is maya the best cg program?

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by GrEvEs, Jun 9, 2002.

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  1. GrEvEs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 2
  2. Macho Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2001
    star 4
    there is no say "BEST" cg program. Maya is a program that is for professionals, it allows you to expand inside of it creating plugins and/or shaders really fast inside the interface
  3. Darth_Jerak Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 3
    its certainly one of the most expensive. Its pretty good, but then again it really depends on your preferences, even after using maya, I still prefer Lightwave. I found maya rather confusing and annoying, but I guess that's cause I was raised on Lightwave.

    -Kol
  4. GrEvEs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 2
    well, i mean can maya do more stuff than say 3ds max, or lightwave? or is it just faster?
  5. Darth_Jerak Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 3
    Maya has amazing texturing options, but really its just a different interface. All CG programs pretty much do the same things, some are more advanced. I always promote lightwave (pricing and capabilities wise I think its the best bang for your buck), but really its all about comfort. Again I also think its easiest to learn lightwave, but I know you 3dsers will rush to defense of your beloved program.

    -Kol

    P.S. You ever had any CG experience before? If so what program did you use?
  6. Carl_el_cee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 3
    I work with 3D Max but am thinking of moving to Maya. I got the Personal Learning Edition, which is like the full version but only non-commercial.
    ILM have used MAYA in ep1, The Mummy and First Union (To name a few). At www.aliaswavefront.com you can check out videos of MAYA shown by ILM. How they did the Pods in Ep1 and the Scarabs in the Mummy and such...
  7. GrEvEs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 2
    darth jerak, how much is lightwave?
  8. Macho Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2001
    star 4
    I believe LW is around $1,000 you can get it cheaper with student discounts. But I would recommend you getting the 3DTK from DvGarage...if you are just starting out its all you need to start producing high quality stuff right away...
  9. GrEvEs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 2
    3dtk? dvgarage? meh?
  10. JediToren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2000
    star 4
    3D Toolkit from DVGarage.

    Maya is wonderful, but allot of folks seem to think that it must be good for them because pro FX house XYZ uses it. Maya is extremely flexible and as ILM animator Hal Hickel once explained, it fits into their production pipeline easily and seamlessly and is so flexible they can overcome any of its shortcomings by using other software, both off the shelf and stuff that is developed in-house. Most apps that are great for the studios aren't always great for the little guy or the small FX team. There are packages out there that are less expensive and geared more for the little guy.
    Animation:Master, Lightwave, 3DSMax, Electric Image and others are all great for this, because they are flexible enough to allow the little guy to get things done for his fanfilm.

    And you should start with a less expensive app before jumping to Maya. Maya is geared for a specific customer base, and despite what some will have you believe, if you are a begininger, your first 3D work will just as lame as it does in A:M, LW, 3DSMAX, or EI as it does in Maya. No matter who uses it or how much it costs, the reason why 3D artists create great work has nothing to do with their technical know how of software and everything to do with their artistic talent.

    Basically here is what you need to do to determine which app to buy. You need to look at your treatment/script and decide what it is you want to do, and then look at the feature lists of the various 3D applications and see which ones have the right features. Feel free to ask here which apps can do what.
  11. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Feel free to ask here which apps can do what.

    But do so before you buy them. ;)

    M. Scott
  12. KuyaPete Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2002
    star 1
    Maya's internal renderer is weaker compared to some other applications'. That being said, what makes Maya so great is it's robust scripting language, MEL, which allows just about every aspect to be programmable. If you have the programming chops and scientific background, you could achieve tons of great things through Maya (what comes to mind is the physics of the sea/waves in "A Perfect Storm.") The downside is that, it may not be as easy to grasp as something like Lightwave or 3DMax.

    --KuyaPete
  13. JediTAC Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2000
    star 5
    GrEvEs:
    I really think that you need to start with something a little less involved/complicated than Maya. I know you are excited and everything, but for a beginner such as yourself, Maya is way too intricate a program to start with.

    The best advice most people here can give you is to start with either BLENDER, or even the DV GARAGE 3D TOOLKIT. Even the toolkit (with electric Image) may be a little too much for a novice, but I have heard that the tutorials are good and easy to follow.

    As several people, including myself, have suggested to you before ... you need to get a handle on the basics of 3D modeling, mapping, animation, and/or compositing. As exciting as the creative possibilities of 3D CGI can be, you cannot expect to simply "jump into" a program such as Maya without first getting your feet wet in a "basic" 3D program.

    Another resource I would suggest is a Forum dedicated to discussion and showcasing of 3D Graphics - with ALL types of programs. The skill level of the members range everywhere from complete NOVICE to EXPERT.

    Check out ... THE 3RD DIMENSION.





