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What is the difference between 3ds max and Blender?

Discussion in 'External Tools' started by Cdunn, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Cdunn

    Cdunn

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    What I want to know is what is the difference between 3ds max and Blender....besides the fact that 3ds max cost a lot of money to use commercially.

    Are there any differences in the way things turn out in your finished model that are noticeable? when I say this I mean whether your professional or a noob like me. I know a finished model can look good or bad depending on the person whos using the software.

    I hear 3ds max is used in most of the game design industry. Is Blender also used?

    I know all 3d software can be hard to use, but 3ds max vs blender, which one would ususally be considered the most difficult?

    Any other major differences that I didnt ask please do tell me. Ive had thoughts about using blender for awhile, but I first started with 3ds max last year when I was 12...havnt really developed much skill at all since I took a break from 3d software and moved to programming and concept art instead, but I just want to know which one would be a better choice...people have tried to persuade me to use blender instead of 3ds max and stuff because they think its a lot better, but only state like one reason why, and the usually reason is because of money and being able to modify the software.

    Also what are your opinions on zbrush?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  2. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Just use blender. If you have to ask this question, then you aren't even remotely close to the point where you would leverage any of max's features to begin with. I know it sounds like I'm full of it, but I'm 100% correct.

    In other cases you might prefer how max models, or how maya models - ie a personal preference. Don't forget modo 601 and other alternatives.

    Blender is perfectly fine for game development.

    Try out sculptris (it's free) to answer your Zbrush question.
     
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  3. Cdunn

    Cdunn

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    Thanks this changed my mind, I will use blender:) , but can you still answer my question about the quality of a finished model in 3ds max vs blender...whats the difference ( not based on skill level just what 3ds max is capable of when it comes to graphics)? Also do you know were I could download the 3.42 unity version. I hear the 3.51 version has problems that need to be resolved.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  4. supernat

    supernat

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    Please take my response with a grain of salt. I had to make a choice two years ago between the two, so it may not reflect the current situation. I very much wanted to use Blender in my business plan, but after trying to learn the interface, I gave up and went with 3DS. I had several issues as noted below:

    1) blender is developed as open source, so although there are some clear advantages, I believe there is higher risk the code will be broken more often. In fact, I tried several versions of Blender over a few months, and bugs (serious ones) would be fixed in the next version with new serious bugs added each time. I think this is more likely with an open architecture where a clear roadmap plan of development is not present with a smaller team of developers. You can potentially have some random person come in and impact a bunch of software or change an existing interface without regard for people already using the software.
    2) Tutorials were always wrong. Because blender was changing so much, I had a terrible time finding tutorials online that were accurate. I didn't bother buying a book either, because the software was fluctuating wildly (again, 2 years ago) at the time. With 3ds max, I have the 2011 Bible which the 2012 and 2013 versions are still backward compatible with, and I used online resources like lynda.com, other free tutorials, etc.
    3) 3DS Max is supported since you are a paying (a lot) customer. If there is an issue, you can submit a bug report, and they will respond to you. So far, honestly, I haven't seen any really significant bugs, and I have the autodesk subscription, so I have used 2011, 2012, and 2013 versions of 3ds. Some things are quirky, yes, and some bugs exist obviously. My software will become unstable after putting the computer to sleep and waking a lot, like I can't dolly the view right or when I try to rotate an object, it goes the wrong way (some transforms get out of sync). Blender was crashing on me at random points, and some features that were supposed to exist did not work at all.

    I would recommend looking into Mudbox. I find that software to be the most powerful if you are looking to sculpt biological or amorphous type items. It is one of the most impressive programs I have seen.

    I will say too, purchasing an expensive item like 3ds max will put the fire beneath you if you are on the edge of actually wanting to make money or wanting to have fun as a hobby. I have been making dumb games and game engines, working with graphics for over ten years, but really just hobbyish. Once I sunk some real money into the effort, I churned out a game that has sold several thousand copies, and I'm working on several others now. There's something to be said for the motivation factor. :)
     
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  5. Cdunn

    Cdunn

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    wow your post really made me think. What I want to know is when it says that unless you pay you cant release things comercially, does that mean you cant post pictures or youtube videos of your work? If that is the case then how can they tell that you used 3ds max if you do use your game commercially?

    Also have you worked on anything that I may have played before?
     
  6. niosop2

    niosop2

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    There is no reason there would be any difference whatsoever in the final product as a result of using either Blender or 3DS. The difference is in the techniques and tools available to you during the creation process, and in many cases there's not much difference in those. The primary difference between them (besides the price) is the interface. Try out several, such as Modo, 3DS Max, Maya and Blender for full packages, and Silo if you don't need animation tools in your package.

    If one allows you to be more productive because the interface fits you better, then use that one if you can afford it. Personally I prefer Blender's interface over 3DS and Mayas. Silo and Modo 601 are pretty nice, but I still tend to be more productive in Blender due to being more familiar with it.

    For sculpting software, it's hard to beat ZBrush. It's the industry standard for a reason, it's amazingly powerful and since they've always given free upgrades it's the best $600 I've ever spent. Sculptris and blender's sculpting tools are nice for being free but they don't compare to ZBrush.
     
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  7. nicunity

    nicunity

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    You purchased a $5000+ plus application at the age of 12?
     
  8. ivanzu

    ivanzu

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    There is no difference except the interface.Both use similar mesh system so as long you model in quads there is no problems.
     
  9. Tysoe

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    3ds max graphite tools are pretty neat with dynamic insertion of loops and removal of loops, subobjects etc. I like that you can unwrap multiple objects on a single UV map whilst keeping them as seperate meshes, and it has a bunch of tools that generally make things easier than blender. Some of what is "easier" depends on whether the UI works in a way that clicks with you as an individual. Most modeling tools will get the same result, it's the amount of time it takes to produce that result that is key.

    Not so long ago 3ds max required a lot of plugins to be a feature rich package and a lot of people got frustrated with it. Today that's not the case. The only addons I have are custom exporters for other engines like Ogre and shader FX for creating realtime shaders for that engine. I haven't found any need for extras when using unity.

    BTW 3ds max costs about $3500 plus aprox $1000 a year to update. So no where near $5000+ but definately expensive.

    I've used blender on and off since the early/mid 90's when they were first trying to make inroads in the fairly new world of 3d applications. They always had promise but couldn't quite cut it with the high end apps. And that mostly holds true today. Having said that, the price is fantastic and it really can't be beat if your budget is tight. Sure there are other apps that specialize in one particular thing and if you can be bothered to get a pipeline to get them to all play nice with one another then you can do better but it still ends up being quite expensive.
     
  10. nicunity

    nicunity

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    Nope. eu prices are more in line with $5k.
     
  11. lmbarns

    lmbarns

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    Was autodesk giving long term student licenses? I've had it and maya a lot longer than 30 days and it says I have 935 days remaining on the student license. I didn't realize it was so expensive, crap. If I switch to blender can I import my fbx files and re-export them from blender to avoid the license with 3ds?

    Mostly I've just made terrain meshes so far. I guess I could remake them, I haven't used blender but 3ds was pretty easy to add points to an object and manipulate them. Really low poly too...
     
  12. floriatosca

    floriatosca

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    I’ve used both“3DS is a comprehensive and versatile 3Dapplicaionuse in film and video games.”Blender” is a free open source 3D studio for animation.
     
  13. Sir-Tiddlesworth

    Sir-Tiddlesworth

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    Blender can import pretty much anything besides fbx files:(
    It can export them though.
     
  14. Wolfos

    Wolfos

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    Autodesk gives away free student licenses, yes. I use Blender, have used Maya as well but I just prefer Blender.

    Blender 2.5+>Maya>Blender 2.4 and earlier, imo.
     
  15. saymoo

    saymoo

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    ehm Blender 2.6+ > Blender 2.5+ > Maya > 3dmax > blender 2.4 and earlier :p
    for game assets creation etc (and animations).
     
  16. MOG_Hammer

    MOG_Hammer

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    They still do. And there is even an option to get it for a home student, so basically everyone can get their free autodesk softwares for free, for a 3 years license. That is what I use. But I do not mind trying other options, since there will be a time when my licenses will expire, but 3 years to learn and create with the mostly used 3D softwares in the industry, that's a good deal.
     
  17. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Yes, for learning purposes it might be a good deal. But you can't use it commercially in any way.

    At the end comes down what you actually want to do. If you looking for a job in the industry, forget Blender and Unity. Max, Maya CE und UE are the stuff you've to learn.
    But if you intend to become a indie dev, or founding your own little studio, Blender is your best bet. There is barely anything that justifies the price difference of thousands of dollars between Blender and AD products, from a technical standpoint.
     
  18. Tiles

    Tiles

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    Besides modeling, texturing, rigging, animation and rendering of course :)
     
  19. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Then go ahead and work with Max/Maya, if you think it is better than Blender.
     
  20. Tiles

    Tiles

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    Why should i? I`m a happy Blender user. I do everything but modeling in Blender :)

    It`s amazing what the open source community has finished with Blender. This is something to respect, and i love it. I´m still a regular bug reporter, so i add my little value to it too.

    But Blender cannot really compete with Max. And i find it simply childish to even compare those two like they would be competitors. They are not. The one is the leading industry standard. The other is the leading hobby app. And between hobby and industry is a big gap. Blender is not bad. I get my things done. That`s the good news. But i get it much slower and more complicated done. With a lower quality. Texture baking with Vray is something different than with the stoneold Blender internal Renderer. Blender may be good enough for hobbyists like you and me. But not for professionals.

    Modeling? Still years behind. Even with Bmesh. Complicated and slow workflow.
    UV mapping was once an area where Blender had the nose in the air for a short moment. That`s already past again.
    Texturing? The Material Editor is a pain in the ass. And gots even worse with Cycles.
    UI? Still a bit too cluttered, still lacks of important menu entries. Separate anybody?
    Manual? Another pain in the ass. Like the already mentioned tutorials. It`s a lottery to find a really completed manual page or a working tutorial for your current point version.
    Rigging/Animation? The bones system needs an overhaul since years.
    Rendering? The unfinished Cycles can still not compete with Vray or other industry renderers. And you cannot plug in the industry renderers neither. Vray plugin gots abandoned.
    Industry File Formats? I still wait for FBX import. There was an attempt across assimp which gots abandoned from what i know.
    Sculpting? Even Sculptris does a better job. And that one`s abandoned since years. Its developer works for the Zbrush folks now.
    There is also a Video Editor onboard. Another very special chapter to go crazy at. Good meant is not good made ...

    So many roadworks. And the developers of the commercial apps doesn`t sleep neither. Means the gap will most probably never be closed.

    Add to that all the industry standard plugins like Forest Pack or special particle systems. Or all the pipelines to the other industry packages like Nuke. And so on. Add to that that there are mainly hobbyists that uses Blender. No bad thing. But professional tips comes mainly from professionals. They earn their money with it.

    I may be a happy Blender user, but i am not a blind Blender user ;)

    The reason why i don`t use Max is that i simply cannot afford it. And that`s the only valid reason to point towards Blender here. Money. This, and that it`s a complete app that covers all necessary steps. At least you get your job done.
     
  21. nipoco

    nipoco

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    It's funny that you say that because Autodesk itself had a skit against Blender on their Siggraph Booth a year ago. So they obviously seeing Blender as competitor in one way or another.
    But you're right. They hardly compete because they serve different markets. Autodesk is established in high profile game- and movie studios, while Blender operates in the indie market and smaller studios. But that doesn't make Blender a hobbyist tool only, as you claim.
    If you doing this for a hobby, sure... Why should you pay thousands of dollars then? Wouldn't make much sense. But there are people who make a descent living off of working with Blender. On the contrary I know a handful people who are taught in AD suites and unemployed, got in dept after they were done with school to afford that software.
    It is really not just black and white. There are a lot grey shades in-between.

    From a technical standpoint, Blender has it's flaws, as well as Max and Maya does. Let me adress some of your claims.

    This is because of a licensing issue on behalf of Autodesk. Not a technical one. But there IS a add-on for Blender that allows FBX import. It is just not official in trunk.

    This is more of a personal opinion/preference. There are people that work faster with Blender than with other 3d software. Sometimes there are more steps required to get something done in Blender than in Max and vice versa.

    Give me one example where modeling is years(?) behind in Blender? Max and Modo certainly have better modeling tools and Max comes with better modifiers all in all, yes. But modeling in Blender is really not that bad anymore.

    I disagree. UV's are still Blender's forte. Especially with the brand new UV tools.

    Again This is more of a personal opinion. But feel free to elaborate why this is such a pain for you.

    This is a personal opinion too. Did you ever worked with Max? Or Zbrush? You'd be surprised how cluttered their interfaces are.

    Indeed, this is one of Blender's weakest points. It can suck up some time until you find what you were looking for.

    Cycles is still in alpha state AFAIK. So you can't really compare it to a fully matured, long proven renderer like V-Ray. And it won't never the same as V-ray because it's not a fully biased renderer. V-Ray is also a separate product. And this thread here is about Max and Blender. It also doesn't have much to do with games modeling. The same goes for Nuke, FumeFX, Naiad or any other 3rd party plug-ins. Besides that, your are false imformed. The V-ray support for Blender is not abandoned. It's very much alive and even on V-rays official site.

    I'm not sure if you actively monitor sites like Blenderartists or Blendernation. But Sculpting has been getting a major overhaul. And dynatopo is around the corner. Sure, Blender's sculpting is still not as good as Z-Brush's. And the performance is not comparable yet. But Z-Brush's interface sucks balls. And Mudbox sculpting doesn't even have dynamic realtime tessellation. Not to mention the thin sculpting abilities in Max or Maya.
    And that Tomas Pettersson joined Pixologic, is not a bad thing. Everyone has to bring some food to the table ;) At least you can always get Sculptris for free.

    Yes, Blender has a lot stuff on board that is not necessarily top notch compared to it's specialized competitors, who serve only a part of 3d creation such as Z-Brush.
    But if you make money with video editing, you have Final Cut, After Effects etc. anyways, no matter if you work with Blender or a commercial 3d software. And again, that has not much to do with games modeling, or Max and Blender specifically.

    In the 3d world you have always to find some work-arounds and solutions to pass issues. Studios like Blur, Ubisoft etc. working with heavily altered versions of Autodesk software, with plug-ins not off the shelf. And artists in the game industry using software like Crazybump, Topogun, 3dCoat certainly not because these tasks are great handled by Max or Maya... Having Max doesn't mean all is fine and dandy. Even then, you will encounter some frustration from time to time.

    Like I previously said. If you are looking for a employment in the game or movie industry, your best bet is so called 'industry standard' software. But for indie development and a small studio, Blender does the job fine enough.
    Why should you pay over $4000 dollars for software, to create a real time character for Unity, when Blender can do this as well? Eventually, it is the artist, not the tool.

    Personally, I using a mix of both commercial and free software. And I like to work with Blender when I have the chance :)

    A lot of this stuff comes down to personal preferences rather than technical limitations.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  22. Tiles

    Tiles

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    It`s not bad. But it`s not Mari or Unfold 3D when you know what i mean.

    Well. What is so personal about a UI that is cluttered across two tabs where with a quarter of space the same things could be much better displayed?
    What is so personal about missing things like drag n drop of materials? What personal about a missing material library? Or about a materialpicker? Or the fact that i have to fix the texture paths every now and then after moving the blend files?The current material system IS a pain. That`s nothing personal. That`s a fact. Even old users hates it.

    The new nodes system for Cycles isn`t this much better yet. Now you even have to program your materials with a node system. But here we have at least the hope that it may change and get the needed overhaul in the future. Unfinished ...

    Nope, not surprised. And yes i have. Tried the demoes. Toyed around in them until the demo licenses were off. And saw nothing that would disturb me. I would be a very happy Max user, and wouldn`t have a big problem with Zbrush. I just lack of the money.

    But i still say that the current Blender UI is a bit too cluttered. Its of course much better than the 2.49 one. But everything is better than the old UI.

    Sure i do. As told, i am a Blender user and lover. Not a Blender hater. But i am not limited to Blender only. I have an open eye for everything 3D related.

    And i know the place of Blender in the world. And that`s not the leading industry standard position, sorry. That`s also not the position of the main app in the small companies. That`s a nice dream, but simply not reality. It still gets rarely used in the industry. It mainly gets used by hobbyists.The Blender Network didnt change this much here.

    Correct. And then we are at an even weaker solution, a renderer that is outdated since several years. Even the alpha version of Cycles beats the devil out of BI. Is that any better? I´ve already spoken for Blender when i mentioned Cycles instead of BI.

    Select a face loop. This one needs a secret workflow across switching modes. Switching modes is a chapter at its own. No standard hotkeys. But that one`s at least fixable when you find the right tutorial that fits to your blender version. Good luck! That one`s nothing easy!

    What about a second example? Edgeloops and Ngons still doesn`t play well together. And this counts for lots of tools. Lots of the tools are still not Bmesh ready. When i would be mean then i would count all those tools now one by one, and we would be at i don`t know how much. Dozens and dozens. Let`s count it as one issue.

    A third example? What about libraries for stuff like curves and lights? I just hate to create everything from scratch all the time.

    Fourth? Boolean. Misses cut edge boolean for example, and the available algorithms are outdated and gives miserable results too.

    Hotkeys. Blender is so proud at having a hotkey UI as the main UI. And then there are several standard things where are no standard hotkeys available. Like for switching between the widget types. I cannot remember other modeling ones at the moment. But for Unwrap it`s Mark Seam and Clear Seam for example.

    And so on.

    You wanted one example. So i stop here.

    This is not the usual problems that all apps have here and there. That`s a bigger problem. Polygon modeling is the really weak area of Blender, compared with state of the art. The list is really endless. That`s why i talk about years. Closing the eyes doesn`t shorten it, unfortunately. And unfortunately the Blender devs have other priorities than to fix this issues first. Well yeah, they just have three full time developers when i remember correct. The rest are volunteers.

    No. I talked about technical limitations, not personal preferences. Missing features and outdated tools have nothing to do with personal preferences. The mentioned points are all technical, each of it. The only personal thing here is that you take it personal when somebody points out the weak sides of Blender.

    Same here. But i use the better tool then. And not Blender in all possible cases just for the sake of using Blender.
     
  23. nipoco

    nipoco

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    I could adress each of your point Tiles. But I don't think that is necessary. You have your stance and that is fine :)
     
  24. Nuugames

    Nuugames

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    For game modelling, the output is going to be the same i.e. you will end up needing a low-ish poly mesh, color map, normal map etc. The key difference is how easy is the tools to help you get there. I would really suggest you think about what models you want at the end of the day.

    Modelling - Blender is fast due to its hotkey usage. Max is not far behind. Max has all these cool tools but do you really need them? People talked about n-gons, bmesh etc at the end of the day you still just need quads and tris. Even spline modelling gets converted to quads and tris.

    UV - Max has a great set of tools. Blender is adequate (but I hate way all the bits and pieces are all over the place). Max as probably the best uv tools in a standard package (not comparing specialized uv unwrap tools like headus, unwrella etc).

    Materials - Blender has a cool material creation system (simple and/or node based). The crappy about blender is that you really need to know what you are doing to be able to create the right materials. E.g. to make glass, you need to click here there everywhere to get it done and if you don't know what to do, God help you. You will waste hours here. Max has a lot of presets that can get you up real fast. Again determine if you need this. You could just use painted textures in which case, it doesn't matter coz you won't use all the power in either package. If you are going for amazing renders, I would say Max wins here.

    Texturing - Color Map - both are meh. Use photoshop or mudbox.

    Texturing - Normal Map - both can bake and do a decent job. Use NDO2 ....

    Animation - 3DS Max has a cool ass CAT system that can generate a simple walk cycle. If that's all you need, Max wins. Its not that hard to create walk cycle manually anyway.

    Again both uses very different style of UI/hotkeys etc. Blender uses right click to select. 3DS Max uses left click to select. Its probably best to choose one and get real good with it. An experienced blender modeller can beat a noobish max user hands down. An experienced Max modeller can beat a noobish blender user hands down as well. If you can afford it, I would model in blender and do the rest in max.

    Zbrush - can create amazing "HIGH POLY" sculpts. Determine if you need this. By the time you squish it down to game size on screen, 50-80% of the details are lost. Zbrush sculpting itself is another skill like digital painting. If you have to time do so, its a great package.

    Learning Blender or Max is hard enough. People might say you can learn blender or Max in a week. Sure but can you really make a full set of environment, working game models and make them nice and get it all done in a decent amount of time?

    I would say, if you can afford it, get Max (and don't touch blender).
    If you can't afford it, use Blender. It is a viable and solid competitor when it comes to basic game modelling.
    Stay away from the shiny Zbrush until you got at least ONE GAME released using the other two tools.
     
  25. ivanzu

    ivanzu

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    Blender has far better UV editor then 3dsmax and even professionals game artists agree.Something that takes 10min to uvmap in 3dsmax will most likely take 5min in blender.
     
  26. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Money is not always a main point why people use Blender over Max. Some people simply enjoy Blender, even if they could afford Max and know how to work with it like me. Autodesk products are overpriced have S***ty licenses and since they changed their pricing structure this year, even a lot pro's got pissed and jumped to other apps.

    Technically, Blender is definitely on par with Max in terms of modeling, UV mapping, rigging, animating nowadays. In some cases it is even better. In other ones it is a bit weaker. The real difference lies in the way how both apps handle stuff. And the extraordinary price tag...
    What I like in Max are it's modifiers. These are better than Blender's IMO.

    Eventually, a polygon is a polygon. And if you're a creative artist with mad skills, it does not matter if you use Max or Blender. The output will be se same.
     
  27. xrg

    xrg

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    Mark Seam and Clear Seam should be in the edges menu (Ctrl+E), alternatively they're on the side panel under the UV Mapping heading. If you use it once, you can also select other edges and hit Shift+R to repeat last history to avoid going into the menu again. There is also live unwrapping demonstrated here which you can make it even auto tag seams. Or maybe I totally misunderstood what you're saying, and if that is the case ignore me. :p


    Anyway, to the OP, I'd say, if you have the money, and like 3ds max, you should go for it. It's a good package. Since Blender is free and you can use it anyway, the only real factor is if you think Max is worth spending money on or not.

    Straight comparisons between Blender and other applications always evolve into people contrasting Blender against $10,000 worth of software and things. If you're just making a little indie game, Blender is more than capable of handling that if it's the route you want to go.
     
  28. Omninorm

    Omninorm

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    You could also have a look at Lightwave3D - I feel it provides a good balance between features, usability and price.
     
  29. electricsauce

    electricsauce

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    Do you have a link to that fbx importer?

    Also, what are everyone's opinions on c4d? It has a $1000 option and handles fbx import/export.
     
  30. nipoco

    nipoco

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    It's still in the works but you can find some builds here
    There is also a guy from Japan working on it's own FBX exporter here.

    Regarding Cinema 4D.
    It got better since the last update. But I still not the best tool for game models. Try Modo. It's also cheaper than C4D.
     
  31. electricsauce

    electricsauce

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    I didn't really like Modo. I guess I'll stick with Blender for now. The only real advantages I can see to max is that it's easier to sell models outside of Unity and it works well with UDK.

    One thing I have noticed with Blender is that if I rig something and have the bones laid out nicely and then import into a different application (max, c4d, etc.) the bones are laid out wrong. The animations still work and the bone orders are still correct, but the bones are twisted and at odd angles.

    Edit - FBX importer is down due to licensing issues
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  32. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Try the first link, which points to the Blenderartist thread. There is a build somewhere in it. As far as I know, that guy still works on it.
     
  33. christides11

    christides11

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Posts:
    672
    I tried 3DS max for modeling, and I would say blender is the easier one. ALso the UV tool in Blender is way
    more easier to understand than the one in 3DS. OTher than that they're basically the same.
     
  34. nipoco

    nipoco

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Posts:
    2,008
    UV tools in Blender are the best you can get. I know a few people in the game industry, using Blender for this task. ANd one of the recent movies where they used Blender's UV tools is Ted. They used it to unwrap the bear.
     
  35. Sir-Tiddlesworth

    Sir-Tiddlesworth

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Posts:
    908
    There is also a thread about it on the Blender Artists forum.
    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?262158-Blender-and-TED
     
  36. adaptive

    adaptive

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Posts:
    6
    I want to do this: Mix-and-match body-parts / animations into 1 character.

    I'm a nood so I might look to mix-and-match pieces from asset-store or other sources for models/animation, perhaps after learning a bit to make 1/2-way decent looking modeling+animation for mixing-matching myself, at first.

    Money isn't a big factor.

    Main Question:
    ===========
    It seems 3DS Max is a better tool than Blender, price aside. I'll probably use that then. How, then, do I do what I want in that software? Of course I'll need to do some RTFM and read/watch countless tutorials, but some pointers in the right directions could help.

    Previously, I was interested in comparing software.

    Minor Questions:
    ============

    I'll include these less important questions that might still be interesting to read answers to:

    For the mixing-matching, specifically:

    On a scale from 1 to 10, how well would blender compares for both modeling+animation for a beginner compare to the same beginner having access to 3dsmax+maya?

    How well do maya and 3dsmax compare in terms of the other for doing what its not good at doing?

    Ie., if maya is a 9 at animation, what is 3dsmax? 6? 0? And vice-versa about modeling.

    Please provide such answers for beginner users in these tools.

    ==

    Thanks very much from, I'm sure, many interested readers!
     
  37. alewinn

    alewinn

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Posts:
    185
    @AllWhoWantsToRead :

    For Artists who really want to learn 3D, just take the Tool which is the worse for you.
    No offense, it's not ironic.

    I learned with Lightwave, it took me 2 years (truly !) to be able to build in less than one week (5 days / 7H per day - Working hours, I mean) a clean rigged mesh ready for animation. During 2 years I splited on Lightwave <Irony>because it's really S*** </Irony> No offense, Lightwave have pure diamonds on it, but first I was a noob and second... I just don't like it, this don't mean the soft is not good for industry or even for someone else.

    During these noobing days I learned the basics with a soft I didn't like, so what ? Well.... So I was able to choose the one I prefer based on my previous experience... And I choosed Blender, just because it fits me (and I'm not rich).

    To resume, I will just recommend to learn 3D with a tool, dislike it or not, and then choose the tool which fit your needs best.
    C'mon man ! roll a dice and head in !

    @Adaptive :
    Whichever tool you choose, you better begin with polygonal modeling. I'll specially recommend you to build your meshes with Quads, avoiding Triangles.
    Learning polygonal modeling the good way is long, hard, and sometimes very frustrating. Remember, Never use triangles, even if in the end, within 3D world everything ends in triangles.... Why ? Aoooommmmm....

    Then you should learn UV mapping, can be learned fast, as long as you're good at modeling ;)

    Then try to rig your mesh, apply an Armature, learn bones and bones hierarchy, learn weight paint.
    Then take the Richard Williams book on animations and begin to create action loops, it's fun but at this state you should contact an animator who will take care of this for you (or take time to learn 2D animation technics). You should do this even if you want to have mocap,

    Then learn a technic to bake your hyghpoly modelisation inside your lowpoly modelisation.

    Watch the result
    Redo it from start... and so on.
     
  38. LaneFox

    LaneFox

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Posts:
    6,436
    What you'll learn in Blender will carry over to Max if you decide you need more features but frankly, you wont use them.

    ZBrush is an excellent tool but absolutely nothing inside of it is standard, controls are different, features are different, jargon is different, entire workflow is different... everything is abnormal and confusing, even opening files and making separate parts is completely different than what you're used to. Don't touch it until you're damn well and ready. It feels like they built a program from the ground up and on the way just decided how it would be best to do things, throwing the normal way of doing it out the window... Eventually you'll sync up with it but it is not noob friendly.
     
  39. Krileon

    Krileon

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Posts:
    642
    Biggest issue is FBX import into Blender. It's non-existent and what is available is community made and half-working if you're lucky. You'll find most, if not all, assets on the store are FBX as well as many throughout the web so modifying purchased FBX models is a nightmare with Blender. Hate proprietary formats..
     
  40. goat

    goat

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Posts:
    5,177
    Do what hippo said: the number and quality of Blender tutorials is far better than the others.

    Also, when you model your character models should have 10000 or less tri (5000 quads) and you can rig for free on Mixamo.

    Sculptris, ZBrush are too high tris to use in Unity.

    Whether or not you use an FBX importer in Blender you'll want to keep your original Blend files so that all this roundtripping doesn't break your original model. And don't save your models with subsurf for use in Unity.

    First use the Intro to Blender 2.6 tutorials on CG Blender Cookie from Jon Williamson.

    Then look at David Ward's tutorials on YouTube, particularly the JB3 set of tutorials. These are very nicely done and David is personable and speaks clearly but if you are like me you will need to pause, rewind, pause, rewind, because this kind of stuff isn't easy and it's tedious. You'll find yourself undoing and redoing, moving vertices around, and sitting for hours trying to get the right look.


    Example of my first model using Blender and the JB3 tutorials, which while not perfect is good enough for a mobile toon game model with a couple of fixes:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4760008512828&set=vb.1073735546&type=3


    So looking at the time it took me to do that model (not 8 hours a day but 2 productive hours I'd guess) I think most people can model if interested. You'll only get faster as you do more models.

    There are so many Blender features (even a game engine) but restrict yourself to what's in David's tutorials for Unity game modeling. I actually skipped the shapekeys for this model and the rigging but if you want to develop models for use in Unity's Avatar Generator you will want to learn both the shapekeys and rigging in the JB3 tutorials I'm thinking.

    And you'll want to keep an eye out for the Mechanim Avatar Generator coming to Unity 4.2. I'm hoping the avatars are flexible enough that I can get a toon look. If not I'll be back in Blender trying to create a set of models that can work with the Avatar Generator.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  41. gryff

    gryff

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Posts:
    360
    Very nice goat! But it did make me think of another cartoon character - "Dennis the Menace". Been a long time since I've read comics ;-)

    You and I have followed a very similar learning path - first avatar I modeled and animated followed that path.

    cheers, gryff :)
     
  42. goat

    goat

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Posts:
    5,177
    Yah, for you coders that think modeling isn't fun...sit through those tutorials do them. It is kind of fun.
     
  43. gryff

    gryff

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Posts:
    360
    Err ...um ... me a "coder" ... that ain't me ;-)

    Over the years I've used AC3D (where I started), 3dMax, Lightwave, Truespace, Hexagon .... then finally Blender. And now ... I would not go back to anything else .

    Whitechapel - Done with AC3D and VrmlPad - on the web long before Unity3d existed ;-)

    Probably a few people posting on this forum who were not long out of diapers when I created that ;-)

    cheers, gryff :)
     
  44. alewinn

    alewinn

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Posts:
    185
  45. Tiles

    Tiles

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Posts:
    2,473
  46. Maxtor

    Maxtor

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
    Posts:
    27
    All VRay is, is a render engine capable of the same outputs as Mental Ray. I find it is sometimes superior to Mental Ray. However it has no influence on whether or not you can produce quality content. While it's easier to set up a scene for rendering in Max, or Maya using Mental Ray or VRay, all it's used for is just that. Rendering.

    Besides, I'm pretty sure it's possible to set up global illumination in Blender to get photo-realism in renders. There are quality models, and animations made with Blender. The people behind that content is what made it happen, not Blender itself. Don't ask me to make something in Blender though, I've never used it, and don't even know how to navigate it's UI.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  47. pixellegolas

    pixellegolas

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Posts:
    223
    Vray is an extension and can be used with blender to so the tool itself does not make max or blender better:

    http://vray.cgdo.ru/

    I want to start using blender more just because it is free and alot of people want to make it better and better every day. It is the most strange UI ever but once that threshold is passed it is actually a good tool. People keep adding stuff that makes life easier too :)
     
  48. Tiles

    Tiles

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Posts:
    2,473
    Yes it has influence. The tool does matter. Especially in the industry where we talk about money. The industry uses the big boys for good reasons. They are no morons. They are in fact very clever. They use what does the job best. They have to compete.

