As opposed to rendering?
There seems to be a ton of focus on texturing or applying materials to models, and then rendering them with all sorts of software from the cheapies to the likes of Lightwave, 3DSM, and even Renderman. What no ones talks about is what they use to make the models. I'm guessing most people use the free model/render programs, and, as far as I know, those are all traditional CAD implementations. I saw some people were using parametric solid modeling programs (primarily SketchUp) to do their work.
First off, do you use the same program to model and render?
Second, do you prefer traditional iterative modeling or parametric solid modeling?
I learned on a traditional, actually, the traditional CAD package (AutoCAD). Incidentally, AutoCAD 2007 uses the same rendering engine as VIZ/3DSM. I have tried to do a lot of modeling in VIZ (a slightly stripped down version of 3DSM, I think the only things you loose are a few minor animation-related functions), and find it miserable. I do a ton of modeling in both SolidWorks and Inventor. I find Inventor to be one of the best modeling packages out there, though I want to try ProE. I do more work in SolidWorks since it also has CosmosWorks which I use for engineering analysis, but that's another story. All together, I definitely prefer parametric solid modeling to the traditional method, especially when doing complex, non-NURBS'ed solids. I definitely think programs like Inventor, ProE, SolidWorks, and the like are actually designed for solid modeling whereas rendering software, in my experience does great lighting and materials, but is much less effective at modeling.
Cheers. - F