learning to model
April 25, 2006 4:17 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to learn basic 3-d modeling. Right now I have 3-d studio max r4. Are there any good online tutorials or guides that go over the basics.

A little background: I've been doing a lot more 2-d art lately but one of my biggest stumbling blocks has always been arbitrary shape perspective. Like, I can draw simple primitives like a cylinder or a cube or whatever but not any sort of curved shape like a face, or a flame, or a car or, well anything not composed of primitives.

So I figured rather then teaching myself to do that right away, I'd just learn to create meshes in 3ds max. I have an old copy of r4, which seems to work pretty well, but I don't have the tutorial CD that goes with it.

I know it's possible to create these sorts of objects in max pretty easily, but what's the best way to go about learning how to do it? I have sort of a feel for max, like I know how to create primitives, stretch them, combine them with Boolean operations, etc but that doesn't really get me anything I couldn't do before.

As a side note, I may be able to get a copy of Maya (version 5) sometime soon. Are the two programs similar enough that skills picked up in one would be transferable to another? Is Maya 5 much more powerful then 3ds max r4? Would it be worth holding off learning Max in favor of Maya? (not that I want to start a flame war here :)
posted by delmoi to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've worked a bit in Maya quite a while ago and have no real experience in Max, but there's highend3d for tutorials on both programs. 3dm3 has tutorials for max. When Maya was run by Alias you could download a learning edition of their most recent release and they did have quite a library of learning resources, I found this site.
posted by phirleh at 5:51 AM on April 25, 2006

Maya is much more powerful than Max, but I will let other more knowledgeable people answer further. If I were you I'd just learn Maya.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 6:24 AM on April 25, 2006

With some very minimal searching you can find full sets of Maya learning tutorials that are very comprehensive and high quality. For me video tutorials are the best way to learn complicated content generation applications, especially if you have two monitors and can follow a long directly rather than reading a bullet point, glancing at your monitor, back to the page, etc. From my experiences Maya is definitely more art-oriented, the only time I've spent with Max was for exporting models for various game packages with tight technical requirements. I'm sure you can find counter examples though, so it really comes down to what workflow you are more comfortable with.
posted by prostyle at 6:38 AM on April 25, 2006

posted by ryanissuper at 6:44 AM on April 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Agree, search the web and you'll find enough tutorials to keep you busy for years. As above, highend3d, CGTalk, SpinQuad, and many others have great forums with very helpful and friendly people (as long as you stay away from the flame wars of which 3D App is better).

I've dabbled with 3D max, used Maya for about 5 years, and use Lightwave at work for the last 2 years. They all have their own pros and cons. 3D max and Maya are the two biggies used in most studios. Some use Lightwave to model and move over to Maya to animate. Many love Zbrush as it has a more organic approach to modeling. There are also many other up and commers, but they all basically do the same thing - just in slightly different ways. Maya is now owned by Autodesk (who own 3Dmax), so I don't know if they still offer the FREE learning edition - if they do I recommend grabbing it.

I also suck at drawing in perspective. Sometimes I'll create a crude model in a 3D app, pose it at the correct angle, and use it as a basis for sketches.
posted by JimBobNoPants at 12:12 PM on April 25, 2006

Best answer: I ended up buying a book (actually three. Used computer books are super-cheap on amazon)
posted by delmoi at 9:58 PM on May 30, 2006

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