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Good cheap intuitive 3D software?

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nelsonmay10
Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 11, 2007 at 2:33:35 am

I am in a bit of a crunch. I have motion 1 and can't afford Zaxworks Pro Animator. I also don't have illustrator, but do have photoshop Cs2 and indesign. It looks I am limited with ZAXWORKS, but I like the way you can build an animate a logo. Anyway, I have a geometric background, two "star looking layers, a large text layer and a smaller text layer. I don't need the text to be seperated or move via keyframes. I would like to build a 3D logo and just have it spin RT to LT or LT to RT.

Any suggestions. I have Carerra 3D v2, but I am all thumbs on it. I will try to add an illustration of what I am trying to do. i also have shake, but have never learned it yet.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 11, 2007 at 5:36:29 am

Well, Shake could let you fake 3-d using 2-d, but in a hurry? On the PC side for things that are cheap I would suggest Crystal 3-D Impact pro, it came bundled with my Discreet Edit system, but is available as an internet download, free version to try. pay for it and they unlock the watermarking for you. It's a stripped down version of TOPAS with canned moves and textures that automate a lot of the work, it can auto-import B&W line art from a jpeg or Bmp and let you extrude and texture that in two minutes... looks good and not much over $50 and dirt simple to use for typical 3-D logo work. I could talk you thru using it over the phone in ten minutes. It would render out an AVI, a still, or stream of stills for your timeline.

But I don't have a strong choice to suggest on the mac side for this.

Zaxwerks really is the king of the niche you describe there. There is a similar thing used in combination with Lightwave that works something like the Zax product, but it's not clear to me at this hour of the night if you need to aleady own a full copy of LW to use that thing as an interface ( I kinda think you might) or if it costs much less than Zaxwerks.

In the freeware/shareware regime for macs, Sketch-Up from Google may be a possibility, as is Blender. Sketch-up free version seems pretty easy to use, Blender 's interface was a puzzle to me when I tried it a few years back. It might be better now. HASH Animation Master is supposed to be easy to use, but may be over your budget limit.

Another way you might go to avoid a learning curve too long for deadline is to try a site like Turbosquid or ifreelance.com to get someone else to animate it for you affordably and you just composite it in using alpha channels. Or offer the task here on the COW in the low pay section, to someone who has Zax and knows how to use it to make up the elements you specify for a price you can afford.

You can fake some 3d with just Photoshop, layering multiple, offset copies and using free transform to warp and distort appropriately, then adding gradients to the "sides" to sell the depth illusion. Keep the layers and bring that into Apple Motion with a simple "throw" and you can add subtle motions or warps to the layers at different speeds. A 360 spin might be asking too much though.

Good luck, tell us what you wound up doing.





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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:23:12 pm

I second Mark's "Crystal" suggestion... we still have a very older verstion of that software (back when it was called Crystal Flying Fonts) floating around in a couple of suites. It's what we use for all "down and dirty" (but great looking) logo animations... some projects simply do not call for something more advanced (I can make a good-looking 3D piece with simple animation in literally 5 minutes).

It's SUPER easy to use and is dirt cheap if you wana buy it. It's actually easy with some practice to get actually quite good at it... learning to nest the canned moves, etc., to create fairly custom animations (without having to learn a complicated program). Lighting, surfaces, textures, etc., are all very VERY good as well, especially considering the almost giveaway pricetag


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mark Suszko
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 12, 2007 at 4:18:53 pm

And here I thought I was the only one still using that:-) Being good at Crystal 3D Impact Pro is kinda like being good at programming Fortran via punchcards these days... but what casual users of it may not recognize is that you can get pretty complex by grouping the various canned moves within each other. Also, that you can build up more complex things than you'd first expect from somethng marketed only for flying type around.

I had a show open that needed some super close-up fly-by shots of prescription pill bottles. These were very easy to make in Crystal 3D Impact Pro, using nothing but geometric primitives.

I made a circle, extruded it, applied an edge treatment and stone texture to make a pill. I duplicated the pill a bunch of times, rotating it in xyz space, then grouping and moving numbers of the duplicates to build up a column of the pills. In top view I made a circle just bigger than the stack of pills and extruded a cylinder around the pills and applied a brown tinted translucent plastic/glass material to that. The cap was again just extruded groupings of circles. I made an RX label in photoshop and imported it as a sort of decal, mapped to the pill bottle. Duplicated the entire bottle a few times, stretching the sizes here and there and positioning them in z-space for the camera pass. Then I set them up on a flat white square with a white gradient background and used the canned zoom move to imitate a snorkel camera pass. The whole thing took an hour to make including the render to avi.

Another time I made rectangular slabs and just mapped bitmaps to them to make a virtual "gallery" set for a quick greenscreen job. Looked like I spent a lot of time, took 15 minutes.

When my boys visit me at work thay like to use this program to quickly generate massive space cruisers and robots using the drawing tools, grouping, and extrusion.

I also use it as a sort of 3-d sketch pad to create virtual sets, simple set extensions and play with lighting schemes. It is not as limited an app as some folks thing, it depends on how you apply your imagination to it. This is a much less intimidating program than Lightwave, though it's certainly no competition. But it is a lot of fun in a cheap package.



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Del Holford
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 13, 2007 at 2:42:18 pm

Ditto!
and using Wingdings or Carta you can actually create some decent graphic elements. I use the build your own stars for debates opens. Render time is nothing compared to more complex systems.


Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television


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nelsonmay10
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 16, 2007 at 4:56:04 am

Thanks for the help. I have a PC but it is old and I am not sure how much I can do with it. If I go with Leopard then I can run Parallels, and XP in my MAC and go from there.

Again I appreciate the help. I just wished I had a machine that could run it properly.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 16, 2007 at 6:33:34 pm

Crystal 3d Impact Pro will run on a very old PC, not a problem. The kernel of the program is probably as old as you are:-)


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jjbutts
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 13, 2007 at 8:29:19 pm

I would recommend Blender if you have a couple of hours to spend learning your way around the interface. It's definitely intimidating at first glance, but for simple logo creation, shouldn't be beyond your grasp. A professor at Tufts University teaches a Blender class and has made his video tutorials available online. They're easy to follow and VERY comprehensive. Watch a few of these and you should be able to figure out what you need to do.

http://www.videocopilot.net/basic/index.html


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jjbutts
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 13, 2007 at 8:30:10 pm

oops. wrong url. here it is.

http://walkercreations.org/blender.html#Neal%20Hirsig%20Video%20Tutorials


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Arniepix
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 14, 2007 at 5:25:36 am

[jjbutts] "http://www.videocopilot.net/basic/index.html"

Holy crap! That's one loud web video intro!

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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ben scott
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 15, 2007 at 1:12:25 am

not a 3d guy but found these 3 programs

sketchup (google)
bryce 5.5 on download.com (cnet)
blender (from their site)

blender is full app

bryce is good for landscapes I think

sketchup is great for previsualisations and relatively easy I heard

also pfhoe is a cheap 3d tracker that can export to a few different apps

hope of help


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John Fishback
Re: Good cheap intuitive 3D software?
on Nov 15, 2007 at 3:16:03 pm

I believe that http://www.digitaljuice.com is still offering ZAXWORKS at half price. Same half off for Sorenson Squeeze.

John

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