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PhotoRealstic video/images: Yet another 3D Question

Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 12:56am

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cinemafreak

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What is the best 3D package to create photorealistc images and animations?

Softimage XSI
Maya 6 Unlimited
Lightwave (cool
3DsMax7
Cinema4D R9 XL bundle

Now I'm guessing either XSI or Maya Unlimited. I want to create realistic buildings, vehicles, not as much creatures but keep that possibility open. Price is not neccessarily an issue since I'll be buying through an academic channel. So, what do you suppose is the best package for my needs? Just for reference my system specs are:

Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz prescott
300 GB hard drive
1 GB of SDRam
Geforce 6600 GT (with open gl 1.5)

just another quick question. Is OpenGL the same thing as hardware accelerated OpenGL? Does the 6600 GT have hardware accelerated?
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 1:01am

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Hybrid-Halo

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The best thing to use to create photorealistic images is as follows:

1) A decent PC - you don't need to spend a huge amount, something around 2ghz will do the job fine.

2) A wealth of skill and knowledge in Any 3D software Package, they can all do it.

That's it.
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 1:03am

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sidewinder

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Yeah, and it's not the modelling software, it's the RENDERER. Brazil, Vray, 3dsmax Scanline, Mental Ray, Final Render, etc...

The default 3dsmax renderer is more robust than Maya's, but considerring they both come packaged with nice 3rd party renderers now, it doesn't much matter.
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 1:05am

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Hybrid-Halo

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Sidewinder is very right, but I'd like to add that Cinema4D's Advanced Render Engine is also very nice, and quite quick.
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 1:35pm

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Klut

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But remember that 3d ain't something you learn right away...
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 3:00pm

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nanafanboy

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You may want to check out Imagemodeler by Realviz. It uses photographs to creat 3d models. www.realviz.com
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 3:07pm

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obidean

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Sidewinder, are any of those renderers free? If so, could they be used for blender?
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 3:13pm

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Rawree

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Brazil and Vray both have free versions avilable (with some limitations and the like) and Mental Ray comes free with Max (and Maya?)
But I think with Blender your stuck with the software renderer and 100 light setups as there's no GI or HDRI I'm assuming (which Vray does very well as quite quickly.)
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 4:40pm

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obidean

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confused oh well, what about yayfray, doesn't that do GI?
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 5:39pm

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Maetrix66

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Yes, it does, and GI as well
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 5:49pm

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VisualFXGuy

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Just confirming the questionmark in Rawree's post.

Mentalray does come with Maya.

While we're on the topic, does anyone know where to purchase a copy of Renderman?? I'm sick and tired of having my NURBS work tesselated when I render.

Last edited Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 5:50pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 5:50pm

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NuttyBanana

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obidean wrote:

confused oh well, what about yayfray, doesn't that do GI?

Maetrix66 wrote:

Yes, it does, and GI as well
How many GI's are there?
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 5:54pm

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VisualFXGuy

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GI stands for Global Illumination, a technique used to simulate bounced light.

For example: If you wear a red shirt, and stand beside a white wall, that wall will have a reddish colour to it in the area where you stand.

Some rendering engines like mentalray do this by calculating photons of light and tracing their path through the scene. There are also other ways to simulate GI by creating a dome of lights that will light your scene from all angles, so you get nice soft shadows, and the depth of your geometry is brought out.

Edit: I reread the above post and get it. I'm an idiot. lol.
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 6:46pm

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NuttyBanana

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lol i did wonder at first, must admit your post set clear a few things for me though as I'm getting into 3d, thanks for being an idiot wink
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 8:34pm

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cinemafreak

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Thanks for all the advice. But which of the packages that I listed do you use? Which have you heard the most about? Which have you heard the best about?
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 8:51pm

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Rawree

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I use 3DS Max with Vray for rendering because I found them both to be easy to get to grips with, are used in professonal fields and have a large ammount of free training material. Other people however find other programs easier to use and so will favour them.

