definitely get that because I’m most familiar with it. As you can probably tell by reading this, money is incredibly tight for me right now, so I need to make the right decision.
I’ve started watching the downloadable videos but so far haven’t seen the answers to my questions. I’ve been reading about AM for the past couple hours actually and I’m not seeing the answers, so I’m hoping an AM expert can take a couple minutes to help me, it would be GREATLY appreciated!
On to the AM questions, please forgive me if these sound like dumb questions. I just REALLY WISH they had a demo of the program, that would help so much.
- Does it support bump and specular mapping?
- Can I do stuff like make transparent glass?
- Can it do fog?
- I really like smooth skin weighting in Maya (more than one bone can affect a single point). Is there something similar in AM?
- Can you change the color of fur at the tip (starts brown at the base, changes to black at the tip)?
- What about moving around the model (again, I really love the way Maya works this way, with the alt and mouse buttons, it’s fantastic). From what I saw in the vid, moving around looks a bit clunky…again, if there were a demo version I would be able to see this better…is there a perspective view or just the orthographic views?
- Can it do fire effects?
- Can it make morph targets, and then have something like a set driven key to activate them, like when you bend the arm, the bicep turns into a big muscle?
- Can it handle really large scenes quickly and without crashing?
- Can you create stretchy bones so that when you pull the hand, the forearm and bicep bones stretch? Also, can you get the model’s geometry to shrink as the bone stretches?
- Can you render wireframes?
- I have 3 fast computers here, can I render on all of them or am I stuck to just one? If it’s only one, that would be a major drawback. I ask this because I think I read somewhere that you need the cd in the drive to run the program…that does not sound fun at all…is this to prevent multi-computer renders??
- What kinds of lights does it have? Is there directional, spotlight, and omni? Do they have visible cones to show where the dropoff occurs?
- Is there an f-curve editor?
Geez, sorry about that, more questions than I thought there would be. Anyway, I know there are lots of other people out there who have faced the same decision, so if anyone would just like to post their experience instead of going through all those questions, that would be great too.
Thanks VERY MUCH in advance!