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3-D Software Recommendations

Knight26Knight26191 Posts: 837Member
edited January 2016 in General Discussion #1
So, my copy of ACAD-2010 appears to have been corrupted by my oldest installing somethings on my computer when I let him use it to do some work for school. This of course upset me. What upset me more is that I have not bought a licence since 2010 and my original install disk was lost when we moved last year. So, that comedy of errors aside I am looking at finally moving up to another 3-D package. I mostly use it for designing and rendering the ships from my books, but would love to be able to animate them. So here are my requirements.

#1 Robust 3-D modeler/renderer/animator
#2 Able to import ACAD .DWG models without too much difficulty#
#3 Cheap, the wife won't let me pay for a new ACAD license, so it has to be software easy on the pocketbook
#4 Relatively short learning curve for an ex-ACAD user
#5 Precision modelling capable, I'm used to actually entering coordinates and doing most of my modelling off the keyboard.
Post edited by Knight26 on


  • rojrenrojren2304 Louisville, Kentucky USAPosts: 1,971Member
    We lost an AutoCAD install disc a few years back. Our local AutoCAD reseller mailed us a copy they had laying around. You could try that

    And have you checked into the new leasing prices? They're moving to a lease only scheme.
  • Chris2005Chris2005678 Posts: 3,097Member
    Well, as far as I recall, Autodesk is doing away with perpetual licenses and going to a purely subscription-based model. Which might bring the cost down, since more people will have to buy the subscription now to upgrade. Right now, the costs for subscription are a pretty penny.
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  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804256 Posts: 11,034Member
    You could try Ebay too. Sometimes, people on there are selling 3D software discs and licenses for much less than retail prices.
  • Knight26Knight26191 Posts: 837Member
    I have been wanting to animate the models more, which AutoCAD really can't do unfortunately, other than some simple flybys and rotationals.
  • SchimpfySchimpfy396 Posts: 1,632Member
    Are you enrolled in any college classes that allow you to have a .edu email address? Autodesk offers free student licences. I just got the 2016 Engineering Suite.
  • Knight26Knight26191 Posts: 837Member
    Does it still slap "student edition" on every render and print job?
  • SchimpfySchimpfy396 Posts: 1,632Member
    Nope. It is a completely full featured version aside from where it says "STUDENT VERSION" in the banner of each program. I haven't noticed anything other than that when I've been working with it.
  • Judge DeathJudge Death0 Posts: 0Member
    You could try blender 3d. Free, open source, donate to the makers if you want to, fully functional, full features, etc.

    One of the harder packages to master, I admit. Also updates very often so features can change often.

    Would you like to see what using blender is like? Here's a lengthy series of complete full tutorials on how to make and texture a very nice looking model. Watching a couple eps can help you decide if you might like it and it doesn't cost you a cent to own it but if you can kick the makers a gratuity please do so.

    Here are two demo reels if blender featuring it's cycles rendering system.

    Blender 3d meets every single criteria you specified.
  • spacefighterspacefighter2 Posts: 0Member
    Blender would be a good program to learn, but I'm not sure whether it has any capability to import your existing files, I can see how important it is to you to be able to use them. You coud at the very least try downloading blender, if it can't do what you need you won't have lost anything except a few hours time trying. You might also want to look at import/export/conversion paths from your current file format to one which can be imported into your new program which go through several formats, I learnt of a method to get from skethcup to blender via kerkythea then obj, there will no doubt be equivalents relevant to you, maybe the softwware you choose to swithc to doesn't import your current files, but if you can find tools to convert them through a few other steos first you might be able to get them in. Did you ever store any copies as obj or 3ds files, both have very good compatibility wth a wide range of other programs?

    Further on the subject of blender it is good but perhaps tricky to learn, that's why I still work by modelling geometry in sketchup then converting across to do the materials, animation and rendering, though I can do it much more efficiently these days than in the past, and I learnt how to solve the "annoying black triangles" shading problem. You might want to consider this approach for yourself, if you find sketchup to have an interface more similar to that you are used to than blender does, or if sketchup can import the file type you need it might be a stpe on the path from the current format to the one you want to use in whatever software you finally settle on.
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