I have version 4.2 and don't get to use it very often, therefore I seem to have plateaud in my ability to model. I need to upgrade my ability and I know that there's no substitute for good training (hands-on, book, or classroom). However, I just want to know, have things gotten easier in newer versions of software to the point that it will at least bring me one step closer to where I need to be? I'll fill you in on what I need to be able to do in a moment.
Also, I may be in need of an additional artist for a particular project that will require a small amount of animation with liquid, microscopic close-up of a particular fabric, and non-microscopic close-up of dust, dirt, grime, and damage to a poorly taken care of wood floor. This will not need to be photo-realistic, but needs to be effective in getting the point across and professional looking. It will be used on national broadcast for a direct-response commercial. I'll repost this in it's own thread, but I thought I'd give you guys first chance at it. If you're interested, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include contact information and a link to some samples if possible. You can include rates or we can discuss that after discussing the project if you like. You're location isn't important to me as I work long distance with almost everything I do.
Back to my original intent for this post: I need to be able to model and animate custom logos and titles, basic interier architectural objects and spaces, and 3d special effects for commercial or corporate "wow", not feature film fx or characters of any kind. Major problems I am having trouble getting past are boolean operations are not turning out as expected, I want bevels or curved chamfers on most everything to catch highlights and other than the basic shapes, I don't grasp the method to acheive them predictably, especially with text. I feel that Nurbs modelling might be something I need to learn, but I've never taken the time to master that. I also feel that some of my problems might be limitations of the software and I'm hoping that the newer versions may have corrected them. IE: boolean operations and text beveling. I've ordered a couple of training DVDs and will use them to learn more, but I really want to know if I would gain much (in the form of simplicity) by upgrading the software.
Maybe I should introduce another question here. With what I described that I need to be able to do, is Max the right tool for the job? Should I consider some lighter weight product that simplifies the process for me? I know I'd lose some power, and I'd still use Max when I need to. I just don't know if suplementing it with another tool is better or if upgrading it is better. Unfortunately, the budget won't allow both.
A hell of lot happend since 4.2 in almost every aspect of 3ds max. I wouldn't say it became easier, but much more effective, even for your purposes. Also the bouleans (Sorry, but who needs them anymore?) are improved.
Whats you fav. compositing tool? If it's combustion, I would defintely give you the advise to get an update. Meanwhile the integration is excelent.