Your choice comes down to the following:

Budget: If you have a tiny budget then either save up more money and go for Max/Maya/XSi or go for C4D/Lightwave etc.

Final Goal: If you want to get into 3D as a profession then you'll have a better chance if you have experience with Maya or similar. If you simply want to make amature movies and the like then something like Wings or Blender would be fine (C4D and lightwave could really fall into either camp)

Do you Like it: People always go straight to asking for other people's opinions without having tried demos or doing any research. I can tell you for a fact that I hate Maya's interface but VFX guy for instance has absolutely no problem with it so don't really worry about other people's opinion.

Go and try out:

Maya PLE - A free watermarked version of Maya
C4D Demo - I sent away for their demo CD and it came quickly with some video tutes.
Max Demo - 30 Days of unrestricted use + lots and lots of tutes.
XSi Free - A free version of XSi

Try them all out and then decide which you like best. Decide which one you like (regardless of price) and then work out a way to pay for it (in some cases selling organs can help wink )

In the end it doesn't matter which program you use, search the web and you'll find fantastic renders for any 3D app out there.

EDIT: In the interests of bias (as a Max user) http://joshrobinson.com/Max%20vs%20MayaTI.pdf
Posted: Wed, 16th Feb 2005, 9:04pm

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NuttyBanana

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from all i know, for buildings and cars absolutely any of those will give great results. As for more advance stuff as in character work, I've only read and seen great things for 3ds max 7. But as we all know, all the pro's use maya wink
Posted: Thu, 17th Feb 2005, 5:03pm

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VisualFXGuy

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As a Maya user, i'd like to make a comment on that Maya vs. Max article. Okay, so it's more then a comment. Jump down to the last paragraph if you want to avoid most of my yapping. wink

First off, i'd like to say i'm not going to get all defensive and complain about the article becasue it said Max was better then Maya in the areas the article brought to light. It DID make some good points about advantages Max has over Maya. I won't dispute the claims the author made that were true.

However, I noticed that the writer of the article glossed over many aspects of Maya that would null some of the claims he made. There were a few places in the article that I found the claims actually false. He went out of his way to make Maya look worse then it would if you knew what you were doing and sat down to work on a project.

For example, If there are 3 ways to create a layer in Maya, the author took the longest route to this, comparing it to the fastest shortcut way to do it in Max. This kind of technique I found peppered throughout the article.

The vastness of the interface in Maya WILL crowd your work, IF you keep everything open at once. I have never had this issue working in Maya becasue the tools are only opened when you need to change a setting, and then are immediatly closed. Also, the default settings for most tools work for what I need them to do. Only on the rare occasion do I need to open up one of the regular tools to adjust it to my needs.

There are definatly aspects of Max that are better then Maya, just as there are aspects of XSI that are better then Maya, and aspects of Maya that are better then Max... etc, etc. This article seemed to focus on all the bad points, as well as skewing the truth to make Maya look worse then it is, while avoiding all the good points Maya has over Max.

I read through the entire article, and found myself at times saying "What is he talking about? Why would you go about things THAT way? And who works like THAT?"

I'm not a Max user. So I can't say "This, this, this, and this is better then Maya." or "This, this this, and this is better then Max" All I can say is that if your trying to honestly compare between the two, please don't take that article as truth becasue many of it's claims are biased and skewed to fit what the writer wants.

That being said, If your looking for a package for amature films and not looking for a career, do NOT go to Maya. It's expensive and complex. It chews up and spits out new users that try to teach themselves the software. wink

If your looking for a career in Visual Effects/Computer Animation, then by all means, go find a college, or specialized school that will teach you the package and learn from them.

Lastly, about those Lord of the Rings comments, there were a few unusual things I noticed. The first was the author listed all the new features this great modeler (I forgot this individuals name) has brought to poly modeling packages that Maya hasn't integrated yet, and claimed that this individual modeled Gollum in LOTR.

