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How 'bout Blender? It's certainly more evolved than Cool 3D and totally and completely free of charge. Beyond that you could try something like Truespace 3D (they still sell the older 6.x versions at a lower price), Cheetah 3D (Mac only) or something as exotic as Houdini Apprentic HD (99 bucks).
You get what you pay for. Look at the Cinema 4D base program to get started.
I've spent a little with Art of Illusion and you don't get to see any effects of lighting until you render. What's your experience with Blender? Cinema 4D looks kool, but it's a bit pricey. I would probably stick with CS3 if I was going to spend that much money.
>What's your experience with Blender?
Blender will do nicely - if you get to grips with it's somewhat odd interface paradigm. I constantly forget to right-click to select something (as opposed to the rest of the world, that uses left-click), for instance, but then again, I'm only looking at it from time and have a selection of other 3D tools at hand. That aside, it's as with any 3D-program - you will have to take the time to actually learn it. That's the price of gaining flexibility and getting away from template-based instant setups as you find a lot in Cool 3D or Carrara.
Silversurfer is right on some level, but it's not that you really need C4D or any other commercial 3D program to do quality work. Luckily we live in a day and age where even free programs provide a plethora of features, are well-documented, have tutorials floating on the web and a large and helpful community building around it. In that regard the question really becomes how quickly you must get underway, what you intend to do with it and if you can afford to take the time to learn Blender on your own or if your business hinges on it and you need to go commercial to get quicker results and a better learning curve.
I second Cinema4D... it's amazing, but very expensive.
Check out ElectricImage (http://www.eitechnologygroup.com/), it has lots of features, very fast rendering and an intuitive interface. It only renders and animates, so you'll have to model in another program (like Silo http://www.nevercenter.com/)
Cinema 4D very expensive? 685 euro is pretty cheap considering what you get.
- Jonas Hummelstrand
C4D is alright, but it's nothing compared to 3DS Max. If you're a student you can get academic discount. AE is NOT a real 3d program and it pales in comparison to a real one. It's great for what it does (2d/vis fx)but don't expect to do anything truly 3d in it aside from some text junk. Problem with C4D is that its usage industry-wide is extremely limited compared to Max or Maya. You learn it and you're stuck in that paradigm and it doesn't translate broadly once you hit the job market.
The problem with FREE is that no one is paying the bills. This means that the R&D just isn't there compared to the bigtime devs, and you are hamstrung from the start. People say you can use ANY 3d program to learn the basics of 3d in general, but this is really not true. It's like studying general psych and then getting hired as a child psychologist- you just won't be prepared. You need to pick a package and learn it...period. Dabble in others to see what you prefer, but settle on one or you'll never be great in any. I speak from experience. I have recently got down to watching my lynda and totaltraining and dv expert stuff finally and can honestly say, "wow, in a short time I have an understanding I never thought possible." That's no exaggeration. If I had to rely on some free broadcast design app, I'd be doing myself a serious disservice on top of producing not nearly what I might have been able to with the right tools. Another common saying is 'it's not the program, it's the user'-this is a more than facetious claim and I can assure you totally that it is both the user and the program. In the same way you cannot expect to saw a board in half with a hammer, you cannot expect to create in an artistic manner with substandard tools. It just will not happen for you.
Get what you can afford IF this is going to be your actual livelihood. No use in shelling out a grand or two if this is just dabbling; better off applying that 2000$ or so to get your certificate in computer graphics at the community college, or apply it to a semester at the university and go get your associate's in design. With the degree, your resume is more attractive and you can get hired and then have access to the major programs that way. Either way it's a lot of time and money invested. No one is going to hire you if you are not proficient in the big name, popular applications used in the industry no matter any claims to the contrary.
Email me at 'email@example.com' if you have any other questions. I can point you in the right direction. Believe me, I understand your dilemma.
I disagree.. it depends on what you need to get done in 3D (what industry you're in)
We have stations running both C4D and Maya. The C4D/AE workflow has been very successful.
On the other hand, while it's true that there are many more industry files for vfx that come from Maya (can't open them with anything else), and Maya is an excellent tool - it's overkill for what we need to do in C4D.
>Cinema 4D very expensive? 685 euro is pretty cheap considering what >you get.
