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somerwil

<200 Dollar 3D modelers

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Hi guys,

I'm looking for a good 3D modeler to produce some artistic, non-technical models.

Does anyone use:

Blender

Cheetah3D (Mac only)

Alibre (Windows only)

Rhinoceros (not sub $200)

Other suggestion are welcome!

I use Sketchup now together with Meshlab to produce and optimize my STL's and I can use a full 3D modelling program for technical objects at work so that's not the tricky part for me. It would be really nice to play around with other, non-technical shapes so I looked at the programs above. Rhino is probably the best but it also costs $1.000...

If you use any of these programs, please post your experiences with them here! Of course I can try and download a trial version of all of these programs but most of the bugs/ workarounds/ annoying things about a program only show up later on.

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I started to learn alibre, based on Pauls recommendation... if you are a mac user, you need to run windows in a box... and you will have a hard time learning the interface... but once you understand the logic of alibre, it's not so bad anymore.

123d is in public beta right now, and has a more sketchup like interface, in other words, it's easier to learn... maybe (win only also)

joergen

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Some time ago I started to learn Blender to modify/create printable objects. It took a day or so to adjust to strange interface but after that I am pretty happy with what I can do. At the same time I feel I use 10% of it's features so my experirnce is limited.

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I learned Rhino3d. Its based on NURBS, for round & natural shapes its much better. I have to admit the pictures dont look so good, if you have flamingo (a renderer that you can buy) it will look beautiful and realistic.

I created a quite realistic XBOX gameconsole with rhino3d, but got to find it back (lost it somewhere on my old pc).

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I like blender pretty well the more I use it, and its got a whole lot of high end features comparable to Maya from autodesk. I don't have any experience with the others you've listed here, but I can say that a simple organic modeller like sculptris is a whole lot of fun. It is the free version of Zbrush made by pixologic. I messed around with it for awhile before giving in and picking up zbrush for more features. Having used, maya, blender, mudbox, sculptris and zbrush for modeling I'd have to say the last two are my favorite for organic models. I personally don't like nurbs so I never messed with them in maya, or wanted to pick up rhino3d for that reason.

Sculptris can export obj files which you can load into blender to save out stl. If you go the not sub 200 way then zbrush actually has a couple of tools to help out with 3d printing. A very good decimation tool to reduce poly counts while maintaining form, and a 3d print exporter where you can set the dimensions you would like your project to be saved at in an stl. Zbrush sits at 699 USD I believe, or $450 usd for the academic version (which is full featured with no watermarks, as far as I have been able to tell, they have you on the honestly system for not using it commercially) You can then upgrade to the commercial version later on for half the price.

In my experiences I get the best results when I have a workflow between multiple programs. In school I used maya and mudbox to meet my needs. Now that I'm out I mostly use blender and zbrush. Blender is free and I actually just prefer zbrush over mudbox for both performance and price.

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hello i have had a small bit of experience with 3d studio max ( collage projects) then was introduced to rhino and stuck with it.

i find rihno a great program user interface is simple best feature about the program is the it can open and save in a large amount of formats from auto cad files , illustrator,stl files ,vray , lightwave ,Zcorp and on and on . IE a very versatile program

karl

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I've been using ViaCAD on the Mac ($99 in the Mac App Store), but there is a version for Windows, too. Works well enough and seems definitely focused more on the modeling part than on photorealistic rendering (which is a waste for 3D printing).

Between that, SketchUp and OpenSCAD, I can create simple stuff easily enough and feel I'm limited very much by my skills.

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OK, some months later but here's a little update.

I tried several programs as a trial version. I ended up with Sculptris as a sculpting program and I decided to go with Rhino even though it was quite an investment... I also had a look at Blender, ZBrush and Cinema 4D. Out of these I liked ZBrush the most but Sculptris has some of the features and is free (both programs by Pixologic).

Must say I really like Sculptris. It's a nice, free, easy to understand program. I would recommend it to anyone! I also recommend a tablet (for example one of the Wacoms) for drawing in Sculptris. Pretty expensive both worth the money.

I go with Sketchup for my more technical objects and draw in a professional 3D modeller at work (PTC Creo Direct) for the more complex technical objects. I also tried Alibre. It felt very good and is also a good option if you don't have the opportunity to draw professionally at work. It's interface feels quite good and everything I tried to draw worked fine. No need for me to go with it since it overlaps Sketchup/ PTC Creo Direct too much.

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I bought TurboCAD 18 Deluxe 2D/3D last year, then I moved on short notice. I've finally gotten to play with it a bit with my Ultimaker in mind. I learned AutoCAD (aging student, went back to school about 4 years ago) but only 2D and have not had any opportunity to play with it after my one year free student licensed version ran out.

So... there are some cool things missing from the <$100 Deluxe, but it does do a lot. I'm still trying to figure out the ins and outs. It can export as SketchUp SKP files, then from there I export as STL. The Pro version will export directly as STL but costs quite a lot more.

But I'd be happy with that workflow, once I figure out what I'm doing in TurboCAD.

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Sculptris is a great program, it can subdivide a mesh where you need more detail.Once the sculpture is in its finishing stages you can then reduce the number of polygons again without losing too much of the detail. or our 3d printing purposes it does not make sense to use models with too many polygons, the superfine detail will not be visible anyway.

Blender has made great progress lately. The new 2.66a version has surprised me with a really useable sculpture mode. Here, the integration of purely CAD elements with subdivision surfaces and the malleability of sculpture tools is unique, but it takes some patience to learn the interface. Good tutorials out there. hey even implemented the "matcap" system for the display of the sculpt in progress also used by zBrush and sculptris. blender runs well even on older machines and there is no need to install anything, it even runs from a memory stick.

zbrush has some incredible features like the z spheres but takes a long time to learn, too, if you want to go to the more advanced modes.

I have also looked into the NURBS modeler Rhino. Another heavy learning curve but its extremely versatile. I like the great csg tools there, booleans are rather hassle free in it, in contrast with some other programs. Chamfering and filleting tools are good, too.

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another great, cheap, not very well known 3d modeller, Silo: http://www.nevercenter.com/silo/

It is very cheap because it only does modelling and nothing else, but offers great tools, better than 3dsmax or maya when it comes strictly to modelling (maya kinda sucks for modelling, I know a lot about it). Silo is even available on Steam for cheaper, but I'm not sure it's a complete version.

There is also 3dcoat, a voxel modeller (you can then convert your object to regular polygons). It's a bit more expensive, about $350, but it's still a great value for such a package.

Sculptris is fun indeed, and free.

Zbrush, its big brother, is the best sculpting tool available but around $700 (which is cheap for such a powerful package) but has a very long learning curve. While Mudbox from autodesk is much easier to use but can only sculpt on existing models, you cannot start from scratch, you need a regular polygon modeler aside.

Modo used to be cheap too, but since it's getting more and more features with every version, it's now around $1000 which is too bad because it's probably the best modeller around

Rhino... well is you like nurbs modelling, it's cool, but kinda oldschool

 

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BLENDER has out its Release Candidate 2.67. It contains some check functions for 3d Printing. You can test a model for overhangs, and non manifold triangles and the like. I have not tried yet but I think these guys are amazing...

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I've gotten myself most of the way up the learning cliff with Viacad. It's got some rough edges to be sure (I ran into some anomalies when doing fairly extreme operations like splitting a solid with another solid), but at <$100 the bang-for-buck is clearly there if you are building parts.

I've been playing with replacement fan ducts as a way to learn the program, here's a recent example...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/r6uk0vg98h2uz5t/40mm%20Front%20Duct2-v32.jpg

 

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