The author however glossed over the fact that the work in Lord of the Rings was created in Maya, including Gollum. According to an article I read on the Alias site with an interview with one of the VFX Supervisors from LOTR, ALL the models (Fellowship, and Two Towers at the time I read this information) were NURBS except for Treebeard, which was Sub D's. I was also under the impression that Gollum was scanned in and then tweaked, Not created from scratch in polys as the article seems to claim (Though, he could have been convereted to NURBS after being perfectd in polys).

Wow, this post is an essay. lol. To sum it up, each major animation package has it's own Pros and Cons over the others. There is no "BEST OVERALL" award to any one of these packages. Articles like the one above from my point of view seems to skew the facts to fit the original assumption of one package being better then another. So, do your own research, as anyone you ask will probably be biased to one software or another. Including me. biggrin
Posted: Thu, 17th Feb 2005, 5:38pm

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NuttyBanana

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so as the question is which has good or even the best renders rather than which is the best package overall.....you'd answer....? wink
Posted: Thu, 17th Feb 2005, 5:53pm

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VisualFXGuy

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I'd answer the same as many people on this post have, and that's many of the leading animation packages can do photorealisim. Lightwave, 3D Max, XSI, Maya... movies and television have proven that they can all do it.

The real question is, how well trainied is the person USING the package? Do they want to use them as a hobby for amature films, or as a tool that will lead them to obtaining a job in the industry? Answering that question will help narrow down what animation package they should get.
Posted: Thu, 17th Feb 2005, 6:04pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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NuttyBanana wrote:

from all i know, for buildings and cars absolutely any of those will give great results. As for more advance stuff as in character work, I've only read and seen great things for 3ds max 7. But as we all know, all the pro's use maya wink
Not really at all, and don't listen to anyone when they say something is the best. Because the fact is, it's all based on opinion.

All of the programs mentioned are very good, choose which you prefer as a pose to what you've heard can do the most. I think you'll find 'most pros' use 3dsmax. Though that doesn't mean it's the best out there, or what you should go about learning.

Personally, I use Cinema4D because for me... it's perfect.
Posted: Thu, 17th Feb 2005, 8:45pm

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sidewinder

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And I will say that 3dsmax probably has the largest online resources due to it being pirated so much...
Posted: Thu, 17th Feb 2005, 11:44pm

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VisualFXGuy

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Funny story about 3D Max and piracy...

One of Max's spokespeople were at my animation school last year and they were giving the usual sales pitch about the genius coding that is MAX and how we mortals are so ever privalaged to have it's shadow fall upon us. At least, that's the way it seemed. lol. I hate salespitches. Anyways, the spokesperson goes on to say they encourage pirating of their software.

I'm thinking "huh?"

He went on to explain how most people starting to gain an interest in 3D can't afford to purchase it, and piracy gets their program out to valuable future users that wouldn't normaly have given it a second glance becasue of its purchase price. He said only an idiot would go out and buy it before they knew this is what they want to use, etc.. He said they have no problem with piracy until a user starts making money off their work, at that point they put their foot down and expect them to buy a copy.

I thought it was very amusing.
Posted: Fri, 18th Feb 2005, 12:52am

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cinemafreak

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i've got another question. If I were to buy maya, could I create realistic character animations if I were to create a character? I noticed that alias also has a seperate product called motionbuilder which is meant for character animation. Can someone explain this to me?
Posted: Fri, 18th Feb 2005, 1:09am

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Rawree

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You could create character animations if you have the skill. I would say that it's harder to rig a character than animate them (animating realistically is another thing). Maya works with bones which means that you have to make the skeleton yourself in all cases. In Max however you can sometimes use Character Studio (free with max) to create a biped which is a premade skeleton.

