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/3/'s Official README.TXT

If you're reading this, you probably got this linked to you because you posted a
question that has already been asked many many times. Read ahead, and find
your answer.

Scroll to the bottom for useful resource links.

1.) "How do I get started in 3D?"

There are many ways to get started, the quickest way is to actually start
with a 3D program. There are many to choose from, such as:

-3DS Max
-Cinema 4D,
-Softimage XSI
-Blender 3D (Free!)

Once you obtain one the next step is to start with tutorials. There are many
on the net, they range from text and image tutorials to video tutorials. You
aren't going to find a tutorial for everything out there, but most will explain
techniques that you need to adapt in order for you to achieve whatever final
result you want.

2.) "Wow! That's a lot of programs! Which one is best? I heard ______ is best."

You heard wrong, there is no one program that is better than the rest, it has
and always will be the skill level of the artist. Which program you choose is
solely dependent on your own personal taste and which aspect of the 3D industry
you want to be involved in.
Max and Maya are the most hyped and so therefore the most used,
they have the most available documentation online
. The interfaces have
a steep learning curve, but there isn't any 3D program you can't learn if you take
the time to use it and follow some tutorials. Go with a generalized package, not a
specialist one.

2.B)What's the difference between Max and Maya? Which one is better?

PLEASE For the LOVE OF GOD! Stop making these kind of threads, they are trollish in nature and if this is something you're new to, it is the easiest way to get flamed and lose any chances of help. The threads will alway devolve into a crap fest of X > Y, much like /g/'s retarded OS wars.

So, I will go ahead and present to you the best answer I can possibly give. It's long and winded but if you are really serious about this, please read it.

Max, Maya, Softimage, Lightwave and Blender are all GREAT generalist packages. Each one has a great set of tools, some have more features than others. When it comes down to it though, they all provide the necessary fundamental tools to do any of the following: Modeling, Rigging, Dynamics, Animation, Lighting, Rendering and Scripting. So why are there so many? Why are most of them owned by the same company?

Well I won't go into the history of each one, but Max, Maya and Softimage were not always owned by Autodesk. They started their lives well over a decade ago. In Autodesk's infinite greed and to kill the competition, when Alias|Wavefront (Maya's previous owners) and Avid (Softimage's previous owners) fell into hard times Autodesk was there to buy them out.

Anybody that tells you that 3D Studio Max is better for games and tells you, "because the tools are better", most often times can't tell you what tools or why.
This is because it doesn't matter. 3D Studio Max is more widely used in games because of it's history more than it's tool set. Autodesk started offering tools geared toward game developers after they found their niche audience, this is not to say though that they still don't appeal to visual effect studios.
3D Studio Max has a huge list of movie credits, as does Maya, as does Softimage, as does Lightwave. Not many people realise this but movies aren't always made by ONE studio. They are contracted out to various ones, each of who have their own preferred application and pipeline.

So, each one will always try to compete with the other by coming out with cool new tools, but for your average idiot starting out, these tools are worthless to them. The developing companies are after studio money, not after pirate boy fanboyism. IF you learn one application, and you learn it right (IE the techniques, and skills), you SHOULD be able to migrate to other applications with ease. SOME people are hard set on only being a master of one application, and that is ok. These people know the application in and out, they may not always get a job at one particular studio because that studio may use something else, but there's never any shortage of studios who may use any of the mainstream apps.

In the end the biggest difference are their gui, workflows, terminology and underlying architecture. YOU as the beginner should not worry about this, your FUTURE in this industry will not be in jeopardy if you pick the "wrong" package. It's only in trouble if you don't put any work into learning anything, whether it be modeling, animation, lighting, or rendering.

SO, what should you pick? HONESTLY stop asking, we can't tell you. You can easily pursue a career in games or visual effects with 3DS Max, Maya or Softimage. Plenty of big name studios use any one of the three or hell even all three. SO, GO, download any one of them (there's free trials if you don't want to mess with cracks), hit F1 and do the basic tutorials. WHICH ever you're most comfortable with you can use as your first step. Once you have reached the magical plateau of advanced level, you can worry about more advanced stuff that can lead you down the WHICH PACKAGE IS BEST rabbit hole, and hopefully by then you've learned enough to again decide for yourself. Until then, you have a long way to go and this choice is THE LEAST of your worries.

As a side note: Myself I started with 3D Studio Max (in my opinion lowest learning curve) in 1999, my package of choice for the last three years, Softimage. The package you start with doesn't always become the one you end up with.
Take that for what it's worth.

*****Each package was marketed differently, to different studios based on different tool sets. Maya was marketed as a serious animation and rendering package. It's primary key feature to studios was how customisable it is. Studios didn't want to write their own software, but they wanted to extend the packages that were on the market. Thanks to collaboration with Disney, Alias decided to basically write a GUI that was entirely customisable and a framework that was easily extendible. Hence why so many studios picked up Maya as the Movie Effects Standard package. 3DS Max was marketed as, no not a game development package, but a workstation equivalent of CAD, ah this was a bad mistake by Autodesk who was a bit clueless about what Yost group was really after. Yost wanted to make a direct competitor to Alias and Wavefront, an easy to use 3D package that worked on the PC that had an easy to use character animation package (sold seperately). In the early years the marketing for each application was some what convoluted. Wavefront wanted to be more accepted in the Hollywood scene, but ended up marketing to Video game developers because they were their biggest buyers and Alias was dominating the hollywood studios. When Alias and Wavefront merged to become Maya this was thrown out the window. Both Game Developers AND visual effect studios were using Maya as their standard package. This was mostly because these studios could afford the expensive SGI Irix systems that were required to run them at the time. 3D Studio though was gaining much popularity in the ArchViz world AND in the independant and small game studio (and cheapskate big studios, thanks EA) divisions because it was affordable and available on the PC.

