Better modeling applications? ( Need recommendations)

I often see people say that Blender’s modeling tools are inferior compared to modeling tools of other programs, and its own other tools.

I’d like to try out at least one new program for modeling and see if I can do things better/faster.
Any particular program you would recommend from your experience with it? (Open source or otherwise)

I mostly model mechanical objects, and plan to stick to blender for other things, so I don’t mind if the program sucks at everything else.

Heard Wings 3D is a good one.

Don’t believe those that say blender sucks! for polygon/subdivision modelling it’s pretty good. It’s slightly more convoluted for "box " modelling because it lacks ngons and a point to point edge slice tool (both addressed in bmesh branch) but I use it becasue it’s fast and capable for large architectural scenes, character modelling and vehicles…

Try wings or th bmesh branch but beware, wings has a bit of a clunky UI…

For mechanical modelling you may want to look more at nurbs, so Rhino or MOI would be worth a shot (both are commercial) Birails, fillets, lofts etc is a slightly different mindset… You could try sketchup (it’s free) which is fine when you use it by itself… when you export it generally produces pretty horrible tangled messes… you can learn how to work around that, but the restrictions it applies make the use of sketchup pointless IMO…

There is also CSG modelling where you start with primitives and cobble them together using booleans. Because you’re dealing with solids rather than polygons this works well… again, like sketchup the export needs to convert to polys so may be less then good!

for mechanical modeling its kind of lacking when it comes to chamfering and bevels, I am appending most of my car models to 2.49 for that but even there bevel is kind of lacking.

I tried the bmesh version but it also falls apart for complex model as does the 2.5 addon one I tried.

Wings is for box modeling there is no poly by poly modeling and if you are not comfortable with that style of modeling than you are really going to be stuck I have never done box modeling for mechanical stuff but for characters it alright

For a pure modeler you could look at something like Silo. about $100 for core and $150 for the pro version. Honestly if it is just mechanical modeling than Blender Achilles’ heel is just beveling.

The solution for lack of good beveling in Blender is to use Subsurf modifier on everything!
Simple, dynamic, easy to adjust… just produces a bunch of polygons more than a basic mesh, but who doesn’t have a opti-core with 16 gigs today?

exactly, in wings its better to just set all the shortcut keys to match blenders and forget about the UI completely. That’s the only way I can get anything done in it, but it is way better for box modeling once the keys and 3d view navigation is changed to blender style.

Does Bmesh still only export triangles? I can’t wait until it can export obj with 4 sided polygons. No more wings for me then. :slight_smile:

Silo development is stalled: check the user’s forum, no updates and, even worse, no feedback from the developers in months.

MoI looks very beautiful but it is a one-man operation: whatever happens to the single developer (even a cold) can stop it. B.t.w., I have the feeling that Autodesk 123D is aimed at killing MoI business.

Wings has ngons but on other items is way trailing Blender.

If you want to spend money, you might have a look at Bonzai3D (SketchUp on steroids); apart that, the only thing alive and kicking below 1000$ “bigger” than Blender is Modo.

VoidWorld, Free at the moment, PC Only and one of the best free modelling solutions, under daily updates and can be found here:

Grab this:
Better than blender, wings, silo and 3ds max too imo. But it is not too fast on big scenes.
For now it is free.

Only know of modo – wings and silo don’t exist to me. :smiley:

No but seriously, I’m pretty sure silo is a dead project,
hasn’t had updates since couple of years ago or something,
wings at least is still progressing & is like free beer, modo’s a painful $1k.

VoidWorlds an interesting one, but just like wings I feel its still missing a lot,
perhaps more so than wings, the UI certainly feels better than wings though.

Also, what Michael said, blender is thus far the only other modeler besides Modo
I’ve enjoyed using for subD modeling.

Compared to Maya and 3DS, I’d take Blender any day. Once you get the hotkeys down well enough, your productivity takes off.

If you’re talking about polygon modeling, you might want to try Modo, which is famous for hard surface modeling, which you say you’re mostly interested in. But it’s really a personal preference thing. Some find Hexagon versatile for both hard surface and organic. For me it’s a matter of getting used to any one of the available polygon modelers. The same tools exist in any one of them. Again, it’s just a matter of getting used to the tools. If I spend vast amounts of time with Wings3d I’d find it better than anything else. So it’s the amount of time you invest in it rather than which is better. Not all of them are perfect, but you’d soon find workarounds for their imperfection.

I’d prefer to stick with Blender because of its ease in tweaking verts/edge/faces, when you’re in Edit mode you’re essentially in tweak mode. Nothing is precise. You’d want to tweak verts to make up for imprecision. As artists or wannabes we’re merely creating illusions. Slight imprecision is tolerated.

…Hmm. I’ve been rambling… sorry for that… :wink:

(btw, I’ve spent time using Hexagon, Modo and Blender, they are all equally great.)