VFX Guy, I've heard about discreet turning a blind eye to "Private Piracy" before, it seems that it was in some sense a clever move as they have the largest market/potential market now. I guess if you pirate max to learn it and then you go into a professional career you'll buy it anyway and if you still use it provately then they're not losing money and obviously don't care.
Posted: Fri, 18th Feb 2005, 2:21am

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Serpent

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I heard Mocca in C4d is great, but i just can't figure it out, so I wouldn't know or have the joy of animating characters. If anyone has a rigged character, a C4D project file one, please send it over somehow. I have always wanted to animate a spider or something, like a mecha spider. (Don't send the rubber duck or the alien or the mime that come with the C4D goodies if you do want to send something in the first place. But any character would be awesome. wink)
Posted: Fri, 18th Feb 2005, 3:15am

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Hybrid-Halo

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VisualFXGuy wrote:

He went on to explain how most people starting to gain an interest in 3D can't afford to purchase it, and piracy gets their program out to valuable future users that wouldn't normaly have given it a second glance becasue of its purchase price. He said only an idiot would go out and buy it before they knew this is what they want to use, etc.. He said they have no problem with piracy until a user starts making money off their work, at that point they put their foot down and expect them to buy a copy.
I thought it was very amusing.
I don't find that particuarly funny, but rather a well thought out and intelligent way of thinking. If you can't beat the pirates, join them. It not only gives off a positive and aware attitude but encourages use of your program
Discreet are a company successful enough to do that well. Good luck to them.

Sidewinder is right about the plugins for 3dsmax, large and varied and well documented. The additional online resources for 3dsmax are brilliant. I've spent a long time saying to myself "I must learn 3dsmax". But right now, Cinema4D use is so seamless I just can't bring myself to do it.

To add to the character rigging, Cinema4D is very good at it. Mocca is one way of doing things but you can assign bones and their vertex affect areas without digging deep into the program by simply using inverse kinematics.

There's a whole set of manuals about C4D and all of the plugins at the official site at www.maxon.net
It's a brilliant program in my opinion, and so far I've found it's way of working alot more logical than the competition.

There also happens to be a rigged character in those manual files.

All the programs mentioned are still very good, as advised... look at them all, and don't be an idiot by following buzz words and opinions of people that have little 3d experience. smile
Posted: Fri, 18th Feb 2005, 4:00am

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Serpent

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The best 3d program is the one in which the one behind the wheel is best at. Give 'em all a spin and see which one you pick up the easiest. Start from there and branch off into more advanced things and maybe after that learn more programs so job oppurtunities begin to open up if you take it that far, best of luck dude.
Posted: Sun, 20th Feb 2005, 4:57pm

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cinemafreak

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I've got another question. I've noticed that most of the 3d apps say that Xp Professional is a system requirement. Is this absolutely neccessary? I read somewhere that XP professional was only put down as a requirement because it could run dual CPUs while home edition could not. Please clear me up on this.
Posted: Sun, 20th Feb 2005, 11:41pm

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BlueSmudge

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Only out of personal experiace I would say go with Lightwave, or Cinema4D but I have not tried many 3D apps, and am far from an expert.
Posted: Mon, 21st Feb 2005, 5:57pm

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billy3d

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sidewinder wrote:

And I will say that 3dsmax probably has the largest online resources due to it being pirated so much...
Actually it was the first 3d application that was affordable by hobbyists and amatures, Autodesk 3D Studio Dos was also one of the first apps capable of running on a normal pc. Since those days it's gained a lot of popularity. Even in 1995 there were many CompuServe communites that discussed 3D Studio. I recently got my hands on a copy of "3D Studio Hollywood & Gaming Effects", which is a pretty old book btw, and learnt that in the old days practicing 3D was expensive... it meant hi-end, expensive SGI workstations... 3D Studio was the the best way to practice, and it didn't cost that much either.

When Kinetix came out with 3d studio max for NT, it was all the better, it was still cheaper, retained its popularity. I also learnt that with 3D Studio for Dos you had to run the different modules at different times, but with 3d studio max for NT it was all integrated.

Rawree wrote:


VFX Guy, I've heard about discreet turning a blind eye to "Private Piracy" before, it seems that it was in some sense a clever move as they have the largest market/potential market now. I guess if you pirate max to learn it and then you go into a professional career you'll buy it anyway and if you still use it provately then they're not losing money and obviously don't care.
heh, reminds me of a discussion I had with Tarn once in the fxhome chat wink