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  1. #1
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    3D modelling/rendering programs

    I work in an architectural firm, mostly doing technical drafting and 3D modelling/rendering. It’s the first time I’ve had access to a more robust lighting engine and I’ve been having a lot of fun building scenes with lots of bounce lighting and reflections. It’s made me want to learn more complicated modelling programs in my free time and I was hoping some of you could throw recommendations my way. Right now my workflow is basically 2D AutoCAD, export into Sketchup to turn 3D, and then export to Lumion for textures and lighting. I would post some recent projects but I don’t know if I’m allowed to until they’ve been built and paid for.

    I know Blender is a big name in the modelling scene, but I also have a free license to 3DSMax until my educational pass runs out sometime next year. Does anyone have recommendations for one over the other? What about other engines like Unreal Engine 4 or Maya?


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  3. #2
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    This is all really just personal preference.
    SubD/poly modelling? 3DS Max, Maya, Blender (which is free), Modo... take your pick. Particularily if you're only aiming to create concept art it doesn't matter one bit.
    NURBS(Solid/CAD) modelling? Fusion360, MOI3D
    Sculpting organic creatures? Z-Brush is the industry standard, 3DCoat is a good choice as well and very nuice for auto uv-ing.
    Texturing? Substance Painter is very powerful and not too difficult to learn.
    Rendering? Personally I prefer GPU based rendering since it's so much faster than CPU based rendering, so I use Octane (standalone). But take your pick: vray, corona, redshift, cycles, vray... those are all viable choices that can produce realistic results.

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  5. #3
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    OpenSCAD is fun if you're into programming and math type stuff.

  6. #4
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    Benedikt it sounds like you have a lot of experience with this stuff.

    im mostly interested in poly modelling because that’s what I’m familiar with. I know the main concepts and find myself getting frustrated in sketchup trying to do more complicated builds.

  7. #5
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    I've been using 3D in a concept design/illustration workflow for a while now and am steadily expanding my toolset.

    Sketchup is a great piece of software for very quick concepting, however I find MOI3D is quicker and more intuitive (and more powerful).

    Apart from personal preference, there is always an additional element of how well the software "fits" for what you're trying to do. If you're not a 3D guy and are just using it as a tool for a 2D end, it's often best to pick the software that "likes to do" what you're trying to do.

    NURBS/CAD modellers like fusion360 and MOI really "like" to do mechanical objects, arrays, cuts and such. For those objects, you can't beat a NURBS app. They don't like to do complex curved surfaces or organic forms, however, which is where sculpting apps like Z-Brush or 3D Coat shine.

    Polymodelling apps like Modo, Max or Maya can do it all but are much more complicated to learn and often also quite a bit slower.

    Then there are very specific softwares that only do one thing, e.g. Marvelous Designer, which is great for clothing/costumes etc. or vue which can generate landscapes, but literally nothing else.

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