So as you can see, they were both being used in either part of the industry. Lightwave was also huge with TV visual effects studios, because Amigas and the VideoToaster were cheap. You can thank in part NewTek for creating the 90s Sci-Fi tv show boom. It made it affordable to have visual effects in TV shows, which were part of the cornerstone of Sci-Fi shows.


3.) "Whoah, Generalized vs Specialized? How do I know?"

A generalised package like Maya, Max, Softimage are packages that let you model, render,
animate, texture, and create dynamics all within the same application. They don't require third party plugins
or applications to add another basic feature, like a renderer or animation tools.
However you can get plugins for these apps to enhance their features.
There are several Specialized applications out there that cater to a specific skill.

Animation: Motion Builder, Messiah 3D.
Modeling: Modo, Wings3D, Silo 3D
CAD: Autocad, Sketchup, SolidWorks
Detailing: Zbrush, Mudbox, 3DCoat

4.) "Ooooo Zbrush, I see so much awesome shit from that, I'm gonna start there!"

No, you're getting ahead of yourself. You should start learning about basic modeling and
topology before jumping into Zbrush. Zbrush is a great program for advanced users to add
detail to their existing models, or to prototype models quickly by sculpting them out. It
is not a good idea to get into Zbrush when you're not very familiar with general 3D concepts

5.) "Ok, I see I'm not very good at this stuff, can you model ______ for me?"

No, anybody with any decent skill on this board does this work for a living or for some kind
of gain. Some of those just starting out may pick up the project but don't expect Miets Meier
level of work. You get what you pay for.

6.) "But it's too haaaaaaaaard, isn't there any easy button?"

No, like all things it takes time and effort to master a program, practice makes perfect and
playing around with the interface will get the shortcuts ingrained into your muscle memory.

7.) "So which program is the easiest to learn?"

You shouldn't learn a program, you should learn techniques. When you master a technique the program
becomes nothing more than a tool. As said before Max and Maya have the most documentation but you
should look at learning how to model and the right techniques instead of 'what button does X'. You
can get UI information from the program's help files. F1 and Google are your friends.

8.) "So, what do studios look for when hiring if I don't know program ______ won't I get turned down?"

When a studio judges your demo reel and resume they have an order of priority.

1-Quality of Work
4-Program skills

9.) "So studios don't care what program I use? Why do they care about versatility?"

Except for Animators who are pretty much exempt from most rules of 3D, most studios want people who
can perform multiple tasks instead of just a specialised one. They want modelers who can also texture,
they want riggers who can also do dynamics, they want lighters who can also texture. It's ok to be
specialised in one area, but it doesn't hurt to be versatile, it will always keep you employed.

When a studio looks at your program skills they do often look to see if you have experience in their
preferred in house package, but MANY times you're going to get a studio that has added their own tools
and pipeline so it wouldn't matter what program you know as long as your skills are good. If you know
techniques you can pretty much pickup any 3D package in a matter of days. Of course there are some that
are hard set that you know program ________ but for the most part what package you know is not that
important (yes even you Blender fags can get a job in a studio if you know good techniques.)

10.) "What about gaming?"
What about it?

11.) "How do I make my own game? How do I program shaders or a video game?"
This is a 3D board not a programming board! Do you want to make 3D game assets or
do you want to be a programmer?

12.) "Uhhhh...."

13.) If you want to get into game asset creating, your three primary focus of interests are:

Low poly modeling is an art in itself, trying to get as much detail with as few polys as possible
takes some practice, there is no formula for this. You create a low poly model and use techniques
such as good UV textures and normal maps to enhance the look of the model in the game engine.

Two great places to start for game asset creation:

Animating for games is pretty much the same as for movies, except that your model has a higher chance
of deforming badly and you may not have as much control over your rig. Still the basic concepts of
animation will always apply.

14.) "So got any links?"



Specific Starter Tutorials:

-Modeling : 3DS Max Character Modeling tutorial - Best you'll find : Great introduction to basic game character modeling : Free Lightwave 3D training videos

-UVMapping and Texturing : Intro to texture concepts and normal mapping : Best free texture resource : Introduction to texture concepts : Brushes can be used to create textures : UV Unwrapping in Max : Demo of pelt unwrap feature in Max


-Game Character Creation

-Game creation resources

-Zbrush Meats Meier Intro to Zbrush, free, informative, highly recommend.

Free Downloads:

Blender 3D:
Softimage Mod Tool:
Houdini Apprentice:

Underage b&s and College fags who can get discount software:

Compositing: : Introduction to Matchmove with Syntheyes. : 26 great Camera tracking and Matchmove tutorials

-Free Rigs

-MoCap libraries (free and none free)

3D Communities:

Job Hunting:

Concept Art - General Illustration: - starting guide on how to do figure drawing - useful images that shows you without telling how to interpret the body anatomy and how it deforms, where all the superficial muscles are in different poses - great tool for doing gestural and anatomical studies of humans and animals - good for quick gestural drawing, helps you with proportions and quick figure sketching blocking out human forms, don't use it for anatomical studies - general tutorial for digital painting and such, contains a few gems of good useful information - bunch of compositional guidelines useful to give images that little extra chazzaz. - for when you need a random pic to draw - for when you need a random idea to draw - More resources - Concept artist community

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