Three 3D Modeling Questions

First, I got an old Macintosh Performa 735CD about a week ago. I was wondering if there were any free 3D modeling programs for a computer that old. It would be neat to be rendering on a 10+ year-old computer, and it would make me feel a lot better about the fairly slow computer that I have currently:).
Also, I was wondering about the other free, 3D modeling programs. It seems like free 3D modeling programs are quite numerous. Is Blender one of the most advanced ones?
Finally, I was wondering about 3D Studio Max. Does it have a lot of features that Blender does not? Could one make a good case for spending the hefty sum to buy it?

Also, I was wondering about the other free, 3D modeling programs. It seems like free 3D modeling programs are quite numerous. Is Blender one of the most advanced ones?
Blender is certainly one of the best free, open-source 3D graphics packages you will find.

Free software capable of 3D modelling include:

  • Wings
  • Moray
  • Art of Illusion
  • 3D Canvas
    … and more

There are also some free versions of established commercial software, which are worth looking at:

  • Caligari trueSpace 3.2 (downloadable, do a google search)
  • Maxon Cinema 4D 6 CE (from 3D Arts magazine)
  • Realsoft 3D 4.2 (magazine distribution only)

Finally, I was wondering about 3D Studio Max. Does it have a lot of features that Blender does not? Could one make a good case for spending the hefty sum to buy it?
What do you wish to do with it?

If you are a professional 3D graphics artist, or have serious ambitions to becoming one, then it may be a wise (but very expensive) investment. 3D Studio Max is an industry-standard 3D package, and has a wide array of powerful modelling and animation features, exceeding those in Blender. It also boasts an excellent renderer, Mental Ray 3.2. The package has a solid track record for producing superb work in gaming, cinema, and broadcasting. However, like with most high-end packages, the learning curve is steep.

But if you are dabbling into 3D as a hobbyist, then it’s not worth the money.

High-end programs are nice to have, but it’s too much for most users, even some professionals. Until you get into very high-quality feature film visual effects, or some CG-heavy television programs, you’re unlikely to make use of the most powerful aspects of high-end software.

so, you can’t put osX on there?

that is quite disappointing. unfortunatley I would reccomend wings3d or blender but they require osx to run.

blender is one of the most complete free 3d packages around

most advanced is pretty relative. there are applications which integrate with a renderer very well, but are lacking in tools and have no animation abilities. there are applications only for modeling. by no means is blender complete however, there is no sound editor, the materials can’t be made previewable realtime and several other things, but these features aren’t seen in any other open source app either [only the big commercial ones, and probably a few of the smaller ones like animation master, which as far as I’m concerned blender surpassed in the last couple releases]

I suggest you get good skills first, on any app

As for looking around for free modelling software, I did that already: go visit my links-section (url is in my sig below). Current counts:

Freeware and Open Source modelling apps: 34
Educational versions (free) : 5
Free commercial versions (older versions that are released for free) : 3

My links are currently mostly windows/linux oriented but several listed apps are also available for apple.

No, Mac OS X will not run on a my Performa. It does not even have a Power PC chip! It only runs at 33 mhz, and it only has about 20 megabytes of RAM. I am not sure what Mac OS X needs; it may need a G3.
Thanks for the help with the other 3D applications. I was manly asking about 3D Studio Max because whenever one goes searching for meshes online, they are almost always in .3ds form. I figured that if so many meshes were in that format, a lot of people must have it. And it must be pretty good if so many people have it. Also, it would make my life a lot easier when I want to use a mesh. As to 3D Studio Max’s learning curve, could it be much worse than Blender’s?
As to the other 3D modeling applications, do any of them have a gravity or cloth simuator?
Oh, and thank you Samjh for informing me that one could download truespace for free. How in the world does that work! Can we get Microsoft to do that with Windows :).

I don’t think there is a 3d studio max for mac [or anything but windows xp, except possibly 2k]

and I’m pretty sure it came out for dos at first

[I belive mac osx requires a g3]

Thanks for the help with the other 3D applications. I was manly asking about 3D Studio Max because whenever one goes searching for meshes online, they are almost always in .3ds form. I figured that if so many meshes were in that format, a lot of people must have it. And it must be pretty good if so many people have it. Also, it would make my life a lot easier when I want to use a mesh.
That’s because a lot of game manufacturers use (or used) 3D Studio. It’s sort of like a de facto standard for the game industry. 3DS files also have extensive support for materials.

You’ll find that most modelling software will support exporting to 3DS format.

As to 3D Studio Max’s learning curve, could it be much worse than Blender’s?
The initial learning curve depends on your previous experience with 3D software. If you come from a CAD background, 3D Studio Max should be easy. It also depends on the depth with which you wish to delve. Blender is quite easy to learn to use after the initial interface hurdle. 3D Studio Max provides a lot more power, therefore more complexity, therefore steeper learning curve as you reach the limits of the software.

However, I have not had much experience with 3D Studio Max, so am not really qualified to speak about it.

As to the other 3D modeling applications, do any of them have a gravity or cloth simuator?
You won’t really find anything like that in most free modelling programs, or even low-end commercial ones. Doubtless those features may be available in the form of plugins, but plugins vary wildy in quality. Do a Google search and see.

Oh, and thank you Samjh for informing me that one could download truespace for free. How in the world does that work! Can we get Microsoft to do that with Windows .
LOL. :slight_smile:

Caligari released TrueSpace 1 for free several years ago. A year or two ago, they released 3.2 for free. But it’s really obsolete by today’s standards, the program was released first back in 1997, I think – no match for the current versions of Blender.

Amapi 5.15 is also available for free, for Mac as well. It’s a very nice package for free although I have no idea how it matches up to the current version of Blender. It does have animation though. Here’s the link: http://www.amapi.net/amapi.php?va1=ZG93bmxvYWRz

Wow, thanks tgremlin. I’ve always wanted to try out Amapi, but didn’t have enough spare $$$. :slight_smile: