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bsm3d
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# Posted: 21 Sep 2007 14:01:28 Edited by: bsm3d


Hello,

Here is a forum thread where you can speak and give your comments about the 3D applications comparisons table article.

Read Article





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# Posted: 23 Sep 2007 19:44:06


Hi,

interesting article overall - but I have to question a number of your Blender evaluations - which seem to have a number of errors - in some areas you seem to overvalue it greatly and in others you seem to undervalue significantly. I'll add misc comments as I go down the list.

First market - do you mean the current primary market usage? Or something else? The GE isn't really a 'market' for Blender. For current usage I'd say either arch viz, or freelance game content creators.

Price - would be good if you include the dollar price also

Industries populated - this might be right, but I'm curious as to your source - Rocarelli report or a guess?

Learning path to be productive - none of these ratings make sense? Productive in what capacity? Using what learning resources? Productive when coming from another 3D application? Or productive having never used another 3D application before?

Modeling? UV Unwrapping? Animating? Mastery of the entire feature set?

For instance for Blender if one purchases "Essential Blender" and/or "Character Animation with Blender" you should be reasonably productive in a few days for most areas of interest. In a few day training program high school students were taught to model, uv unwrap, texture, rig, skin, animate, light and render in Blender. For the feature film Plumiferos, new animators from other packages were able to get up to speed in a very short time. Reports I've heard is that 2 weeks is the time it takes for a generalist from another 3D app to become productive in Blender. If they are focused only on one area it ranges from less than an hour (sculpting) to an hour or so (UV mapping) to two days (animation).

If you are talking about productivity from never having used a 3D app before (traditional artists learning a new tool) then Blender is going to be about the same as any other package assuming one purchases 'Essential Blender'.


Even using the old Blender Manual, the time of learning wasn't that long.

Interface - 'Not for beginner' - actually beginners find the interface fairly easy to learn if they are taught it. It is experienced 'single app' users who want it to work like Maya/3DS Max who tend to have a serious learning block for it (trainers for those applications seem to have an easy time of picking it up though). Similarly those who think that a 3D application should be learned without ever reading a manual, quick start guide, or viewing a video tutorial.

documentation - what do these ratings mean? Good might be an overrating - depends on what is included in the rating - just the manual and wiki? Official publications? Official tutorials? Community documentation? Community tutorials? Third party?


Import/Export - Blenders has very mixed quality of support (as do most industry Apps for that matter)- first it would be valuable to use separate ratings for both import and export. Also instead of 'okay, low, robust' quantifying things would be useful - for instance geometry, materials, shaders, skeletons, skinning, animation, empties, lights etc. perhaps assign a number corresponding to each level -

so say a format that supported full animation, but a exporter only support geometry and materials might get 2/7 whereas a exporter with full support 6/6 and a format that supports only geometry and materials 2/2.

Collada - Blenders export has through skinning and animation, import is much weaker- export might be reasonable to call robust (I feel that might be overstating still) but import certainly not - also Blender doesn't support shaders at all for either import or export which I would think would be a requirement for a robust rating.

FBX - blenders export is good (pretty much everything most users will need), import is barely begun - robust might be reasonable for export, but not import

obj - blender has very good import and export, yet you inexplicably rate them 'low' (material splitting on import can be disable - it is done due to the 16 material limit inside of Blender)

point oven - we support the MDD format for import and export which is 90% of what point oven is used for - (point oven is three formats, but rarely is usage other than MDD used) yet you rate it 'none'

DXF - our import is now fairly reasonable, export is quite weak (note that import has two different listings one is the older 'C' importer, and then there is a far more recent and robust python importer)


Rendering - your ratings seem fairly reasonable, I'd say Indigo is also a 'must have' for Blender, if you are doing stills and want ridiculous quality regardless of the time.

For texture baking - would be interested in what constitutes robust (I think your rating is probably reasonable for Blenders but having an idea of what you consider a Robust texture baker consists of would be nice)


Top Base package

animation tools - first a single category is kinda silly - this is a huge category - at the very least I'd split it into pipelines that are motion capture driven and character animation pipelines.

Also for character animation pipelines I'd cover rigging, skinning, morph target creation, and fair amount of sub areas for animation itself.

Another area might be automated rigging.

If one is only interested in a motion capture driven pipeline I can see a possible reason for a low rating for Blender, but it doesn't make much sense otherwise.

uv tools - it seems strange that you give bodypaint an 'excellent' and Blenders a 'very good' - Blenders are widely acknowledged as the best in the industry.

modeling - 'All set' - this rating seems meaningless - Mayas SDS modeling tools are widely considered crap without add ons. XSI is considered quite good. Blenders lack fgons, and a decent Bevel, but is considered a rapid poly by poly work flow. Also Blender has multiresolution sculpt modeling and a retopology brush.

