3d forums home Resources for 3d artists

Lightwave, Strata 3D, or Cinema 4D

Posted: April 23, 2008
Hi folks. Just entered the forum here, first time. Thank you for making this available to me and to others.

I'm a graphic designer/illustrator and I've decided that I need to jump into 3D modeling and I'm looking for some recommendations as to which product might suit me best. I do have limited experience in the 3D world, from a few years back, with Macromedia's "Extreme 3D" and more recently with SketchUp, so even though I've MUCH to learn, I'm not going in totally cold, either.

I use a Power Mac G5 dual (1.8 ghz), 10.4.x OS with 3 gigs of RAM.

I anticipate using the modeler mostly for 'still' illustration for print, that is, without animation. However, I do expect to do some limited animation for informational graphics which might be published to the web. I'm certainly NOT interested in "full blown" animation, for lack of a better description. Just simple stuff. I think my emphasis would be product illustration.

Currently I have demos for Lightwave, Cinema 4D and Strata 3D and have been experimenting with each of them.

At this point, I have to say I'm leaning heavily toward Strata. I'm far more comfortable with Strata's user interface than with the other two. I am under the impression that Lightwave is probably significantly more powerful than Strata, but I'm not sure I would use all of that, either. I like the way Strata integrates with Illustrator and Photoshop. I notice that Strata, however, doesn't offer layers and it doesn't appear to offer nearly as many primitives as LW or Cinema 4D.

LW's UI is, to me, a bit like going back to MS-DOS. Yes, that's an exaggeration, but it's NOT very user-friendly. Still, I'd be willing to live with it if I was convinced that there were significant advantages. I was experimenting with LW this morning, trying to model a gear, and I noticed what seemed like "bugginess" in some of the controls. Sometimes buttons wouldn't work or numeric values wouldn't take effect or seemed to change spontaneously. That makes me a little nervous.

Cinema 4D, I think, is at the bottom of my list. It looks like it has some neat features, and I like the way some of the tools and controls function, but the online support doesn't seem to be there and I don't like the UI. (though it's not as bad as LW) I don't find any online tutorials (not for free, anyway) that'll help me at least get acquainted with the software and the user guide PDF that I downloaded was, well, pathetic.

I'd appreciate any input on this decision. Will I be likely to kick myself for not getting Lightwave? Any 'objective' comparisons between the programs would be MUCH appreciated.

Thank you so much.

Posted: April 23, 2008
3d artist gallery Andyba
Hi TroutMac, I don't know too much about strata 3d but I've used Lightwave and Cinema4d and both are very good 3d design softwares with robust tools that are more than enough for illustration purposes.
Cinema4D has some great 3d texture painting tools.

For modeling and illustration you may also consider Modo.
Posted: April 24, 2008

Thanks very much for your recommendation. I was not aware of Modo and I've now downloaded the demo version and am watching tutorials. If you were to combine Lightwave and Cinema 4D, I think Modo is what you get. I like the interface and the way some of the tools work. The interface just beats the snot out of Lightwave.

Strata 3D was at the top of my list, but now Modo is, with Strata 3D in 2nd place. I'm struggling a bit with the Modo demo… seems inconsistent at times. But to a relative newbie like myself, they all seem inconsistent or buggy. Probably just operator error.

Thanks very much for your suggestion. VERY helpful.

Posted: February 13, 2009
3d artist gallery Andyba
I took a look at strata 3d and it is a really nice program. It can be integrated with adobe photoshop what makes it effective for illustrations.
Posted: April 20, 2009

I have uesd Strata and Lightwave before.

Seriously, I think Lightwave is better...
Posted: July 16, 2009
i am in exactly the same situation. the problem is there's a case made for each product here! I cant decide
Posted: July 17, 2009
3d artist gallery Andyba
TRoutMac wrote:
If you were to combine Lightwave and Cinema 4D, I think Modo is what you get. I like the interface and the way some of the tools work. The interface just beats the snot out of Lightwave.

Regarding the interface you are right modo interface is one of the best out there. It also has very strong 3d modeling and texturing as well as rendering tools. It is perfect for creating ingame characters, baking the textures and so on. But LightWave 3d and Cinema 4d are mature animation packages, they have a lot of professional animation tools which modo 301 doesn't, animation in modo 301 is very basic . They have announced more animation tools in modo 4 but I didn't check them out yet. In general I think that if they will make the animation tools as good and smart as the modeling tools they implemented, then modo will be a very strong software competing with 3ds Max, Maya and Softimage.

i am in exactly the same situation. the problem is there's a case made for each product here! I cant decide

Actually you can download a demo and try it yourself. Only then you will really be able to decide. And I would advice you to download the trials and try them one at a time, only this way you will manage to learn them deep enough during the trial period to objectively appreciate their tools.
Posted: July 30, 2009
Hey TRoutMac, i did not finish reading the whole responses for your question, but i'll give you my part of the answer. You can definitely start with Blender, yes it is a free software but you can still create professional work, whether images or animation. To make it better you can always download the LuxRender engine to make it more photorealistic. One you get the basics dow(but remember the most important part of CG illustration is modeling and how to unwrap it correctly, they are again the most important things in the 3d world). Currently i'm trying to make a transition from Blender to Cinema 4D. The reason why the transition part its because studios require you to know the program, for some reason everyone is afraid of using free software. Also it will be easier for you to learn Cinema 4D after Blender, because Blender is very hard to master or to even learn, it has a big learning curve. Hey, but its free and professional. About Cinema 4D. It is actually the best program for CG Illustration and Matt Painting, so if you ever get it, or your trying to get it, don't have any doubt's about it. Hands down the best.
Posted: January 04, 2011
Don't waste your time with Modo if you going after animation and rigging, it simply does not support those things at the moment. Other than that it is a very good box modeling tool with a lack of support for certain file formats and nurbs modeling non existent. It does however have some amazing coloring and materials options but personally I didn't like Modo enough to delve further. What put me off about it was its space age design, the views are just not intuitive enough to work with and I don't even get why they have quad grids?!

Only reason I would recommend Modo is one because 1: its from the same people that brought us Lightwave 2.: It seems to have a fan base.

I would recommend Cinema 4d if your into more of a logical setup and flow when it comes to modeling and animation.
Posted: March 28, 2011
Daniel Smith
Hello All,

I am also just new to this community. I don't have more knowledge about 3D but i have some 3D software in my computer and my computer is very slow so can anyone tell me what should be the minimum configuration of a computer to install any 3D software ?

Thanks In advance !

Daniel Smith