3D programs for Macs

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by quigon_brian, Jun 18, 2002.

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  1. quigon_brian Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2001
    star 4
    Let me start off by saying that I am 100% new to fan film making, but I've got my digital camera, my trusty PowerBook G4, Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, Premiere, and Final Cut Pro. I've got pretty much everything I think I need except, I know nothing about 3D animation. Does anyone out there know of any really good programs for Macs? I would need one that is a little easier to start off with, but then something more advanced to move onto. I looked at Adobe LiveMotion, but I didn't know if that was any good. I've looked around so I don't know if I'm missing them, or if they're just not easy to find. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also, I'll obviously need lots of tutorials with whatever program I get. Thanks.
  2. JediTAC Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2000
    star 5
    Well, although Maya is available for the MAC (now), I would recommend LIGHTWAVE.
    Dollar-for-dollar, I believe it is the BEST 3D program available for the MAC today. :D
  3. DRProducer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2002
    star 1
    Maya is easy to learn but is a powerful tool,and it's as much as any other 3D app out there,2000 bucks.

    GET IT NOW!!!!!!!
  4. JediTAC Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2000
    star 5
    Man, I guess you and I are destined to disagree, DRProd ..... ;)

    I adminsitrate a Forum dedicated to 3D CGI and applications - Maya is an extremely involved program ... certainly not for a beginner.


    As a beginner, quigon_brian, you might also want to consider Strata 3D Pro.
  5. quigon_brian Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2001
    star 4
    So JediTAC, do you think I should get Lightwave, or Strata 3D Pro? What are the differences, and about how much do they cost? Also, where could I get them? The only Apple store in my city is CompUSA, and their Mac software selection is rather limited.
  6. Douz Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2000
    star 3
    Maya is available on OS X. but from what Ive heard the learning curve is pretty high.

    I use Lightwave and running it on OS X (much faster on X by the way) which I find to work very well.

    There are a few other 3D apps that work on Macs (Amorphium and Bryce) but these are not as powerful as LW and Maya.

  7. JediTAC Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2000
    star 5
    Well, if you are still as tudent (or will be a student in college), than you are in luck . . .

    Check out [link=http://www.journeyed.com]JourneyEd.com[/link] and/or [link=http://www.creationengine.com]Creation Engine[/link] for some amazing educational/student discounts.

    In addition, and/or prior to buying the programs, you can get demo trial versions at the respective manufacturer's websites.

    For Lightwave - go to [link=http://www.newtek.com]Newtek[/link]
    I am not 100% sure which company puts out Strata3D ... but a quick search on YAHOO will do the trick. ;)


    And don't get me wrong, MAYA is a great and powerful program, both on the PC and the Mac.
    But it IS a very complex program - which is why it is one of the programs widely utilized by many major visual effects companies and such. After getting your feet wet in 3D, learning the concepts and techniques ... THEN you may be ready to dive into MAYA. :)

    For some added information and encouragement in learning 3D, feel free to check out [link=http://www.brainaideddesign.co.uk]THE 3RD DIMENSION[/link] . . .
    a Forum dedicated to learning and promoting 3D CGI and visual effects. It's a GREAT place for ALL levels - beginner to advanced.


    Good Luck !!!
  8. quigon_brian Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2001
    star 4
    So I guess you recomend Lightwave then Douz? Is the learning curve really big on that? As long as I have some good tutorials and a little guidance, I think I'll be fine.
  9. DRProducer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2002
    star 1
    TAC,it's part of the prophecy it someday will bring balance to the forums.LOL.

    I started out with Maya abouty a month ago.
    BTW Any idea if softimage will be on os X?
  10. JediTAC Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2000
    star 5
    quigon_brian:
    At any given time, there are literally DOZENS of tutorial recources for any number of 3D programs - INCLUDING Lightwave.

    Also, you definitely want to check out [link=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0735711348/lightwaveworl-20/002-5621205-0908051]THIS LINK[/link] to Dan Alban's book, Inside Lightwave 7.