Modifiers - I've heard some very glowing/envious compliments of Blenders modifier stack from users of other major packages. So I'm curious what constitutes a 'low' rating?

NURBS - no argument here

Dynamics - is this rigid body only or soft body also? Or do you include soft body dynamics under cloth?

Cloth - Blender has a softbody solver that has self collision - most packages call that cloth (Plumifeos is using it for animating the cloth of their primary villain character for instance).

Top Unique feature - multiresolution mesh sculpting; Compositing; and integrated game engine are all fairly unique - 3D artists generally consider the first two quite impressive and useful. The GE is generally of less interest (nice for 3D walkthroughs and such but not really all that practical for professional users)

Price - again, it would be good to do Euros and Dollars prices

Job and industry penetration - I'd be interested with your method for the numbers. The only accurate numbers I'm aware of on this are from the Rocarelli Report.

Are you talking jobs in established studios or as freelance or something else?

max - I'd agree with your jobs rating
maya - agreed
Cinema4d - hmm I think VFX isn't that strong for Cinema4D
lightwave - agreed
XSI - agreed
Blender - I think you are way underestimating for VIZ/Design and Game - that is where a lot of Blender professionals make their living

How are you judging user communities and popularity? I suspect your numbers for Blender are drastically off the others I have no idea.

For instance Blenders US popularity is fairly close to its European popularity. For asia - Russia, Japan, and coastal China, and coastal India there is a fairly reasonably sized communities but not sure how they compare with other communities of other 3D applications.

Are Medical, Educational, and Industrial Communication under VIZ/Design?

Where is TV - is that under Film?

Thanks for the interesting article, hopefully you find my comments useful.

LetterRip


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# Posted: 23 Sep 2007 20:06:11


Thanks for reply LetterRip :-) I will reply to you when finished to read all you comments ;)

Great analyse of my work, thanks !



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# Posted: 24 Sep 2007 00:27:57


For unique features I forgot to mention integrated 'non linear video editor'.

Also I hope you in the future have a look at Houdini (the one 'high end' 3D suite that is missing) and possibly Caligari Truespace.

LetterRip


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# Posted: 24 Sep 2007 00:41:56 Edited by: bsm3d


you right for this unique features, I will add it to the article now :-)

I fixed the soft and rigid bodies mistakes :-) Rigid is for dynamics and soft for cloths of course.

For render I hesitated from yafray and indigo a long, weel I put both because it's both excellent

I will reply all you questions soon, please be patient



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# Posted: 25 Sep 2007 23:41:01


First, I must say that I am a CG beginner.

This is precisely why I disagree with Benoit when he writes that blender is "NOT FOR BEGINNERS".
Blender is so far the only 3D software I have tried, so I can't make no comparison, but I can tell about my experience.

I first tried Blender in May 2007 because I wanted to render 3D knobs for a VST effect's interface. I had to animate them, and I wanted them to seem realistic. I didn't know what was raytracing, and even the word of "polygons" was an ancient school notion for me.

I also must say that the "price" was determinant : a first acceptable classical guitar costs 200 euros in France, not 400 or more. And there are no "missing features".

About a week later, I could do some satisfying (in my point of view) sliders and knobs, with cool (always to my taste) shadows and reflections. So even if it's a modest result, I can confirm what Letterrip says about beginners.

What I can't deny is :
- the interface (many small buttons everywhere, lots of keyboard shortcuts to learn)
- no "central" and organized" documentation

But the first issue is not really a problem. I really like this interface, because a lot of tools are accessible at any moment for the user. For a beginner, I think it's really important to try many times the same operation, with different settings (especially when dealing with materials). Being "forced" to learn all this shortcuts allows to do quickly each operation (without having to click in a menu...), like in a simulator game, and it really accelerated my learning curve, because I did not have to. (I wish I had learned Cubase's shortcuts as fast as I did Blender.)

The second issue is sometimes annoying. But I found very quickly a lot of useful tutorials on the Net. "Noob to pro" in wikibooks is weird but it's beginner section works well, even for a poor lonesome french speaker who doesn't read faster than his shadow. The wiki manual is generally very understandable, too. And there are also many good tutorials in forums, because the open source mentality is in favor of knowledge sharing and there are a lot of users. This is really a force, because different work-styles are met in these forums and tutorials.