No, not really. The trouble is not with the base package, but with the modules. Buying them is super-expensive as is keeping them updated with every new release. It is also worth noting that several tools scattered in the modules should by all rights be part of the base package (constraint tag in MOCCA and Spline Deformer in MoGraph for instance) as they are in other programs. Ultimately this makes the whole thing "expensive", as at some point as you evolve in your skills as an 3D artist you are going to need those extra tools.
And let's not kid ourselves - at this point half of the modules are useless or outdated. No decent dynamics, no decent renderer, and particles are so-so... If you need to replace those faulty modules with third-party plugins, you could easily double the base price and then indeed we reach a ceiling where the same money could get you a license of Maya Unlimited or XSI Advanced, both of which offer a lot more then all Cinema 4D combined and with better integration...
Don't get me wrong, C4D can be cool and nice to use, but only if you have a specific workflow in mind that it is tailored for. Anyway, I'm already theorising too much again. To the matter at hand: Outside C4D there's certainly Lightwave, Caligary Truespace, Carrara, Cheetah, Realsoft 3D and a number of other tools, all of which fall in the same price range of C4D Base or drastically below and in part offer way superior features... Maybe worth taking a look at them.
"Email me at 'firstname.lastname@example.org' if you have any other questions. I
can point you in the right direction. Believe me, I understand your
This is just junk marketing post... why are people replying like it's
I have nothing to sell. I'm a guy, not a business. You're some wannabe know it all, Daubs, and forums are full of guys like yourself. All your caps and exclamation points bespeak a distinct lack of intelligence. Mind your business, jack daubs.
"Outside C4D there's certainly Lightwave, Caligary Truespace, Carrara, Cheetah, Realsoft 3D and a number of other tools, all of which fall in the same price range of C4D Base or drastically below and in part offer way superior features..."
That's pretty funny. Lightwave is used a bit in the professional world but the rest...not so much...and superior features?! That's one guy's opinion.
I disagree with those C4D naysayers. Those that talk like that have probably never used the app in a production environment instead of as a hobbyist. It rocks and there's none better for AE integration IMHO.
...but I, too, am one guy with an opinion :)
You can keep using C4D if you want. I, however, will not be painted into a corner by my choice of software.
I'd never use C4D in any sort of production. All the time it would take to learn it could have been time spent learning 3ds max which is light years ahead of it. That isn't an OPINION- it is the TRUTH. No one in their right mind would equate 3ds max with C4D unless they were being paid to do so.
I've talked to the Admissions people of numerous universiities and colleges and not a ONE of them said their programs required one to know C4D...none...zilch. It's all 3ds max and Maya. You're doing a major disservice to potential students by advocating the use of C4D which is used so scantly industry-wide that it should realistically only be learned on the side after one is proficient in the major applications.
I REALLY don't want to hear from any pros or pseudo-pros on here about how they use it, because none of them,if they went to school and have a degree in this stuff, used C4D at all in any of their classes. Sure, they might have picked it up much later, but not a single one of them went to a school where c4d was the de facto 3d modeling program.
^ Please avoid inflammatory and aggressive posts.
The original post asked for OPINIONS from other After Effects users. Yours is one of those, but is no more valid than any other. The reality, of course, is that C4D is a professionally recognized application that is used worldwide in professional television and feature film work. A simple Google search reveals C4D is available at many Design Schools and universities worldwide, including Savannah College of Art and Design, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Vancouver Film School, Expression College for Digital Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, and Art Center College of Design.
It is also recognized to have exceptional integration with After Effects, so is naturally popular on an After Effects Forum like this one. As the user is upgrading from Ulead Cool 3D, and has a restricted budget, it's possible that NONE of the professional applications mentioned here will be of use to him.
Your opinion is noted, thank you, but there is really no need to attack other users of this forum. Please, by all means express opinions and recommendations, but without being rude or inflammatory. You don't need to be rude to get your point across.
>>You can keep using C4D if you want. I, however, will not be painted into a corner by my choice of software.<<
As I said, he's free to keep using it.
