Need advice on 3D software

in Mac Software edited January 2014
Folks, I know that some of you are graphics pros. Here's my question for you.

I need to create some infinite number of photo-realistic images of glass bottles and alluminium cans with labels for print. The labels are, of course, readily available in artwork.

1. By photo-realism I mean that images should not look like they were hacked up in CorelDraw in 10 minutes, not necessarily be indistinguishable from photos, but their quality (in terms of colour and lighting effects) should be good enough for print.

2. The software should be more or less easy to use for this task. I played with Infini-D and Bryce several years ago and found that they were much easier than 3DStudio, the UI of which I just could not dig. I am not an artist by any means, but I am very fluent with consistently-written software. You know what I mean.

3. It's desirable (though not required) that rendered images could be of a potentially large size/resolution, like A1 @ 300 dpi.

4. The software should be stable enough for everyday use.

5. The software should run on Mac OS X.

I don't think I will need anything more than cans and bottles, though these should look tasty.

Thanks in advance.


  • Reply 1 of 8
    I think any true 3D pro will tell you the same: if you want photo-realism, it doesn't matter what tool you use. Cinema 4D, Maya, LightWave, Blender... they can all produce fantastic, convincing photo-realistic images and would all fit your criteria above (#2 being the only debatable one). The differences are mainly just in the UI and the extra little tools and features that speed up the modeling process.

    That said, I'm personally a fan of Cinema 4D. It's rock-solid on my system. I don't think it's ever crashed before. I like the button-driven UI much better than the text-driven UI of LightWave. Maxon has a sample "photorealism" gallery that shows off its capabilities nicely.

    Now, keep in mind that a lot of those images could be done just as well in the other apps, as I mentioned before.

    Choosing your 3D app is like a painter choosing his brushes. It's a very personal thing and is becoming less about which tools have which features.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    mayamaya Posts: 28member
    If all you want to do is render stills of bottles and cans for print - I couldn't recommend Maya. It comes with the Mental Ray render which can produce exquisite imeges, but It's total overkill for print work. I think Cinema 4D has one of the nicest renders out there, and is quite a fast ray tracer. Lightwave has a nice renderer too, but you said you like standard interfaces.

    One often overlooked app is ElectricImage Universe. They have a version called the 3D toolkit for UD$99 which includes heaps of training material from Alex Lindsay (formerly of ILM).

    They have a demo that you can download and test drive. Good luck...
  • Reply 3 of 8
    costiquecostique Posts: 1,084member
    Thank you. I will look at Cinema first.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    leonisleonis Posts: 3,427member
    The naked truth: Brad works for Maxon
  • Reply 5 of 8
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Carrara Studio 3 is really pretty slick, although not as popular (and not nearly as expensive) as the big hitter apps already mentioned here.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    i grew up on strata studio pro back in the day when they were still somewhat relevant to the industry. haven't had much need to pick up a 3d app since i left school though. i doubt they ever did much to improve the app. to bad, it was pretty easy to get some slick looking results.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    leonisleonis Posts: 3,427member

    Originally posted by Moogs

    Carrara Studio 3 is really pretty slick, although not as popular (and not nearly as expensive) as the big hitter apps already mentioned here.

    I always prefer people to stay away from this app due to its ultra-cluttery interface and workflow

    I used RayDream Studio in the past and I was so fed up with the way this apps works....workflow is totally awful.

    Doing spline modeling in one environment, doing organic modeling in another environment, doing animation in another environment, blah blah blah.

    Carrara is exactly the same as RDS' workflow. I tried it for a few days (it was way back when v1 came out, and I wasn't using Cinema at that moment) and just quitted.

    This app (Carrara)In terms of features (for the price) I give it 7 out of 10

    But for workflow, I give it -2 (MINUS TWO) out of 10
  • Reply 8 of 8
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    My fav. modeling software is Form Z, but the rendering takes a lot more work to get it looking great. Form Z can produce better images than Cinema 4D or Lightwave but it doesn't make stuff look good right off the bat. It expects you to fill in textures, lighting, environment stuff on your own, the defaults aren't that helpful. For example, Cinema 4D and Lightwave can whip up a chrome look with little context and lighting, but if Form Z doesn't have anything to reflect, it won't look reflective. Form Z's rendering is also slower, though it does have network rendering built in now.

    It's common practice to model stuff in one app and render in another too though that sounds like overkill in your case.

    And, yes, 3D Max is awful.
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