Good books seem to exist as well, even in french ! (La 3D facile avec blender, par cet excellent Feeblemind) - but I haven't read them.

The only problem I met is about theory : as most tutorials are very practical, very few of them explain "why" doing things this way or another. But this is not Blender's fault !

As I wrote before, I can't say Blender is "easier" for beginners than other tools. But I think its conception and its community really encourage a fast learning curve. So as a beginner, I really recommend it to all fellows newbies.

I hope this message isn't too long, and my english not to catastrophic. Merci pour ce comparatif, Benoît, et à bientôt !

Letterrip, 0 euros = 0 dollars. I can guarantee you !


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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 00:01:18 Edited by: bsm3d


Hello Eutrot,

First thanks for take time to reply to this tread and my article ;) I always appreciated feedback as constructive :-)

So sorry LetterRip to don't reply you yet...

I will try to reply to all for sure, and to cut off some rhumors, I'm using Blender since version 1.72...and I like it.

First, I must say that I am a CG beginner.

This is precisely why I disagree with Benoit when he writes that blender is "NOT FOR BEGINNERS".
Blender is so far the only 3D software I have tried, so I can't make no comparison, but I can tell about my experience.

From Benoît : Are you self learning it ? All today trained students in college have the Adobe / Autodesk interface in mind...F1 for help, Papers docs and tons of DVD training... That's why all the peoples who was tested blender as beginner probably reported me some difficult to learn it opposed to commercial package, for a beginner in CG try to found docs and help about Beldner is not so easy when he don't know where to find...(For me Blender is easy...) but not industry yet standard in interface


What I can't deny is :
- the interface (many small buttons everywhere, lots of keyboard shortcuts to learn)
- no "central" and organized" documentation

From Benoît : It's one big laks of blender...Not centralised datas


I hope this message isn't too long, and my english not to catastrophic. Merci pour ce comparatif, Benoît, et à bientôt !

From Benoît : My english also is not so best :-) sorry for that's but I would like offer this article to the world




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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 00:43:48


Well, that kind of comparison is very hard to do but you've done as well as the next guy.

I've been a Max user first up to version 4 and I am a Rhino 3 user.
But I've been a Blender user for 5 years now and, more and more, it is becoming my main app for archiviz and design, no contest.

Now just a few minor points:
OBJ import/export ranks first IMHO. Explain how you came to that conclusion that it is of low quality?
SDK... well, if one wants to develop for Blender they have access to everything in the code and to a full community of developers, very good ones, to help them: this has to compensate for a few weaknesses, no?
Interface: very efficient, very flexible, very strange at first sight... except for the 10 years old I teach on Sundays apparently. (True story). You consider it a weakness and many, many othre a strong point.
Support is the best, no contest. There are the users an Python scripters at BlenderArtists.org and there are the developpers at Blender.org, something you overlooked. I know of no problem that hasn't been solved in a matter of hours, 1-2 day at most.

I think that Blender has the brightest future ahead.

OK, I stop there.

Thanks for the article.

Jean


bsm3d
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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 00:50:05 Edited by: bsm3d


Hello IamInnocent,

My replies :

OBJ import/export ranks first IMHO. Explain how you came to that conclusion that it is of low quality?

Loading sometimes freezing, material are not always yet get back and try to load 50 mor emega bytes OBJ files crash Blender, event in 2.45

SDK... well, if one wants to develop for Blender they have access to everything in the code and to a full community of developers, very good ones, to help them: this has to compensate for a few weaknesses, no?

That's a good point of courses but no more points for that's :-)

Interface: very efficient, very flexible, very strange at first sight... except for the 10 years old I teach on Sundays apparently. (True story). You consider it a weakness and many, many othre a strong point.
Support is the best, no contest. There are the users an Python scripters at BlenderArtists.org and there are the developpers at Blender.org, something you overlooked. I know of no problem that hasn't been solved in a matter of hours, 1-2 day at most.

Users communities as replied isn't bad point for Blender :-) it's the most active !

I think that Blender has the brightest future ahead.

I hope so !



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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 06:54:03


bsm3d,

you've been 'blendernationed' so you might see a fair number of Blenderheads posting,

Eutrot, I'd like the dollar amounts because I think this is a quite useful chart (even if I disagree with some of the findings) and it would make it more useful to non European readers to have dollar amounts.

LetterRip


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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 07:00:11


bsm3d,

it would be appreciated if you could email me

LetterRip AT gmail dot com - the files that are failing and I'll have the OBJ maintainer have a look.