You can cite a handful of places, fantastic. They may USE the program in some limited fashion, but by no means is it their required tool. Those taking online classes at any of these places are going to be REQUIRED to have and KNOW 3ds max or maya or both. Both Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Academy of Art University and Gnomon school of vis fx require the use of MAYA or MAX or BOTH, and NOT c4d as a requisite.
Sure, they might have a tiny place for it in their pipeline but god only knows why they'd include it with its horrible renderer and clunky modeling and animation approach when they have Brazil r/s and Vray and Mental Ray to choose from with the other packages. I just don't see how you can try to claim there is parity between c4d and the big time programs like max, maya, and xsi. Which game developers are switching to a c4d environment? which hollywood fx studios are advocating learning c4d if you want to work for them? Come on.
I'll say it again- 3ds max and Maya are the industry standards for a reason. C4D core gets you exactly jack for the $895 core. Even XL at the cost of $2200 leaves out HAIR, MoGraph, and DYNAMICS for god's sake. The modules alone, if you just got the Core package, cost more than a full 3ds max or Maya. Ridiculous. And you're advocating that scam? Again...come on.
But I understand you...your situation at least...because once you sink THAT kind of money into a shoddy 3d application like c4d you have to jump to its defense and justifying your purchace.
The truth is the truth, and sometimes the truth is aggressive- that's not an opinion.
Maybe C4D isn't used that much in features, but Bodypaint sure is...
Robert, if you have the opportunity, I strongly recommend you attending Siggraph 2008 Exhibit Hall (Held in Los Angeles 8/12/08 - 8/14/08).
My vote goes for Softimage XSI. It's an amazing piece of software! Very modern architecture, very open and scriptable, best workflow. With XSI Foundation, it's amazing what you get for $495. If you were interested, I'd first check out XSI Mod Tool (http://www.softimage.com/products/modtool/ FREE!!). Mod Tool can't render things (they stripped Mental Ray from it - who needs it when making game assets), but you can learn how to model and animate with it. And if you're into games, you can export content into a variety of engines, including Valve Source, Unreal3, CryEngine, and also for MS XNA.
XSI 7 is gonna be coming out soon and many many users are very excited from the tech demos that Softimage has showed us so far. Visual programming; I think it's Thinking Particles on STEROIDS.
First program I tried to learn was Maya v1. Too complicated at the time, but I could probably pick it up now, since everything carries over from XSI, just different names. I'd recommend starting with an easier program (like XSI :)) My first 3d program I learned was Lightwave. Hated the interface and the 2 programs for modelling/animating. Especially compared to XSI, it feels very very ancient. Tried Max; hated the interface and workflow. Opened C4D once, hated the interface. Never tried Houdini, but it sounds like an incredible program. I've heard it's very hard to learn, but that was at least a couple of versions ago.
The best thing to do is download demos and try and see which program you like best. You want something that allows you to produce the art you imagine - that's the top priority. What can you use to create art easily, beautifully, and fast. You want the program to work for you, not to struggle with the program. Workflow, workflow, workflow.
You can bash C4D all you want, but you can't ever say that it's not up to the task of creating great 3D visuals in the hands of the right artists. Check out Maxon's site and look through the galleries. C4D was used for shots in Spider Man 3, The Golden Compass, Beowulf, Surf's up, Polar Express, and a bunch more. It's used to create graphics and 3D elements in national commercials all the time. Many of their plug-ins are great, if not better than anyone else's at specific tasks.
There have also been some amazing things created with Blender (a free - open source app). In the 3D world there is no one right tool for every job. The technical skills you will learn in any 3D app will have to be relearned with each new product update, but artistic skills and the ability to tell a story with pictures can be learned with a #2 pencil and a ream of paper.
Pick a program you can afford, try to learn how to tell an amazing story, even if it's only a story told by a single image, then use those skills to earn enough money to buy whatever tools you want. BTW, that image was created with Blender.
Great post, Rick.
Few artistic endeavors deal in absolutes. Tools are tools. Brushes are brushes. People can do amazing things with tools that aren't necessarily intended for a specific task. I have worked at or with game studios for the past 10 years and have found every conceivable 3D program in use for different tasks. I personally use Lightwave for modeling and particle system stuff. I use C4D for motion graphics. I use Maya to integrate with certain game studios. All amazing programs. For me, the mix of programs is where I personally get my best results.
