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What modeling/animation suites work well in this engine?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gatti, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. gatti

    gatti

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    I'm thinking about purchasing my first commercial-level modeling/animation suite and have narrowed it down to 2 apps: Cinema4D and Maya.

    What has been your experience in using these apps directly in Unity? In addition, which of these two apps is more generally accepted in the game industry?
     
  2. DaveyJJ

    DaveyJJ

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    Unity was designed to use Maya the best. It is also, according to the creative director animation guy here, the more commercial and (usually) recognized of the two packages. He'd work in Maya in a second.

    That being said, my own experience is that Cinema 4D's interface and learning curve aren't (quite) as steep as Maya. Maya's interface always confused me personally, but if you spend enough time in it it'll be fine.

    But for Unity, and if you can afford it, Maya's the route to go. My $0.02 (which is all I have to spend of software these days after a $1100 car repair bill).

    PS Woot! 100 posts.
     
  3. guategeek_legacy

    guategeek_legacy

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    I have both and I'm having a lot harder time learning maya, so I'm planning to be using C4D more with unity at first. Though I plan to learn both thoroughly, up to you, good luck with whatever you get. Jeff
     
  4. bigbrainz_legacy

    bigbrainz_legacy

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    I think that it's more important to look at Maya's productivity curve than its learning curve. When my team switched from Max to Maya it took us a month to get as fast on Maya as we were in Max, but within two months we were TWICE as fast as we'd ever been in Max.

    So even if Maya takes a bit longer to learn, my experience is that once you learn it, it's well worth the investment.

    However, my personal opinion is also that Maya is very intuitive to learn, but I'd been doing hard-core animation for many years before we switched.

    Oh, and I also think that its integration with Unity is critical. In fact, that's one of the main reasons we're switching.
     
  5. dingosmoov

    dingosmoov

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    The biggest barrier, IMHO to using Maya is it's bloated pricetag.

    Of course many use bootleg versions, but that's a no-go for a legit venture.
     
  6. bigbrainz_legacy

    bigbrainz_legacy

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    I'm probably biased by my background, but I'm actually offended that Maya is so cheap. We were paying over $18,000 when we bought our copies, and our friends weer paying up to $50K for all the modules back on SGI's. Now you can pick up a complete version of a simply unelievable product for under $2K. Furthermore, you can use the PLE version for free to learn most things.

    For a student just messing around, products that are free or less than $100 are critical. However, one you start investing serious amounts of time in a genuine project, quality and effectiveness become far more important than saving a few bucks at the outset. And I think in that respect, Maya is a steal. So is Unity.

    That's why most of the major game studios use Maya. Max and Softimate are also good, but you won't find a studio wasting their time with anything else.

    And even if you're a student, it would be extremely worthwhile to learn a commercial product that will get you a great job than something that was just plain cheap.

    Now if you're just a hobbyist, probably none of this applies, and you just use whatever you feel like.
     
  7. DaveyJJ

    DaveyJJ

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    Exactly what I said but better put. It was like the switch to InDesign for us print designers who'd grown up and (and taught) QuarkXpress since it was version 1. All (most) of the major animation houses use Maya when given the chance.
     
  8. dingosmoov

    dingosmoov

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    With all due respect, that's all marketing. I used to work for Intergraph, and we used to sell our StudioZ workstations bundled with Softimage it was about $100k a seat. Before I worked at Intergraph I used PowerAnimator at the time with the SGI workstation it was about $150k a seat.

    It's all bloated and too expensive. That's why Maya, Softimage, and all those guys have their "cheap" editions now. Heck even Lightwave was offering it's package at $495 for a competitive upgrade(discounted from $1995, which was $2995 the previous year)

    I'm not saying Maya is not a capable tool. But it is way to expensive, their own marketing dept knows it thus the cheap versions.

    Edit- I apologize if that came off really harsh, but it's a wonderful thing to find something like Unity which allows a small independent company to get in the game with a game engine at a couple hundred bucks. Those same small businesses can may not be able to sustain paying a $2000 a seat for Maya complete or $7000 a seat for Maya unlimited.

