Any modellign tool alternative to softimage?

Discussions about migration to other software
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Nizar
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Any modellign tool alternative to softimage?

Post by Nizar » 24 Aug 2014, 08:14

I'll continuing to use softimage (2013) for a long time, meantime, like others I look around for some good modelling and rendering alternative.

I working with dense meshes, lot of imported meshes from zbrush (sometime need to adjust some not manifold meshes, or need to retopology or some boolean operation), my main work is on characters for 3d printing and some conceptualization and still rendering. So need strong viewport, good and fast rigging tools (for posing my characters) and fast and efficient modelling tools.

In meantime extensively I tried Modo and blender. I think this will surprise many of you, but I found blender a better alternative than modo, even with mesh fusion, I found it limited in many way (too clicks everywhere and tool not so streamlined), and mesh fusion is not exactly so versatile as I expected, blender had a stronger viewport (need to enable VBO, strangely disable by default), in many cases faster tools, very good autorigging and paint weight tools very fast (near softiamge in this field (for the limited use I do of this tool). Also animation and playback capabilities is good and better than modo. But in both case is a step backward compared to softimage wise workflow (also I don't know exactly in what, but the first idea I had and have to day about softimage is "elegance")

Now, I fear this, but I never seriously tried Maya and 3dsm. The second seems to me too clicks/tabs addicted like modo (but in modo, anyway, you had the alternative to record a macro and put the most relevant/tedious task into a piemenu or shortcut), the first one... well, is Maya... What appealing me in both are the fast viewport, what I fear is ADSK and turn back to subscription model I really hate.

iamVFX
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Re: Any modellign tool alternative to softimage?

Post by iamVFX » 24 Aug 2014, 08:44

Nizar wrote:In meantime extensively I tried Modo and blender. I think this will surprise many of you, but I found blender a better alternative than modo, even with mesh fusion
Not surprising at all, it's the only Blender's feature that polished enough to be useful (with dynamic sculpting). Why not stick with it? Besides slow viewport, of course.

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Nizar
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Re: Any modellign tool alternative to softimage?

Post by Nizar » 24 Aug 2014, 10:13

iamVFX wrote:
Nizar wrote:In meantime extensively I tried Modo and blender. I think this will surprise many of you, but I found blender a better alternative than modo, even with mesh fusion
Not surprising at all, it's the only Blender's feature that polished enough to be useful (with dynamic sculpting). Why not stick with it? Besides slow viewport, of course.
I'll follow blender developers in future, for sure, but somethings seems will not cage anyway soon, or, probably, is not a priority for blender foundation (so any ETA). Viewport FX is in development from release 2.6 (if I'm not wrong), but nothing coming out at to day. This remember me bmesh project (ngons in blender), a long project waited for 4 years before arrived, this because modelling is not a priority for Blender foundation. The some seems for viewport performance, not exactly a priority (strange...)

Also, there is something weird into base workflow cannot be caged so easily (even if they want cage it, and I know they don't want cage) :
- a double action centrer/mode: you need to select the global, local, normal, gimbal (cannot understood what is...) and view and, in another menu, median, individual, boundingbox, 3d cursor active element. IMHO years backward (and awkward) compared to XSI
- Cannot edit two objects at some time. Not so terrible (even houdini or zbrush cannot edit two object at some time), but frustrating. In particular this is frustrating if you considering you must exit/enter by edit mode/object mode for select a new object (see next point).
- Is designed to work in separate rooms: so you need to enter sculpt mode for call a sculpt brush, exit sculpt mode and enter object for select another object, need to exit object mode and enter in pose mode for move you bones, exit pose mode and enter weight paint mode etc. etc. etc. Not so drammatic after you are used to this type of workflow, but to be honest I don't like.

Blender has many other nice things (the bone/rigging workflow very similar to XSI), nice cycles rendering, all you need to complete a job (is not a DCC but a complete suit with compositor, rendering, animation, sculpt, poly modelling, paint etc.), also is free (but donation is well accepted), but the points interesting me is not so well covered

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csaez
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Re: Any modellign tool alternative to softimage?

Post by csaez » 24 Aug 2014, 10:53

Nizar wrote:The some seems for viewport performance, not exactly a priority (strange...)
In terms of performance there's a big overhauling to the dependency graph going on (multithreading), this is a big deal and affects the way everything is evaluated internally... performance is a priority, but it takes time ;)

iamVFX
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Re: Any modellign tool alternative to softimage?

Post by iamVFX » 24 Aug 2014, 11:19

csaez wrote:performance is a priority, but it takes time ;)
Yep, last change in GSOC branch was made 6 weeks ago, not fast, but at least it's not abandoned :)

Your points are valid too, Nizar, not sure if they will be addressed by developers in near future, but I think your last issue can be solved with custom scripts...

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Nizar
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Re: Any modellign tool alternative to softimage?

Post by Nizar » 24 Aug 2014, 12:33

Thanks for your reply guys.

I guessed was not a priority due the facts is not directly Blender Foundation team involved in this task, but is done by a single Gsoc guy. Also the some guy work on it from some time now (this is the Viewport FX III, I missing the other two)

Scripting? is already too much that I can type in (worse) english on a keyboard ... :)

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Mathaeus
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Re: Any modellign tool alternative to softimage?

Post by Mathaeus » 24 Aug 2014, 14:27

Blender, definitively. I'm always impressed how they are able to add something smart and useful to classic modeling tool set, every 3 or 4 month. Still keeping the things enough clean. It's the app that covers the most of XSI style, plus nice refinements like select loop inner region (how to select the particular branch of tree like structure without this), variances of SI custom Taut operator (integrated loop tools), integrated "make regular circle from edges", all that non-destructive extrusion along curve options, so on. Personally I can live with only-one-object-at-once editing, as long it is only the modeling stage, no big deal to join the meshes.
UV tools too, I use Blender UV since they introduced auto unwrapping, long time ago.
Performance actually it's not issue for my appetites, as long as it is only modeling work.
However there's lack of things like deform by Nurbs op - afaik one guy worked on GSOC on NurBS, but imho in wrong direction, trying to add filleting and such - instead of better communication between Blender NurbS and rest of app. This applies to rigging, too. No constrains to Nurbs in Blender.
However I could understand the "ideological" reason, if someone builds reputation on modeling, using only Blender is probably not a good idea in this capitalistic world. Using the free app sounds not serious. Imho wrong, but it is a fact.

Recently I had idea to model in Maya, because of imho nice ability to convert polys to NURBS and go back, all that NURBS tools too - but it took me two evening to find how to re-order the deforming ops, without rewiring about ten connections in hypergraph ( there's special window for that, if anyone wants to know) - so, left this idea for better future.

Regarding Modo, for me it is a nice, compact app when it comes to scene assembly and rendering, of course, again in bounds of my one-man-band home-use reality. It has nice built-in, can-do-everything renderer which behaves pretty much the same with various features like displacement, all sort of GI, particles and so on. Has groups for scene organizing, has render passes - not strong as SI, but let's say useful. Has nice import of user normals, for imported meshed NurBS.
Modo modeling, with overworked tweaking part, and so small set of operators, but not accepted as modeling operators too (as in Maya, not easy to do simple re-order of ops), buttons are dispersed all around all Modo rooms - so nothing of that for me, at least nothing more than setting the hard edge here and there.
The renderer "turtle" used by this scene, is not currently available. The "turtle" renderer will be used instead.

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