A 3D package trip around the web (part 2)

More 3D stuff that is free, or cheap.

organic sketchup

In the previous article, I described a number of software packages that one can download for free (or cheaply), and use to create 3D content. I neglected to mention a few here, which I will now do. Google Sketchup (free version, and a paid version) also has any number of supporters and users, as there is also a massive model bank one can download models from (also free). It has any number of plug in’s available for it, like the one above for organic modeling, called Artisan, which is a subdivision poly modeler ($29).

Maxwell Render also has 2 plug-ins for Sketchup, (free, 800 pixel limit; and a $95 version, HD – 1,960 pixels) as do a few other renderers. Point is, there is a lot of be had out there in web-land for free, as the web is full of it, and it’s pretty good stuff. Add that the newer renderers are often GPU based , so if you have a fast video card (like say, a GTX460) they will deliver great results, and also very quickly… (yes, I mean raytracing). Lux render uses CPU and GPU, so it remains an exception (still free). I might add here that Maxwell Render is the same renderer being used for Cartoon Network spot ID’s, which imitate a “sculpy clay” (below) texture perfectly.


After all, to represent real world materials, one needs a photo realistic renderer….which doesn’t mean “lets imitate photography”, by any stretch.

I suppose my point here is this: If you have any 3D art interest at all, or desire to make games, there isn’t anything holding you back except you, especially if you have any training. In todays world, awesome results can be had for nothing or very near to it. Think about it – there are any number of free modelers with stunning results, any number of renderers (typically used for CGI, but anyone can see that since they are GPU based, ALL video games will become that soon enough.) Add, a number of free mo-cap packages… search around, it is likely you can find a number of free (or near free) pre-canned animations also (such as what Iclone offers).

Of course, another method that is being used to animate is Euphoria (used in Grand Theft Auto, and Red Dead) called Dynamic Motion Synthesis, but…that App is over $1,000!…what to do? Try http://www.ecstasymotion.com/  which is only $150, same thing (basically) ‘for the little guy’. It has Kinect support, motion file support (for export) and connects primarily to Torque game engine (also free), but works with a lot of stuff.

If you intend on making your own game, here is more information about game engines, on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_game_engines
Basically it merely offers a list, where they are, what they connect to, and any pricing “challenges.”

So, in these two articles…I have provided all of the resources to get you going on making your 3D dreams come true. All you need to do is get moving. Go make a game, or a movie.

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