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3D Modeling & Rendering Software

adambuttadambutt23 Posts: 17Member
First, some back story. I used to be a member of this forum many years ago when I was still in High School. At the time I was doing a bit of 3d Modeling with 3dMax because I had access to it through school. However, as I entered college I ran-out of spare time for several of my hobbies. However, now I am well established in my work and starting to get more free time and disposable income.

What I'd like to ask you is your advice on 3d Modeling and Rendering software for a hobbyist. As I said, I have decent experience with 3dMax, and I am very comfortable with it's UI (though I am probably several versions out of date). However, I find AutoDesk's licensing model a little out of reach for a hobby. Also, I have tried several times to get started with Blender, but I find it's UI very very difficult (verging on frustrating) to use and I haven't made it very far though tutorials. The other contender that I would probably be considering is LightWave. I don't have any experience with it, but I know it's been an industry standard for many years, and the price fits my budget well.

What advice and recommendations do you have for someone like myself? If you have experience with LW, what's your opinion of it, and what do/don't you like about it? Are there any other options I should try/consider? If you need any more information, please ask. Thank you for your advice!
Post edited by adambutt on


  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1802208 Posts: 10,093Member
    Lightwave is pretty awesome, in my opinion. I used it for a few years before I switched my computers from Windows to Linux and couldn't run it anymore. It's been used on a lot of big movies and TV shows, so you know it's powerful software. I find modeling with it extremely easy, with enough tools to create anything you want, as well as fantastic surfacing, lighting and rendering options.

    A point of contention for me, aside from lack of Linux support, (they were working in it years ago and stopped suddenly) is the pricing. It's not as bad as Maya or Max, but it's still expensive. Though, they do run sales that bring it down quite a bit in price.
  • rojrenrojren1567 Louisville, Kentucky USAPosts: 1,779Member
    3ds Max is $185/month US? Damn, that's almost a car payment.
  • adambuttadambutt23 Posts: 17Member
    Car payment? That's my student loan payment.
  • rojrenrojren1567 Louisville, Kentucky USAPosts: 1,779Member
    Luckily for me, all my student loans were paid off long before they got to whatever the current level of insanity is.
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1802208 Posts: 10,093Member
    rojren wrote: »
    3ds Max is $185/month US? Damn, that's almost a car payment.

    Yeah, hence less people using it on the hobby level. ::) It's priced for professionals, not for us. If you've got even a freelance pro who's making a few thousand a month for projects, that's not much. For those of us with regular jobs, it's horrible.
  • adambuttadambutt23 Posts: 17Member
    I wish more companies would offer professional software to hobbyist, students, and non-commercial users for free (or at least very discounted). It would only help them to have more people who know how to use their software, putting it on their resumes, and vouching for it with their employers. AutoDesk is close in that they do offer the student version for free, but they only give you a license for 3 years.

    I used to do a lot of work with Illustrator also, but I can't install the CS3 version on modern Windows. I just can't bring myself to pay $30/month for it, and they don't offer boxed versions anymore.
  • MadKoiFishMadKoiFish6342 BurntforniaPosts: 4,851Member
    The companies have in vested interest in getting people jobs.

    As for LW I would dl a demo and give it a go EXP if you are looking for something more max like in the UI. To me LW is nothing like max so testr the waters before spending a large wad on software. I would still push blender over anything at a hobby level of expenditure.

    If you never plan to make money or earn anything with the software there is no sense in dropping 1200~4000USD on it.
    Each day we draw closer to the end.
  • rojrenrojren1567 Louisville, Kentucky USAPosts: 1,779Member
    I was talking to some folks at Autodesk about the new Fusion360 program/service. It was a couple of those customer interview things they do to find out what people think of the software and process, and what could be improved . I was told that the program was to be free to learn for as long as it takes. Then something happened. They never showed up for the third go-to-meeting and I got a notice that they changed to a thirty day trial for learning it. (I can't learn anything in thirty days.)

    It's $40.00/$190.00 US (why $5.00 more than Max or AutoCAD?) a month depending on the plan. It looks like it might be pretty n ice, when they shake some more bugs out of it.
  • HelotHelot331 Posts: 0Member
    Unfortunately Blender is the best option for top notch program at a nonprofessional price (yeah, free). Even though I have MAX (albeit many, many versions behind), I use Wings 3D for all my modelling now. There are not as many features as MAX/LW/Blender but it is fun. You can use YafaRay for rendering. Wings exports to 3DS, OBJ and LWO. You could use Blender for texturing and rendering or try out which is also free.

    Everyone seems to be moving to fixed term license which sucks and says 'hey, we hate you unless you are a pro. And you pros, screw you too'.

    So, not much help.
  • adambuttadambutt23 Posts: 17Member
    That's one of the reason I want to consider LW. They still have a buy-it/own-it price model and $600-800 is OK with me since it's a moderately powerful tool and I want to support someone who's doing it right. I'll definitely go through their trial first just to make sure before I eventually make a purchase decision.

    I'll give those other suggestions a try too.
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