Q: I want to make my own ship and/or weapon graphics for my plug. What's available for me to use?
Q: I want to make my own ship and/or weapon graphics for my plug. I have no money, so what's free?
Q: I want to make my own ship and/or weapon graphics for my plug. Money is no issue.
Q: I want to make my own ship and/or weapon graphics for my plug. I'm a poor student, so I have like $80.
A: These are some of the most frequently asked graphics questions on the boards. I'll answer them all at once.
Current, on Aug 29 2004, 07:24 AM, said:
**POV-Ray (free), Wings 3D (free), Blender (free), Modo ($895), Alias Maya 5.0 Personal Learning Edition (free - not full featured w/ watermarks), Softimage XSI Experience ($19.95 - not full featured w/ less obtrusive watermarks than PLE), Animation Master ($299), Zbrush ($399), Eovia Carrara Studio 3 ($399), Maxon Cinema 4D 9 ($595), Strata 3DPro 3.9 ($695), Eovia Amapi 7 Pro ($799), Rhinoceros 3.0 ($895), Houdini 6.x ($1299-$17000), Softimage 3D 4.0 ($1495), Newtek Lightwave 3D 8.1 ($1595), Softimage XSI (no price quoted, but probably more expensive than Lightwave), Alias Maya Complete 6.0 ($1999), Discreet 3D Studio Max 7 ($3055), Alias Maya Unlimited 6.0 ($6999)
My advice is to start with Wings, Blender, Mechanisto, or basically anything free, and work with it until you figure out that you aren't getting the results that you want with it. For instance, if you want to make a complex shape that you simply can't make with the free programs. It's at this point that you want to move on to a more expensive program. The "Big Four" programs are Maya, 3DSMax, Softimage, and Lightwave. If you plan on going into a graphics career in the gaming industry, then 3DSMax is your best bet, because it's probably the most prevalent program (Halflife 2, UT2K4, etc.). Maya, Soft, and Lightwave are more widespread in the movie industry. Strata and Carrara are still good, but basically choose a program that fits your modeling style, etc. It'll be a bit easier to choose which expensive program you want to invest in when you have the experience to know what you want from the program. Pretty much all of these programs are available for all platforms except for (to the best of my knowledge) Houdini, Softimage, Rhinoceros, and 3DSMax, which are not available for the Macintosh.
Maya, Max, Soft, and Lightwave (maybe Strata, but I'm not sure) can be bought at significantly reduced student prices from sites like www.journeyed.com**View Post
Q: I want to get started in graphics, so what's the absolute BEST program that I can buy?
A: Sorry to burst your bubble, but there's no such thing as a "best" program. It really depends on what you want to do with it. If you've never done anything in 3D and don't know whether you'd like it or not, then buying a $6000 program is probably not the smartest thing you could do. I'd rather buy a Dual 2.5 GHz G5 and a 30" monitor with that money and download Blender 3D for free than spend 6 Grand on a program that I don't even know if I'd use it ever again. For a beginner, any program on the list will be as good as another. The quality of your product has nothing to do with the program that you used while you're still a beginner. Just because you buy PhotoRealistic Renderman (Pixar's renderer) doesn't mean that you're going to be churning out the next "Finding Nemo" by the end of the summer. However, if you are looking for programs that are popular on the EV Image Gallery, most people lately start with Wings 3D or Blender. I started using POV-Ray, although it's less popular due to its difficult interface. Mechanisto has dropped somewhat out of favor due to the lack of support, but several members are churning out extremely nice pieces of work. Strata 3D and Cinema 4D are more intermediate programs, are are usually sufficient for what most people do here. Lightwave is the most expensive program used on the board, and it's what (and not limited to) Admiral Zombat, Weepul884, Sparky, Onyx, and I use. It's what ATMOS used to create and render all of the ships for EV Nova. Again, I recommend you start with something free, but if you feel like spending $1300 on Lightwave, I won't stop you
Q: I made my first ship in Wings 3D and it sucks. Matrix, your advice sucks. Someone else, what's a better program?
A: You need more patience. If you're giving up this quickly, then maybe making graphics just isn't for you. Making ships and things using 3D programs is difficult, and there are very few people who can do a good job on their first try. 99 out of 100 times, it's not the program that's holding you back, it's your lack of experience. The only way to get around this is to practice and keep improving your skills. When you're good enough, you'll know that the program is holding you back, and if you're still modeling by that point, you'll probably have saved up money for a more capable program.
Q: I made a ship in Wings 3D and can't texture or render it. This program is trash! What should I do?
A: Don't fret, the programmers' priorities are apparently into making a good modeler and not worrying about rendering. Try some of the other free programs on the list like Blender or POV-Ray. I think you need to download plugins for them to be compatible, but you'll have to look at the Wings site (I assume) for that information.
Q: I'm recruiting a graphics team for a plug that I just thought up. Who's interested?
A: No one really. I'm not trying to be mean, but the harsh reality is that graphics take quite a lot of time and effort to do well, so most (if not all) graphics people are unwilling to make commitments until a significant amount of work has been completed on the plug. How much is "a significant amount?" That really depends on the person. If you come to the board and say "I'm working on a plug, and I have all the systems, planets, governments, ships, weapons, and outfits done, and I just need to start making missions. Without giving away too much, my plug is something like *******. I'm looking for a graphics person. Anyone interested?" you're more likely to get an affirmative answer. We mainly like to see that the person who started the plug will probably finish it so that all our hard work doesn't go to waste. Most of us have been involved in "vaporware" plugs (plugs that were never completed), and we don't want to go through that again.
This post has been edited by what_is_the_matrix : 17 October 2004 - 12:57 PM