As far as i know blender is a very good and speed polygon modeler. if you want to try a different approach try houdini like that you will test procedural modeling. or K3d it s free.

Thanks for the replies anyone. I installed silo yesterday and was liking it until you guys it’s dead …

I guess I’ll stick to Blender for polygon modeling. The advantages don’t really seem to be worth the time spent in getting used to a new application.

I’m learning a proper CAD for other modeling techniques.

Umm… me. Am I alone here?

Blender and Modo are both very good products while I think Modo has a more refined modeler, texture system, and animation approach. Modo is not geared like Blender to do everything, but what it does it does very good and often better.

But with the new Blender 2.5 there are many new add-ons coming to Blender which enhance modeling experience.

I think the differences are in the details as both apps share a large common tool set.

I am not sure why people are bashing Maya - because when it comes to offering diverse toolset for modeling it actually can do everything from polygon to sds to nurbs and nicely also convert between them. You can also customize Maya so it works for you with hotkeys like in Blender. Sure it is not a 20 MB software and it is not cheap.

Because you mention mechanical modeling and I am not sure what you budget or needs are but maybe this might be an option:

Maya has both polygon and NURBS in one system and can convert Subdivision surface into NURBS.

The same experience you can have with Rhino NURBS Blender SDS and T-Spline plug in for Rhino to convert polygon sds into NURBS patches.

If you have a lot of money you can get solidworks with the T-splines plugin and have polygon SDS to NURBS conversation on the fly inside a parametric design tree.

Cek, it’s not bashing Maya to say you prefer blender for poly modelling.

Most Maya users would agree that out the box its a bit of a clunker!
Most game houses rely on decent poly modelling tools. They either choose 3ds or write a whole slew of custom modelling tools a.d customisations if using Maya…
The irony is that all that effort is duplicated. Around the land everyone write the dame stuff!
because maya does many basics badly. Try breaking a selected portion off a mesh (your mesh becomes a mess of pieces with random names! Try joining two meshes… you lose both names again… switch a view to ortho/persp? Convoluted…(I’d controversialy say that this is #1 why the viewcube gets switched off.

All cam be overcome with some scripting, but there are many niggles .

I think generally that this is true. Not in quality but in quantity. So I would not say inferior. I would rather say just lacking some things. But I find that Blender is so simple and so well thought out on most of the basics. The strongest points in my opinion being universal control of most all of the tools using the pivot center and transform orientation. In some other apps it can get very convoluted to use tools on an obtuse vector where with Blender that is built right into the hot keys and the use of transform orientations. I have not tried Modo yet but to me it looks pretty good. If you are looking to spend money then LightWave is also an option and it comes with a very nice rendering package as well.

Everyone mentions Modo. I wonder why no one mentions LightWave 3D? (richard beat me to it ^^)
It is cheaper than Modo, has a very nice Renderer onboard and a very mature animation system as well, it has linear colorspace workflow, collada and fxb support, realtime Stereo3D support… IMO LightWave is the closest thing to Blender actually to me LW seems to be a “commercial”, “industry accepted” Blender. With the latest verstion (10) it even has the fancy realtime viewport renderer. Unfortunately I haven’t modelled with it yet, so is there a reason why no one mentions it?
I’ve been meaning to trail it, as I consider to buy it to add a weapon to my armory, but I haven’t had time yet. Something more important always crops up.
Anone has it? Worked with it and something to say about it?

Arexma, lightwave used to rule the modelling world for many… I used it as my main package for over a decade!

It was one of the first viable subdivision modellers… it suffered much when the dev team split from newtek to form luxology and make modo… the long legal battle over who owned rights to what left lightwave in the cold for quite a few years with no active development other than community scripting and plug in writing…

the result is that lightwave became a bit of a mutant with lots of tools doing similar things and modeller being a hotch potch… many lightwave fans moved on to MODO as it had that same immediacy for modelling that made lightwave so appealing (and blender has that spiritual feel too in my book)

Subsequent updates for lightwave were pretty thin in the modelling stakes, they mostly focused on teh renderer and on animation tools that whilst interesting never quite hit the mark.

Lightwave modeller is still rock solid though it definately shows its age when compared to silo/modo… it certainly beats silo for large scene projects with thousands of items!

I’d more buy lightwave to treat it as an external render engine… unlimited network nodes come in the standard package! It’d be really interesting to see if it’s even possible to embed it using the render api! (it’d be a lot of work and some custom exporters, but very cool!)

I also used LightWave off and on since about 1993, but since the thread was asking about modeling tools although it is an option certainly, Michael hit it on the head on pretty much every point. I stopped using LightWave a few years ago and started using Blender. I thought I would never take to using Blender for modeling after using LightWave for so long. I still have a license I am threatening to upgrade to 10 but have lacked the motivation. One great thing LightWave does have is some cool bevel/extrude tools that Blender is really lacking.