    Lastly, for some EXCELLENT video learning series, check out [link=http://www.desktopimages.com]Desktop Images[/link],
    I have about 8 of the videos - all excellent quality and easy to follow. :)
  11. Bastion Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2001
    star 2
    Another alternative is Electric Image. I personally am going to get [link=http://www.dvgarage.com/market/product/product.php?prod=3dtk]DV Garage's 3D Toolkit[/link] which guides you through Electric Image 2.9, which is included in the bundle. I recommend downloading the 30 day trial of it so you can properly judge it. Actually before you go spending all that cash on a program you should download all the trial versions of each program. Also check out Blender, it's a completely free program!
  12. tumblemoster Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2000
    star 4
    I am forced to agree with JediTAC on this one (Are pigs flying?!), If I were to choose between Maya and Lightwave I would go with Lightwave.

    There are other options to consider as well: Cinema 4d is quickly becoming a real player in the Mac 3d market. While I haven't used it, I've heard only great things. Another option would be Electric Image. Lord Rive used it with great success on Duality. Strata 3d is also an option. Again I have never used it, and I've also not heard much about it. It is a lower end 3d application.

    -tm
  13. JediTAC Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2000
    star 5
    Man, I forgot about Electric Image and Cinema 4DXL . . .
    But they are absolutely right - these programs are great too. :)

    And with DV Garage's 3D Toolkit - as BASTION so cleverly pointed out - one can learn the basics of 3D graphics fairly easily.

    So, IMHO, the list is:
    1. Lightwave
    2. Electric Image
    3. Maya
    4. Cinema 4DXL
    5. Strata3D Pro

    As far as easy of use/learning, the list would go:
    1. Strata3D Pro
    2. Cinema 4DXL
    3. Electric Image
    4. Lightwave
    5. Maya
  14. Douz Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2000
    star 3
    Yes, Id say go with LW.

    Tac already hit a great resource book. Inside Lightwave. A few others would be Lightwave Applied (which has a number of project based tutorials) as well as Lightwave 6.5 Magic. (although you'd be getting LW 7, again this book is project based with lots of good tricks of the trade.

    Once I finish our fan film Conspiracy, I plan to hit these books even more so to lend a hand in our CGI dept as I am not the primary person doing CGI.

    Ive found LW to be intimidating at first, however once you start to know your way around it gets better. Although it is not an overnight program...some good results can come about from the tuts in these books and on the web..which there are a ton of.

    Dont get me wrong..Im not a LW master by any means. Ive just found it fairly comfortable to work with as well as to learn and I have much learning to do still.
  15. Avene Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2000
    star 4
    Well, the Hash Animation Master. And from what i've heard the latest version has some great new features. It's cheap aswell at only $299 US. Years ago when I bought AM, I bought it in preference to Max and Lightwave. It's feature list is impressive, and it's easier to use than most other programs.
  16. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    I know nothing about 3D animation

    I would seriously recommend the 3D Toolkit then (using Electric Image) it's a great way to learn about 3D, holds your hand all the way (those tutorials make things pretty clear) and you can get pretty good results to. Another thing to consider is the entire dvgarage website that is part of all of this. Those guys are there to help out, and there are so many good things coming out of the place, you'll learn fast, and won't feel like you're having to do it all alone. (I hate learning from manuals BTW)

    I'd like to see some of these other programmes coming down to $199 (including tutorials) as well, that would make it fun. The other thing I found (which may be important, or may not) was that when I first used EI it felt like a familar Mac environment, so I was staight into learning the programme. I had a look at lightwave breifly (very briefly - for a day) and it just didn't look/feel the same as any other programmes I had, which was another deciding factor, (plus the fact that I didn't have the money to shell out for lightwave either...)

    Check it out, it's on a free download/30 day trial anyway, so you really don't have anything to lose. (and yes I am speaking as a convert here :) )
  17. PixelMagic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 5
    I have to agree with Daft on this one. If you are new to 3D, I HIGHLY suggest you go for the 3D toolkit. It's way less expensive than Lightwave, and it comes with tutorials. Lightwave in my opinion is the most confusing 3D package I've ever tried to learn (with the exception of that terrible Blender program!). Don't get me wrong, if you know how to use Lightwave, IT ROCKS. But if you are new to 3D, it is most definately not the one to start with. I started out with 3D Studio Max. Then I started using Lightwave, and learned a good bit in it. I can probably use about 30% of 3DS Maxs features, but only like 5% of Lightwave's. I wish they made a 3DS Max version for OSX, but alas they don't. I'm a strict MAX user, but if the Composite Toolkit had been around when I first started using 3D graphics, I would probably be an avid Electric Image user. Trust me on this one my friend, you most DEFINATELY want the 3D toolkit that includes Electric Image. It will be a very good deal. No offense, but please don't listen to TAC on this one...
  18. Darth_Tater Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2001
    star 1
    I just popped over to the Discreet site to see if the current version of Max has global illumination yet (not yet) and I saw that they're offering financing. The interest rates don't look too bad either.

    I guess because they don't want to lower their prices they feel they can still be competitive by attracting the "monthly payment" people.

    I used Ray Dream Studio and Bryce before switching to Lightwave. It took a couple of weeks but once I saw how the program flowed it started making sense to me. It has its faults but as with any other 3d program, you just have to find ways to work around them.

    A good support base, IMHO, is one of the most important things to have. All of the programs that have been mentioned (not sure about Cinema 4d) have excellent support and resources available.

    As long as you realize that it takes work to
    learn these programs, I think you'll be happy with any program you choose.
  19. Rikalonius Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2001
    star 3
    There isn't a 3D program that is worth the plastic its cut to, that doesn't have a learning curve. If your new to 3D then you have just added an icy surface. Your just going to have to be patient and work at it.

    I worked with Imagine and 3DS max, and I still had to spend time learning Lightwave. I'm still learning it. :)

  20. Ptx Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 4
    Great thought LW is (I bought a copy :D ) I would 100% recommend the 3d toolkit from DV Garage if you are new to it all.

    Pete
  21. quigon_brian Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2001
    star 4
    Thanks for the help guys. I'm definitely going to get the 3D toolkit from DVgarage. Now, do you think I should also buy the composite toolkit too? I already have after effects, so I figured that would be fine, but I wanted a second or third opinion.
  22. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    Without trying to sound like a dvgarage salesman......

    Yes. Go buy that Composite Toolkit, you'll love it. :)

    When I made Dark Skies I spent hours and hours trying to pull clean mattes using only After Effects 4.1. The amount of animated masks I ended up creating simply becuase I couldn't pull an effective key. Then along came the Composite Toolkit (and the awesome dvmatte keyer) and I was genuinely a little sad for a few hours. The reason? It was so good at pulling keys, that I realised I had just wasted half of my Summer trying to do it the 'old way'

    Suddenly greenscreening is fun. :)
  23. PixelMagic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 5
    Hey, Daft, I was thinking about getting the DvMatte Keyer (not the CTK). It's only $49. That's pretty dang cheap. However, do you know if it's any better with pulling keys on DV footage than the Primatte software I already have? Because if it's not better than Primatte at pulling keys, I might as well just stick with Primatte. Any help would be great.
  24. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    Hey Pixel,

    You've been having a 'mare pulling keys from what I have heard, if that's the case then I would definately recommend it.

    It's really easy to use, and produced very neat results. Compared with the price you have to pay for Primatte this keyer is nothing. It's always noice if you can have a variety of method to tackle your footage with, the dvkeyer is another one that you might be more successful with.
  25. PixelMagic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 5
    Well, Daft, I don't know if you've had this same expereience, but when I pull a key from my DV camera using Primatte, it produces a seemingly perfect matte at first. When you composite it against a light background like my snow and mountains image, it looks mighty good. But if you composite it against a black or dark background, it has HORRIBLE edges. The edges have blue and red around various areas of the matte. When I tried to composite my image agaisnt a courasant(sp?) background at night, it looks terrible. Have you had this issue? Maybe if you don't know what I'm talking about, I should post a pic or two. What I was wondering is if DV Matte could take care of the problem.
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