I do look forward to your response on my other points, and greatly appreciate you doing such an article since one has been long needed.

LetterRip


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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 11:33:41


For OBJ I can't, not now...Two reasons :

- it's not public files

- My test files are deleted

But ! I promise to send you (give you ftp to download if :-) ) when I have one new !

Is that's ok fo ryou ?



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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 11:54:04


Hey guys!
Another Blender user jumping in to say: Very insightful and interesting read. I've been wanting something like this for a while. Also, expect a few more Blender users over the next few days, coz as LetterRip said, you have been blendernationed. More hits for you!
The only thing that I didn't agree on was: No Vue 6Xstream support. I emailed Vue a few weeks back asking this exact same question. They replied with. "Vue exports to many formats that Blender is capable of importing." Such as 3ds max etc.

But other than that spot on!


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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 12:15:47


RedByte :

I love Vue as my favourites play tools :-) so I prefer us Vue 6 with blender using Open EXR ! xStream with 3ds max (as you speack about) is a bit...unstable !

Vue and Blender work very well, As I now E-onsoftware, no doubt Blender get attention from their dev. !



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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 13:47:55


This is an great review. I'm currently working on a thesis "Blender vs. 3ds Max", and this is great material for it.
I just have one question, what does the word 'robust' mean in this review? This is the first time i've ever heard that word and I don't know, if it's a good or a bad thing, if some feature is robust. Also the words Poor and Low are a bit confusing also.
I suggest, that the features will be rated with one simple style, like very bad, bad, good, very good, excellent.

But for me this article is great. This kind of work needs alot of time and patience. This is a kind of research which would need a bunch of people, testing all the features completely on each program, reporting everything precisely etc. What i mean that it would be a HUGE project, if it would be done in a scientific sort of way, and it still would't please everyone.


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# Posted: 26 Sep 2007 14:10:22


Hello,

I'm happy to contribute helping your thesis :-)

ROBUST in english would like say : Strong ! very good features, no real troubles when use it.
EXCELLENT = is Strong, more stable like parfect !



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# Posted: 27 Sep 2007 19:51:38


Jarsi,

see also

http://wiki.cgsociety.org/index.php/Comparison_of_3d_tools

and see the blender wikipedia page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blender_%28software%29

LetterRip


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# Posted: 27 Sep 2007 23:47:53


About the prices...

I only put euro because the prices in US is half cutted !

per eg. 3dsmax in us is about 3.500 usd and in europe about 5.000 euro... if we get current currency change normally 3ds max in europe must be +- 2.500 euro...

so why many big compagnies double the prices when dealling with european customers ? give me the answer and I'm happy !



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# Posted: 28 Sep 2007 17:55:38


Hi all,

After read all comments and getting a lot of emails (damned) I don't realise my article do this all sounds... I re read all and updated somes parts we I accidentaly inverted data or not be clear enough.

I'm correct spelling my bad english, I hope again it's better.

I hope it's better now !



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# Posted: 8 Nov 2007 15:00:31


Hi all,

After few weeks of again hard work I updated the comparison table, the most updated is th ecoming of Luxology Modo.

Many typo mistakes was fixed.



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# Posted: 4 Dec 2008 02:47:41


When I read the articel, only two softwares catches my eyes, Maya and 3dsMax. I know Blender just recently (just few days before reading this article) so...

Anyway, from all this comparison, how different actually, the quality of animation between 3dsMax and Maya (since one get excellent score and the other only get good/very good score).

The same with 3d pictures quality between Maya and 3dsMax?

BTW, I'm completely new in 3d field (I usually messing up with 2d ones).


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# Posted: 22 Jan 2010 01:18:01


That discussion is very old. Now we are in 2010. Do you know where I can find a new comparison of these applications?


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# Posted: 22 Jan 2010 01:21:29


Hi,

It's true and a new version are coming with 2010 updates (3ds max 2010, maya 2010, softimage 2010, blender 2.5,...)

we waiting for blender 2.5 before working on the new version, I hope you can please wait a bit, it's an hard work to-do.

so feel free to ask me what's you want to know :-)



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# Posted: 3 Oct 2010 16:24:11


I'd like to request some advice ....

I'm interested in using some of the software listed here for modeling Athletic (Track and Field) events ... along the lines of real physics/human motion kinda of things.

Can anyone make a strong argument in favor of one package or another considering this application?

Many thanks in advance .....


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# Posted: 3 Oct 2010 17:35:16


Human Motion, Have you already watched about FaceRobot ?

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?siteID=123112&id=1242604 1



Anthony



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