    JediTAC
  14. Night4554 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 9, 2000
    star 5
  15. GrEvEs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 2
    thanks for all of the help guys, this will help me alot. I called up my friend who works at the university who gave me my adobe stuff, he reccomended lightwave since thats what he uses, and he said he will give it to me i gotta go pick it up sometime next week hurah :) he doesn't have any of the other programs but he says his preference is lightwave so i'll hopeuflly get that soon. basically what i want to do for my fanfilm is make some CG backgrounds we can use for our bluescreen, possibly some space combat, but definatly at least some ships and planets, the basic stuff. but i do'nt just want it for fanfilms, i've always liked just making pictures, scenery, outer space and stuff. lately i've only been doing that stuff in PSP and photoshop, but you can only go so far with those little 2d graphics programs. i wanted some real nice 3d stuff. i tried the milkshape and blender programs, and i don't like them really, inter-face wise and all... but somone said earlier in this post that lightwave is easy to use, so hopefully i'll get working with it! thanks again for all your help and thoughts. must go do homework now :p bye.
  16. Lone_Padawan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2001
    star 4
    PCplus has a personal edition of Maya on the cover disk, good for training purposes I believe.
  17. Hexydes Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 1
    If you're just trying to play around, you could try something like Blender (which is freeware). Its a pretty good program, and its a great program considering its free.

    3DSMax is the tried and true guy, been around forever, and a ton of people use it. There are a lot of tutorials for it, so its pretty good for beginners.

    I use Lightwave. GREAT renderer, and I think it is the easiest to learn of the different 3D programs. There aren't a lot of tutorials available online, but a GREAT book to get is Inside Lightwave 7 by Dan Ablan. I think you can get it for about $40 online.

    Maya, as was said before, is VERY robust. Everything can be changed and altered to the artist's need. But it has a pretty tough learning curve, and the programming that you use to alter the program can be cumbersome, so in that respect, Maya is probably not what you want if you don't know how to code (because its biggest feature is its robustness, which you wouldn't be able to take advantage of if you didn't know how to program).

    All the last three programs cost over $400 with a student ID (Maya much more I believe). If you just want to play around, get something free like Blender.
  18. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Overall, my understanding of various off-the-shelf 3D programs is as follows:

    Lightwave: Best modeller (used to model for Final Fantasy)

    Maya: Best particle animation (most filmic CG explosions), great organic animation (used on The Mummy and, heavily MELed, Final Fantasy)

    Electric Image: Best internal renderer (oft-used by ILM to render their Maya animations, for example)

    Softimage | 3D: Best organic animation (the Jurassic Park dinos, most notably)

    3D Studio Max: mainly for video games

    Now these are broad generalizations, so if I'm wrong, someone jump in.

    M. Scott
  19. BobaFrank Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2001
    star 5
    At little off the topic,

    There is a place called the Renaissance Center in a small town about 45 min. away from where I live.

    It is one of 12 places in the U.S. certified to teach the Maya program. They also teach 3-D Studio Max. Both are 6 month courses and both cost $6500 to attend.

    Does anybody think thats reasonable? Should I condsider taking one? If so which is better?
  20. tumblemoster Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2000
    star 4
    I hate to do this, but there is a HUGE amount of information about these questions in the FAQ.... I only say this because I wrote it, and I don't want to write it again....

    -tm
  21. Iyidin_Kyeimo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 3
    AAAAAAAAAAARGH!




    anyway.........
  22. Ptx Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 4
    I read in one article that an artist used LW to surface characters.

    Thats something you don't hear a lot about on these boards - surfacing. We should all know by now how important that is thanks to Alex Linsey :)

    Of course it goes without saying that LW has the best surfacing tools.....

    ;)

    Pete
  23. Darth_Jerak Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 3
    In response to Hexydes,

    I can't stress the importance of buying Dan Ablan's book enough. If you're looking to learn lightwave quickly and well, then inside lightwave 7 (or 6, or lightwave power guide 5 - depending on the version) can really help. They're a wee bit pricey - a bout $70 Canadian, but its worth it, I my self have bought 2 of these books. Also, if you are interested in special effects in Lightwave try Lightwave 6.5 Magic (there's probably a seven by now), there are some great effects tutorials in there.

    -Kol
  24. GrEvEs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 2
    i'll look into getting that book. tumblemonster i just read the FAQ, thanks for pointing it out, what is bryce like? is it as "easy to use" as lightwave? i don't think my friend has it but it appears to be cheap enough, at least its not a few thousand... i see lightwave is GREAT for modeling and such, and i see on the FAQ that bryce is great for landscaping. so after i make my spaceship model and a wonderful terrain, how do i splice them? bluescreening? also, when i make models and stuff in lightwave, can you make them video too, and set motion paths and all that stuff? thanks.

    EDIT: on a sidenote, can lightwave do the text scrolls? what proggy does that besides max, my friend doesn't have it, and i don't have the moeny to lay out for it.
  25. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "so after i make my spaceship model and a wonderful terrain, how do i splice them? bluescreening?"

    No. Render the ship with an alpha channel. It's kind of like bluescreening but skipping the screen and going straight to the intended product, an integrated matte.

    "also, when i make models and stuff in lightwave, can you make them video too, and set motion paths and all that stuff?"

    Yes, Lightwave has an animator as part of the package.

    For a look of Lightwave in action, check out Knightquest here at TFN theater.

    M. Scott
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