Which software to get?

I suppose I’m asking for a somewhat biased response to this question, but I was hoping people could help me decide which 3D software to go with.

I don’t have a lot of experience with 3D modeling and rendering software packages, though I’m quite familiar with (and have written) 3D rendering algorithms from a computer science course I took in college. I currently work as a User Interface designer, and have reached a point where I need something more powerful than Photoshop to do some 3D graphics.

I’ve worked through some Blender tutorials and am getting comfortable in the interface. I definitely like the price :-). But I have some functional problems with the UI, at least in the Mac OS X version: When I click on things, there’s often a significant delay before the click is recognized. Sometimes the click isn’t recognized at all, and sometimes it’s recognized too quickly for me to be able to do whatever I was trying to do – like drag. As a result a lot of mistakes occur, and of course without an undo that’s unfortunate. Needless to say, this really slows me down.

I’ve also been looking around at various galleries online, and it seems like the quality of image – particularly anything that tries to be photorealistic – is better in galleries from other apps, like Lightwave or Pixels:3D. I’d rather go with an open source (and free) option with all things equal, but since I’m likely to invest a lot more time learning whatever program I ultimately go with, I’m willing to spend some cash for another app if its interface is more responsive and its renderer better.

Ultimately I’d like to go with the best, most versatile product for general 3D modeling and rendering work, since I’m not 100% sure what I’ll be using it for down the line (though my guess is static images will be more important than animation, at least in the short term).

Can anyone provide some guidance? Thanks.

The OSX version is buggy from previous posts that I have read. This should be fixed shortly I would think.

Yes these are better as far as realism goes in your render. However, they are very expensive. So you get what you pay for :wink: Just stick with Blender. With the code being set free, the renderer and all other aspects of the program will only improve.

I also use Lightwave, to a limited extent, still learning it, and I find it very intuitive and fairly easy to understand. The renderer can not be beat, for a built in renderer anyway.

I hope that wasn’t a too biased response :wink:


If you have experience coding 3d then scratch your itch :wink:

Welcome to the blender community

Actually, I’d love to get involved with some work on the Blender UI. I know a lot of people like it the way it is, but I think there’s room for usability improvements, and in addition at least the Mac OS X version has some responsiveness issues with clicks and drags.

Sadly, I don’t have a lot of time, so I don’t know how much effort I can donate. Is the code base fairly modular? Would it be difficult to get up to speed enough to start playing around with new and modified controls?

This would definitely be a fun project to get involved in, even if I end up purchasing another package.

quite ignorant of those facts, but things have just started :slight_smile:

If you want something that creates very high quality images at a reasonable price, Try using an application like Bryce.

It is also very easy to learn.

another contender is Cinema 4D (Wonderful raytracer)

But I think if you give Blender a bit of time, then it will surpass all of your expectations…

I thought Bryce was just a lanscape tool. Does it have full modeling and rendering capabilities?

I’ve heard a lot of ppl use Bryce just for the rendering. That is, model somewhere else and import to Bryce to get the output. But I dunno, the pics I’ve seen look very ‘bryceish’… On the other hand most Blender pics look pretty ‘blenderish’ so it’s just a matter of personal taste. I’d say LightWave, if you can spare the bucks - and keep Blendering, maybe on some other OS for the time being :slight_smile: Get that old peezee out of your closet.

If i had the money to spend on Softimage , i would buy a car :slight_smile: or an apartment in some countries.


Different philosophy than Blender but you might want to look at Animation Master.


It costs $299 and you get upgrades free for the next year.

If the OSX version gets fixed soon, and then it’s just a case of the renderer not being photorealistic enough maybe you could try an external renderer? Is there an OSX version of POVRay?

Povray is out for Mac OS X. I works prety good on it also. But I believe its Carbon and not 100% built on OS X. But it runs.
I will use my Mac just for Texturing, and Photoshop and final Animation work, i.e. mpeg2 encoding, DV editing.
My basic work flow follows these lines:
model on SGI Indigo2.
Render on Linux Box.
Any photoshop, Skin making, video and DVD work on Mac.

The problem with counting on the OS X version getting fixed soon is that someone has to (a) use the OS X version and be an open source developer with time to spare, and (b) identify the same problems with it that I have, since in this case “fixed” means fixing the problems that prevent me from using it. While this may very well happen at some point there’s not really any way to know when. This is the blessing and the curse of open source software.

If & when I have some free time I may look at the Blender code myself. But in the meantime Blender isn’t ready to be the product I need, I’m afraid.

Whats the Specs on your Mac?
Blender is snappy for me on Mac OS X. I run a PowerMac 933Mhz,Geforce 4mx, 1gig RAM, 60gig System Drive, 120gig (dual 60)RAID, 20gig media storage. I also do a bare OS X install, don’t use system restore.

A cool fix that I use on my SGI. Is for certain blender features (mostly Light Flow stuff) I export Blender from my linux box to my SGI box. If you got an older PC and have Orber X (X windows) install on your OS X. Might work.
But Blender on OS X still make good modelling. I find that OS X works good with animation work with Blender. OS X handles AVI raw real good and encoding them to mpeg2 or what ever goes by quick. With Povray for OS X you got more options. Don’t forget Photoshop 7 (only paid App). Pact with iMovie and Quicktime pro.

But if are willing to pay, get Lightwave 3D, atleast you get both PC version and Mac just incase you feel Mac is too slow can always go PC later on.

II have a Power Mac G4 800Mhz dual with a GeForce 2 MX. For graphics work, will upgrading that card make a big difference? 1.1 GB RAM, 40GB hard drive. I don’t have a bare OS X install though…not sure what I’d want to eliminate.

My problem with Blender, though, is not speed of rendering or modeling, but UI glitches. Most importantly, the fact that clicking on buttons has unreliable or delayed results. For example, if I click on one of the tabs to switch button groups, there’s often a delay of several seconds. If I switch to a tab (for example, the materials tab) and click the button to bring up the popup menu to create a new material, there’s always at least a delay before the menu comes up. But sometimes the menu doesn’t come up at all. And sometimes when it doesn’t and I click again, it registers as though the menu had come up and I’d clicked in it. Especially without an undo function that’s really annoying. Beyond that, there are some drawing and alignment glitches with the UI that mean I’m often adjusting things or waiting for a screen redraw.

I’m not complaining: I understand this is free, open source software, and I’m eager to see what the open source community does with it. But I’m willing to pay for something more polished in the meantime.

I don’t seem to have any of those problems with OS X, but then agian its been awhile since I use Blender on OS X, will try to night. Also I only used 2.23. Actually the I did my tutorial work from the Blender 2.03 manual on X. One major issues I had with Blender on X was that I used dual monitors and when I run blender from my 2nd monitor it will lock-up or crash. I also notice it ran better when I fire term up and cd into the blender.app file (directory) and cd into Contents then cd into MacOS and do ./blender. Any issues you can just cntrol-c in the term.
I thought about buying Lightwave 3D but I figure $300 for a SGI Indigo2 was a better deal. It runs Blender just fine.
Good luck with what you choose.