    VRay is by classes faster than Cycles. Time is money. VRay is easier and faster to setup. VRay can more things than Cycles. Can Cycles finally render hair? And it ouptuts other quality. Cycles has still to catch up here. And this is just one possible renderer, one tool of many.

    Same goes for polygon modeling, sculpting, video editing and what else is available in Blender. There`s always a industry tool around that does the job much better. In less time. Or at all. Search for a substitute for the Max Forester Plugin for example ...

    This doesn`t make Blender bad. It`s definitely a must have for hobbyists. I use it too. You get your job done. At a lower quality level, and with much more effort. But that`s okay. And the price is unbeatable. But it is by no means a substitute for the big boys, sorry :)
     
  49. Redbeer

    Redbeer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Posts:
    402
    http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/7/40...t-derose-explains-how-math-makes-movies-games

    Read the last couple of paragraphs. Of course...this guy only works for Pixar, what would he know?
    Sorry for using the argument from authority fallacy, but I figured while we were tossing out arbitrary, partially informed, and mostly BS opinions, I may as well add mine to the mix.

    If you make a crappy model with crap textures and jerky animation in Blender, odds are good you'll make an equally crappy one in Max or any other package, no matter how many "features" it supposedly has or how much it costs.

    Lastly, as far as game models are concerned, outside of some convenience/productivity features found in the larger packages, there is really no measurable difference between between those packages and Blender. The majority percentage of what people do to make models revolves around a very small set of tools, all of which Blender has, and this is true for animation, texturing, etc.

    When I started modeling about 18 years ago, packages varied significantly in features that made HUGE differences in how productive you could be. This was because computerized graphics, in general, were still in baby land. This included not just features, but interface methods that were grossly faster than others (like having to type in commands for every feature vs. clicking a single button). Over the last 8 years, those differences have gotten smaller and smaller, to the point of being nonexistent, and now the only thing the big packages tend to offer are the "big productivity feature" that typically only has application to work in film/movies or work done by very large teams, looks great in marketing material, but often has limited use cases. Despite this fact, people still continue to debate that they need to spend 3K to 5K and 1K per year to buy some piece of software to make simple 3D models with likely compressed DXT5 textures that could be made with exactly the same quality in a modicum of free or significantly less expensive programs, in slightly more, equal, or even less time, depending on the process needed. This happens simply because those asking these questions aren't skilled enough to understand how unskilled they are, and that it's not the software that makes it look good, but your talent at "doing art".
     
  50. Maxtor

    Maxtor

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
    Posts:
    27
    @Tiles,

    While I certainly won't disagree that it's not a substitute for large multimedia companies, I must point out I wasn't suggesting such a thing. In regards to other outlets of creativity, there are tools designed specifically for production pipelines that allow you to create an end result of similar or greater quality. And, that is made easier for you based on the applicable features that are made available. This certainly does not make one capable of producing a quality product however. That is the point. You will not automatically start producing higher quality results simply because an application offers some easier variable to achieve that result.

    I'm assuming by cycles you're referring to Blenders built-in render engine? I'm not familiar with Blenders render engine. However, a quick search on Google lends some interesting results. They are: Here, and Here.

    I should clarify that quality is not only restricted to the quality of a rendered object or scene. Quality achieved via a render engine requires proper lighting setup, and is controlled by variables including, anti-aliasing, and may include anisotropic filtering for real-time. Both real time, and per-rendered scenes require knowledge in it's use, and someone who cannot produce similar or greater results than someone using a lighter program they lose any probable advantage of said application.

    I'm guessing you meant the Forest Pack plug in by Itoo software? I'll be honest that's a tough one to come by. You have only a few specialized programs designed for proper pipeline integration of full scale flora scenery. I'm not familiar with this plug-in being shipped with Max in either it's 2013, or 2014 releases. This seems like the only applicable point you can make in regards to your argument. Not even Maya ships with something like this with exception to the Paint Effects library.

    Now, I must clarify my original suggestion. That is that programs you use do not make the content you create any better than what you are only able to achieve with your own ability. Just because someone uses industry standard software packages does not make their content better. It does not mean they will have an easier time using these tools or making said content either. Your experience in modeling, texturing, and animation is universal across any basic understanding of those three things. The concept remains the same, even if the tools, and options are different. Whatever end result you achieved was done by the experience you have in that program, and not the program itself.