I’m a Mac user and use 3D Packages for various things. I learned Maya in film school back in the day, and later used it professionally (both on Mac and Windows).
My problem is that I feel like, with the recent OpenGL deprecation and lack of CUDA support on most Macs, companies are abandoning the Macintosh platform. My workflow involves Motion, Sketch, Affinity Photo, Final Cut, all of which run great on my Mac, but it’s really hard to find a 3D package. Sometimes I use Photoshop, but it also gives me the creeps because, even on a high-end Mac, it’s very slow compared to Affinity Photo when working with lots of layers.
My field is mostly computer graphics for embedded systems and I need a POSIX OS to work on that supports system-wide scripting (both shell scripts as well as higher-level scripts like apple scripts) as well as high-end Graphics support (and a platform that doesn’t throw Candy Crush into my face when I do a clean install). The only thing that comes to mind is Mac.
I work on an iMac Pro with 16 GB of video RAM driving three 5k displays and, as laughable as it seems, I’m mostly using Cheetah 3D these days, except for things that Cheetah can’t do, which I use Blender for. At Work, I sometimes also use Maya, mostly for the scripting functionality, which is very powerful, but it gets increasingly difficult to justify the Price of a Maya license if all it does is run a bunch of Python scripts.
I’ve tried Maya, Modo and Houdini. All of these feel like bad ports. Maya’s viewport doesn’t even support retina displays and looks like 1999 on 5k displays. All of those feel very slow and buggy, with the UI building up slowly, and panels flickering and being hidden off-screen. They all seem (which is probably true) like they’re not native Mac apps but built with some ancient multi-platform frameworks and then ported to Mac, ignoring all of apple’s human interface and developer guidelines and high-level UI APIs. The only other thing that feels fast and smooth on a Mac is Blender, but I only use that for things like baking maps or advanced UV editing.
I just can’t use blender for modeling. I respect people that do, but I like more visual feedback when I’m working and it feels like writing code in VI to me, versus something like Visual Studio.
Cheetah 3D is great, but it just doesn’t have all the tools I need, for example I can’t easily edit vertex properties down to the numeric level, bake normal maps, or do advanced UV unwraps. However, for 95% of my use-cases it’s actually sufficient.
It is so smooth, though! I’ve been in a management position for years and don’t spend a lot of time in those tools, but every time someone sends me a 3D model for review and I drop it into Cheetah 3D, it feels like heaven. It just feels insane that an application that costs $99 one-time can render a 5k wireframe viewport whereas an apparent “pro” software like Maya that’s $1500 per year can’t.
So here’s my question:
Does anyone know a mac-native 3D modeling application that comes closer to the power of Maya for advanced tasks than Cheetah 3D and has some more advanced features like multi-monitor support and normal map baking?