    If the target for Unity is small independent companies or start ups. One of the biggest barriers for Unity adoption will be that Maya has to be used. Especially for companies that do not want to use pirated versions of Maya.
     
  9. bigbrainz_legacy

    bigbrainz_legacy

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    $150K for an SGI workstation. Man, those were the days. Don't forget the $500,000 Onyx workstations. Ah, the joys of being bleeding-edge.

    I'm afraid I've gone far afield from the original question regarding Cinema4D vs. Maya--and which one is more standard in the gaming industry. I suppose we can argue about whether Maya is too cheap or too expensive, but I think we can probably agree without hesitation that if you ever want to get a job making games, you'll have a far better chance with Maya on your resume than Cinema 4D. Cinema 4D just isn't an industry standard and Maya definitely is.

    I think you can make fantastic stuff these days with an awful lot of programs, so if this is just for fun, then use whatever you want. But if you're starting a career, get a professional package like Maya. Maybe Max, Softimage, or Lightwave. You'll invest an awful lot of time learning a package--make sure it's a good one.

    Personally, I'd really like to know whether Unity can read files from Maya PLE. If it can, then you can use Maya absolutely free for all your non-commmercial stuff. It doesn't get any better than that.
     
  10. dingosmoov

    dingosmoov

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    Yep, I'm gonna have to agree with you there. But I think it's sad that schools are churning out so many students that are gonna be cogs in an archaic machine. Only to be laid off when the big dogs have their pockets filled. In my opinion Unity and inexpensive animation tools could be the future that allows people to 'build their own' self sustaining machines. An equalizing of sorts.

    I would recon the innovation comes from the small groups using cheap animation tools, and something like Unity.

    Even though I haven't been in the forums that long, I can honestly say that when I see "Maya and Unity" to me is an oxymoron.
     
  11. NicholasFrancis

    NicholasFrancis

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    Just need to barge in here: Unity does not require Maya by a long shot. We import fbx or 3ds so any app that can export to either of these formats can be read. We also read Blender files.

    At the moment we are working with more app vendors to get better import. Just because we're way ahead of the curve doesn't mean we don't want to be perfect ;-) If you want to help us doing that, send the vendors a mail telling them that you _really_, _really_ care about this.

    We're working with the Cheeta3D author to get perfect model import from that app as well. Then we're constantly bugging other vendors to give us the few features needed so we can do the whole thing transparently.
     
  12. pdrummond

    pdrummond

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    Jun 23, 2005
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    I'd recommend Cinema 4D. It has a good feature set, can be extended using plug-ins, is very stable and the developers are committed to the Mac.

    After some fiddling at first, I've found that Cinema 4D works well with Unity. You can export to FBX and, as long as your texture names in Cinema 4D match the texture filenames, everything is okay. E.g. a polygon selection using a texture called 'stone1' which corresponds to 'stone1.tif' in the colour channel.
     
  13. vineeee

    vineeee

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    Jul 10, 2005
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    I can also recommend Cinema 4D for the above reasons. Its not recognised in the games industry (though the Airburst guys use it) but its more than capable of generating assets for Unity, and I reckon its much easier to learn than Maya. If you were to get it make sure you get the Bodypaint module as this take much of the pain out of unwrapping UVs and texturing, the standalone Bodypaint works with Maya too.

    The Maxon shop sidegrades from other 3D packages so you could pick up something cheap like Bryce and save money (about £700 discount on the studio bundle).
     
  14. guategeek_legacy

    guategeek_legacy

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    I'm new to C4D but finding it easyer than maya and was able to get stuff into unity looking right pretty quickly. Best part is that so many Unity users use it you can get specific help right in this forum in no time. I was wondering if anyone was interested in writing some unity C4D tutorials as I know I would love to learn more, and a more specific set of tutorials would speed that up a lot. Jeff
     
  15. pdrummond

    pdrummond

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    I'm hoping to post what I've been working on and provide some in depth tutorials on getting content from Cinema 4D to Unity. The problem is I don't have much time to play with Unity and the documentation is so incomplete.

    I'll try to get something online in the next few days.
     
  16. robertseadog

    robertseadog

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    I havent really read the other posts, but some time ago I tested most of the 3d packages out there, and I stood bethween Lightwave and C4D, I allways though C4D had a strange interface, and then by chance I discovered Maya, and I never looked back!

    So good interface, so intuitive, some of the best modeling tools available, If you can afford it there is no other package that even comes near it!

    Buying C4D to me is a bit of a mystery, I would rather buy their bodypainter which is pretty good!
     
  17. normdwyer

    normdwyer

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    We use a hybrid approach at our studio for 3d asset creation. We only have one licensed seat of Maya. Our other 3d modelers use almost any other program that will export .obj format to create models. Blender is my prefered 3D modeling, texturing and animation software. Wings 3D is another great tool. Both are fantastic for making low poly game models. And both are open source. We've even used Insane Software's CharacterFX for character animation. In fact we used this tool combo on a SpongeBob 3d game for Nick.com, skipping Maya altogether. Too bad neither CharacterFX or Blender supports FBX export.

    But truly from the little I've toyed around with Unity, i have to say I love how it just imports Maya models. I do hope in future releases that Blender supports FBX so that we could skip Maya altogether. But for now, being able to bring in .obj files into Maya, texture and animate them, and then bring them into Unity is a great solution for me.
     
  18. David-Helgason

    David-Helgason

    Moderator

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    Are you aware that we import Blender files? It's not perfectly supported, but works for models.


    Try it out. If you hit problems, report a bug and just watch us fix'em. EDIT: read below
     
  19. NicholasFrancis

    NicholasFrancis

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    As the maker of the blender import, I must give a small warning here:

    As Blender does not support FBX, the import is a bit spotty. Specifically, it does not import:

    * Animations
    * Skinning
    * Scaled objects (you can scale the verts just fine)

    However, we do read native .blend, so it's great for background geometry, but not really suitable for characters.

    If you want to see all this improve, the only way to really do it is to keep pestering the blender people for FBX export. Once they do that, I can make it work out-of-the-box with .blend files, but we need the FBX export to fix any of the above issues.
     
  20. pete

    pete

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    there's an ok 3ds exporter script for blender. anyone have input on getting those into unity? animated i mean. if not, i'll try to get around to playing with it and let y'all know...
     
  21. NicholasFrancis

    NicholasFrancis

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    I have unsuccessfully attempted to contact the author of the 3ds exporter, asking if we could ship a modified version with Unity to get a bit more through the pipeline. Keyword being 'unsuccessfully' :cry:

    You can use it to export to 3ds and import that, but without permission from the guy who made it, I don't think it would be fair to ship his work with Unity.

    Also, the 3ds format still doesn't do skinning, so hit those Blender boards and pester them about fbx.
     
  22. pete

    pete

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    from [abbreviated] freebeer.com (or whatever it is - you know what i mean or you don't)? i'll most certainly bug him but i think he's basically a solo act in his spare time for free. wouldn't expect a fast response.

    i don't think he restricts any usage of exported 3ds files from blender though. thought it was free to use (gpl'd). do you know different? you wouldn't need to ship it with unity. blender users would need to go get it so they could export 3ds files from blender - but what blenderhead doesn't have it already?

    in any case... fbx sounds like the way to go... *spaming the boards* (well not really but...)

    [EDIT: yeah bane.servebeer.com for the 3ds exporter and looking at blender.org etc... fbx in blender doesn't look good. too many gpl probs with alias and blender. so don't hold your breath!]

    [edit 2... oops i see you said ship a "modfied" exporter with unity... sorry!]
     
  23. I'm just adding noise here, since i don't understand all the technical issues involved, but in Blender's Development Update posted on July 27 they talk about Verse integration, that will 'somehow' allow sharing data with Maya. This is all confusing to me, not the least because their post is a bit vague. On the otherhand the proposal on the Blender site for integrating Verse is far too esoteric and technical for me to understand.
    Norm

    http://www.blender.org/cms/Newsitem.607+M538b9526d7d.0.html

    "Verse Integration
    Verse is a 3d network protocol allowing any graphics application to work together, as if it's a single program. Jiri Hnidek integrates this in Blender now, already showing a Blender connected to Maya, exchanging data!"