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3d occasional user: software recommendation

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Bob Cole
3d occasional user: software recommendation
on Mar 6, 2013 at 7:06:51 pm

Long ago, I tried to learn 3dsMax. I slipped on the learning curve and never got to the top of the mountain. I still think very highly of the program, though my needs are too occasional for me to justify the expense and time to learn it.

Could you experts recommend a "lighter" program, for a non-sophisticated user? I've been working with After Effects, which can transcend its 2d nature with the use of cameras. But I suspect there is a better option. I do not need character animation -- just shapes and objects.


Bob C

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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: 3d occasional user: software recommendation
on Mar 6, 2013 at 8:00:18 pm

Hi Bob -

As a 3DS Max user of over 10 years, I understand your pain. The learning curve is steep, and there's always something new to learn with every project.

As an After Effects user, you might want to take a look at VideoCopilot's Element 3D, a great way to get real 3D objects into AE. It has its' limits, though, as do any of the 3D "add ons". There's also Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator, which has been around for a long time, as well as Freeform Pro, from Mettle. As of AE CS6, there are some ways to get extruded text right in AE, but these are limited as well, and if you don't have an Nvidia card, you'll wait forever...

Now to the real 3D stuff. In the broadcast TV world, and other arenas, Cinema 4D seems to be a standard. I've never used it, but colleagues tell me it's got a slightly less steep learning curve than 3DS Max, and it plays well with After Effects on many fronts. There's also Blender a free 3D package, which packs a lot of capability, but, in my opinion, with as steep, if not steeper, learning curve than Max, due to a clunky interface. That said, I only played around with Blender for a short time, and having been a Max user for so long, I was probably looking for the same toolset, and got confused by having to learn an entirely new workflow. I'd say that's it for the "simple" 3D packages...but in my opinion, there's no such thing.

I'd say that for shapes and objects, you should take a hard look at VideoCopilot's Element 3D...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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