Having a university degree and a community college certificate (and being a college instructor), I've found that schools choose their packages for a variety of reasons; popularity, existing faculty knowledge, regional use, pricing, etc. I would never make assumptions about the quality of a product based on its use in academia. I would also not judge an artist on their success in academia. The greatest 3D artist I've ever had the pleasure to work with is simply a high school graduate.
An individual can absolutely learn the basic principles of 3D design with the available free packages. They tend to be somewhat quirky but the fundamentals are there. They may or may not stand up under the stress of prolonged professional use, but they make a great stepping stone.
I myself started out with lightwave when the tutorial vids came on vhs tapes (i'm 35). I then tried softimage...3.7 or whatever was around then. Then xsi 1.0. I was a huge xsi fan for years but damn it if I could find any tutorials - even ed harriss, at the time, had like 5 on his site. It was a real dilemma. Then I found 3ds max and a million resources, and that was that.
Still, til this day, xsi has a scarcity of resources for one learn it. Forum posts go unanswered for weeks sometimes or not at all due to the very real lack of experts willing to help. One thing I do a lot of is particle systems and natural forces stuff, so needless to say xsi was out right away because training in such for that software is basically non-existent. So, 3ds max it is-with their particle flow and dreamscape, it's unrivaled. 2d fakery is new for me, but I find that After Effects can produce very convincing images that mimic 3 dimensionality with the use of 3d layers, particle systems, and the big daddy: animated fractal noise.
Indeed. And 2D fakery is really coming along these days! http://www.trapcode.com/movies/smoketrail_flightcam_h.mov
>I myself started out with lightwave when the tutorial vids came on vhs tapes (i'm 35).
I started my first production job Octovber 10,1969.. Learned mostly on the job, been with AE since 2.0. I'm still amazed at the creativity of both young and old. If I had a dollar for every time I had to learn to use a new tool, or $10 for every time I had to relearn an app because everything changed with the new update I'd be sitting on the beach in Drake Bay, Costa Rica, watching the waves. But I don't, I'm waiting for a render on a project that I began yesterday at 7AM. It's just about as boring as waiting for the film to come out of the processor in 1969.
Apologies if I've misjudged your intentions but your post is in a style <br />crossed between an evangelical rant and Spam, it even ends with an offer; "I <br />can point you in the right direction. Believe me, I understand your <br />dilemma." and an email link to click on! However if "caps and exclamation <br />points bespeak a distinct lack of intelligence" there are a number of caps <br />in your posts too.<br /><br />The industry is very broad and not everyone wants to learn Maya just to get <br />a factory job working on Shrek 4 or Studio Max for games. There are a lot of <br />talented freelances supplying the industry with innovative work produced in <br />a variety of packages including the free open source 3D package Blender and <br />some amazing psuedo 3D stuff in After Effects. In many cases it's <br />originality, vision and ideas that directors and producers want to see not <br />certificates and it's those qualities that'll keep you employed.<br /><br /><br /><MyNameWasTaken@adobeforums.com> wrote<br />> I have nothing to sell. I'm a guy, not a business. You're some wannabe <br />> know it all, Daubs, and forums are full of guys like yourself. All your <br />> caps and exclamation points bespeak a distinct lack of intelligence. Mind <br />> your business, jack daubs.<br /><br /><MyNameWasTaken@adobeforums.com> wrote<br />> Get what you can afford IF this is going to be your actual livelihood. No <br />> use in shelling out a grand or two if this is just dabbling; better off <br />> applying that 2000$ or so to get your certificate in computer graphics at <br />> the community college, or apply it to a semester at the university and go <br />> get your associate's in design. With the degree, your resume is more <br />> attractive and you can get hired and then have access to the major <br />> programs that way. Either way it's a lot of time and money invested. No <br />> one is going to hire you if you are not proficient in the big name, <br />> popular applications used in the industry no matter any claims to the <br />> contrary.<br />><br />> Email me at 'email@example.com' if you have any other questions. I <br />> can point you in the right direction. Believe me, I understand your <br />> dilemma.
My point was that starving artists are starving for a reason. Yes, there are those born naturally talented who can write their own check, even if they only use a freeware app. Most of us, on the other hand, are normal and have to really apply ourselves to the maximum and our resumes must show that we know the industry standards back and front if we hope to be competitive.
I personally know unemployed tattoo artists who are as good as the top pros , yet they are broke and drunk half the time, wasting their skills. But, it's the same wherever you look: those natural talents often lack focus and accomplish very little because they figure they will get around to it...and once they will, they will be set. Maybe they are right, but more often, they go nowhere. As goes the saying, "nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent."
I'm looking it from the angle of marketability. Sure, the guys that hire you look for how good you are first, and the degree just adds to it. In this day and age, though, many won't even let you in the door without that degree. I've seen it first hand. It's a shame. You can be Michaelangelo with a polygon in blender, but if they sit you down and make you show them what you can do with the software they use- stuff you never used- you're finished. "So, where's the edge loop in Ma...?" Before you get the question out, you're gone.
Freelance is always the way for those who think to make a living in this arena. You can definitely get hired by major corps and agencies, this is true, but you're salaried and your employer is making the profit from your ideas. Sometimes it's necessary, but I'd work towards independence even if I was employed by Dreamworks or Rhythm & Hues and made a lot because I could be making a lot more on my own. There are quicker ways to a million dollars than an internship at ILM, etc.
>I disagree with those C4D naysayers. Those that talk like that have
>probably never used the app in a production environment instead of as >a hobbyist. It rocks and there's none better for AE integration IMHO.
Well, you can get just as nice AE integration in MAX or XSI and there are several scripts for Maya and Houdini. That one is a rather weak argument, especially coming from someone who seems to jump from one program to another as it fits his argumentation (or would you like to go hunting for some of your past flaming XSI and MAX endorsements and elaborate on them?). I have used C4D ever since v5.21 in our company's production and certainly think that lets me know its strengths and weaknesses well enough and gauge its advancement (or lack thereof in several areas)...
>That's pretty funny. Lightwave is used a bit in the professional
>world but the rest...not so much...and superior features?! That's one >guy's opinion.
Well, have you ever looked at Realsoft 3D? It had n-gon SDS long before C4D even dreamt of it. Until this day it has one of the few native patch surface renderers that don't need tesselation and offer infinite resolution, it has pretty decent particles, dynamics, a tree generator, GI... Similar things could be said for Truespace.
And you are also forgetting the original posters question: It has absolutely no relevance whether a program is used in the "professional" world when stepping up from a even more simplistic/ basic program like Cool 3D. Compared to this one, even Cheetah 3D feels like stepping up from a 10 year old used car to something new...
Also, what's quite annoying in your logic is that we all have to "look up" to some things we can never hope to attain, only to be counted as "professionals". Following that line of thinking, we'd all have to ruin ourselves by buying Maya and Renderman licenses and then go bankrupt 'cos it doesn't serve our needs. Trust me, I have used Maya and tried Renderman and they are both sons of ******* if your workflow is not particularly tailored to them. So in the end: What would you have achieved?
There's nothing wrong taking a look out of the window from time. Today's seemingly lo-fi hobbyist tool may evolve into every pro's darling tomorrow. It has happened with C4D (which was a rather ugly, not so feature rich duckling pre v7) and can happen to others as well.
And be honest: Before Maxon started properly marketing C4D and Bodypaint in the US around v8/ v9 did any of you know it? I doubt that and your comments would have been quite different a few years ago... I'm reasonably you would have assigned it the same lack of "professioanlism" (there's that ugly word again) as you do now to other programs.
You can keep using C4D if you want.
Gee...I feel much better now. Thanks so much for the thumbs-up.
especially coming from someone who seems to jump from one program to another as it fits his argumentation
All I have used for the last 5 years is C4D so you just made that up, dude. BTW...we're not talking about years ago anyway - we are talking about today. I'm not going to get into this childish back & forth...jeez...this forum is getting very "high & mighty" lately. I posted my opinion. You don't like it? Too bad. It's an OPINION and it's mine. Look up "IMHO"...which means "In My Humble Opinion" and get over yourself.
FWIW (that's "For What It's Worth" to those that don't pay attention to chat abbreviations), Mylenium seems to be right in every post he leaves so no use arguing with god. I will stick with C4D for as long as they keep improving it or until something better comes along for what I need it for.
