Art: 3D software; taking the first plunge.

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    3D software; taking the first plunge.

    I'm taking the plunge into 3D design, to open creative doors for myself personally, but the practical investment is for my career as a product designer and Illustrator.
    I've always worked either on the board, or on a mac, specifically Photoshop and Painter. The companies I design for have been using more PC-based software in creating their product, programs like Lightwave, SolidWorks, Rhino, even Alias and Maya. Especially programs that can export smoothly to create patterns for molds and stereolithography prototypes.

    I'm just an indi contractor, and though I'd love to have Maya or Alias I have to be reasonable about the initial cost and learning curve of delving into the world of 3D sculpting.
    At this point I'm resolved to the notion of investing in going PC. (I've heard good things about ZBrush3, and I understand Maya is available in both platforms, but I want my options broad).

    I've had a number of programs recommended to me, 3DS Max, Rhino, SolidWorks, ..and the programs that I'm considering at right now are SolidWorks for the basic industry-related tool, and Mud Box for the more complex. 3DS Max sounds great too.
    I've heard only good things about all 3, but I was hoping to get some reliable feedback, or certainly other program recommendations that I may consider.

    Your advice is appreciated.
    Thanks,
    -Edison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edison View Post
    I'm taking the plunge into 3D design, to open creative doors for myself personally, but the practical investment is for my career as a product designer and Illustrator.
    ...
    I've had a number of programs recommended to me, 3DS Max, Rhino, SolidWorks, ..and the programs that I'm considering at right now are SolidWorks for the basic industry-related tool, and Mud Box for the more complex. 3DS Max sounds great too.
    I've heard only good things about all 3, but I was hoping to get some reliable feedback, or certainly other program recommendations that I may consider.

    Your advice is appreciated.
    Thanks,
    -Edison

    I own Alibre 3D CAD and Mudbox and both are great programs. But, I am also seriously considering Modo 301 when it comes out. The reason is that my needs are similar to yours and the upcoming version promises to deliver the precision of CAD AND the organic sculpting of Mudbox in a single interface. They also have an animation and 'walkthrough' component.

    There is an hour long video that shows the new features of Modo 301 and it's well worth downloading and viewing. The learning curve of any 3D program is so great that having a single program for 3D printing, architecture and sculpting, and that does all well is, to me, a good thing. Moreover, I have been able to find TONS of tutorials and scripts for Modo.

    http://www.luxology.com/whatismodo/301/

    Let me know what you think.

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    Modo 301 looks sweet indeed. It may offer everything I'm looking for, though no one I know has heard much about it.
    I work in the toy industry, which relies a lot on SoldWorks, Rhino and some Freeform for it's design and prototyping. Clearly more CAD-oriented sofware. I want to be able to do everything from simple parts and exploded views to vehicles and finely detailed action figures.
    I'd also like to have the option of moving more into the gaming industry, which lends itself to programs like 3DS Max and Mud Box.

    Are there any compatability issues with say, Rhino vs Mud Box when it comes to an .stl file used for rapid prototyping? Is an .stl file simply an .stl file?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edison View Post
    Modo 301 looks sweet indeed. It may offer everything I'm looking for, though no one I know has heard much about it.
    I work in the toy industry, which relies a lot on SoldWorks, Rhino and some Freeform for it's design and prototyping. Clearly more CAD-oriented sofware. I want to be able to do everything from simple parts and exploded views to vehicles and finely detailed action figures.
    I'd also like to have the option of moving more into the gaming industry, which lends itself to programs like 3DS Max and Mud Box.

    Are there any compatability issues with say, Rhino vs Mud Box when it comes to an .stl file used for rapid prototyping? Is an .stl file simply an .stl file?
    The best way to find that out is to contact someone that takes in a lot of STL files from a wide variety of programs. Each program must interpret it's own data and convert it into STL instructions, so my guess is that the practical effect can be at least a bit different since the geometry used in various packages can differ. Something could, I suspect, get lost in the translation process if the translation code is written sloppily.

    Once in STL form, I would think that they are processed the same no matter which packages sent out the STL. This would be a great subject to explore for the 3D printer blog. In the meantime, I found this article that might be helpful.

    Optimizing STL files

    I'll try to find some more information on this subject. Thanks for bringing it up!

    Last edited by TMeeks; May 29th, 2007 at 04:27 PM.
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