The industry is very broad and not everyone wants to learn Maya just to get
a factory job working on Shrek 4 or Studio Max for games.
Well said, bro. Our studio uses Maya for our games (not MAX) and it's just overkill for a lot of other things like Broadcast graphics. Killer program for serious Modeling & Animation, but overkill IMHO for most of what I do. C4D fills a great void here.
I've talked to the Admissions people of numerous universiities and colleges and not a ONE of them said their programs required one to know C4D...none...zilch.
So? So what does that mean...you have to spend the rest of your career using the software you learned in school? Isn't that " painted into a corner by my choice of software? Are you joking? 3D principles are 3D principles and you learn & use what you need to get the job done. I learned Alias Wavefront, Softimage and Lightwave in school - and hated it. Never used any of them again after graduation 10 years ago. I would learn Maya in a heartbeat if I was told that my work required it.
As usual, Rick Gerard is spot on point. Thanks for that post, Rick.
This is a little off-subject for this thread, but you seem like a veteran in this industry and i'm trying to get a sense of what it takes to develop a aolid primary 3d education.
I have an mfa in fine art, solid illustration skills, and have been working as a graphic designer for corporations, agencies & freelance for the past 8+ years. I've never felt totally satisfied within the field of graphic design and up until recently i've always considered my fine art as a separate entity in terms of career; painting has always been my first love but it doesn't get me paid sufficiently, so I chose a field I considered to be far enough away from fine art that my ego would be less involved in client decisions, etc..
Now i'm thinking that perhaps the gratification i seek from my work would be best derived if i sought to blend my existing skill sets and supplement them with a 3d background that would allow me to do work that is more related to my fine art background.
any advice/feedback/wisdom etc., would be much appreciated. thanks in advance,
wandering soul (a.k.a. laura)
Well...what do you want to do? Movies? TV? Games? There are a ton of options and you have what most Artists in the industry do not have...an MFA. I was walking the floor at Siggraph 98 and Digital Domain, Squaresoft, Electronic Arts & other huge recruiters were asking attendees if they had a Fine Arts background. I didn't so out of school I had to start at the bottom for no $$$. I picked up After Effects, Photoshop, Ilustrator & Cinema 4D with what little money I had and taught myself what I currently know & use at work.
You as a painter would love Bodypaint3D:
You may be interested in Matte Painting or being a Texture Artist. Depending where you live, there are very specialized jobs in our industry. I work in the gaming industry with a Broadcast TV / Advertising Post Production background. I wish I had fine arts training (does a Performing Arts degree count? ;)).
Anyway...that's as good a place to start as any. Best of luck.
Hi Laura. What type of fine art? Painting? Sculpting? There are many uses in 3D for that. That's the beauty of 3D. Everything is applicable to it. Math, Music (timing at least), Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Anatomy, Physics.
There are many areas in 3D production. The main ones are Modelling, UV Editing, Texturing, Rigging, Animating, Simulations, Lighting, Rendering. Different programs excel at different areas. You may need multiple programs to accomplish your goal, a specialized fluid simulator, for instance. Some require more of a linear approach thru the areas of productions. Other programs have a much more open non-linear approach. IE, being able to remodel things after the character has been rigged, textured, and animated. I'll point out that Softimage XSI excells at that. :)
If you are interested in digital sculpting, you should check out Zbrush (http://www.pixologic.com/home.php) or Mudbox (http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?id=10707763&siteID=123112)
Lastly, if you happen to live near Los Angeles, you should try to attend Siggraph 2008 - Aug 12-14! Free Exhibit pass - http://www.digitaltutors.com/chit_chat/showthread.php?t=9167
I personally like the idea of matte painting as a profession, but don't have the hardware to handle those huge files in Photoshop. :(
Laura, you should check out some of the creative job boards and see what's out there that fits in with your salary needs too, just to be practical about it.
37signals.com and creativeheads.net are a couple, but I'm sure you know of more.
thanks alot for your feedback. As luck would have it, i think i'm in a very good location for this industry- i'm currently working about a mile away from pixar! i'm looking into taking some classes so this is all good info to have. thanks again!