3D Projects VFX

My 3D Journey Part II

Silo Logo

The first program I tried is strictly a modeling program. I do not use NURBS when I model so I didn’t need to find a program that handled those. I am mainly a Sub-D modeler and the first program I found for that is Silo. Silo has grown to be quite a good modeling program. They are now in to version 2 and Nevercenter keeps innovating and adding new features to this relatively inexpensive program. The modeling tools are easy to grasp and the interface is excellent.

One of the things I like most about Silo, besides the price, is the way you can customize the interface to suit your working style. You can do this with a lot of other programs, but I think the folks at Nevercenter really got this right. I also like the way that you can change subdivision levels by hitting ‘C’ or ‘V’ on the keyboard. This makes it extremely easy to model and check your progress.

Airplane

This is a plane that I was making while playing around with Silo. This is about 20 – 30 minutes of work and I started with a simple cube or box. This technique is called box modeling and works well for a lot of things. This is the un-subdivided model. As you can see, it is quite squarish and angular. This is the way I work with the model most of the time. I can then change subdivision levels on the fly to see what my smoothed model will look like.

It’s not too bad for about 30 mins of work, but the wings are too thin and the engines are too small. This was modeled in Silo 1, and now that I have some time I am going to be playing with Silo 2 to see how I like it and whether it will fill all my needs. If you want more information on Silo, just go to http://www.nevercenter.com. Like I said, Silo is extremely affordable. Right now the Core version is on sale for $79. It is normally $99 and still a great deal at that price. The Pro version is on sale for $129 which is an absolute steal. Even its normal cost of $159 is a bargain. If you are looking into getting into 3D modeling you really cannot go wrong with Silo.

modo Logo

The other program I am really thinking about adding to my pipeline is modo. I have been playing with modo on and for a few versions. The modeling tools are top notch. I really learned a lot of my modeling techniques from my Lightwave classes and had to overcome the obstacle of translating the Lightwave tools and workflow into Cinema 4D. The cool thing about modo is that a lot of the people in the company are former Lightwave developers. It was a lot easier for me to model in modo than it was in C4D. What is really great is that the models I make in modo can be imported without any problems into C4D. This makes it an ideal program to add into my pipeline. In fact, I know a lot of C4D users are doing this exact thing. Since I haven’t played with modo for quite some time, I do have to get back up to speed. Luckily the team at Luxology have put together some great videos for everyone. They also have a terrific forum for people to talk about all things modo. If you do go to Luxology’s website, you will see a lot of work by Andy Brown. Unfortunately, this is not me. The other Andy is absolutely amazing and I am hoping I can some day get to that level.

Camera

This is a camera I started working on a few years ago. It was from a tutorial on Luxology’s website, and I think it was by Andy Brown. This whole model took maybe an hour or two. I found it quite easy to use modo’s modeling tools. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adapt, but it was not hard at all. Luxology has really implemented some nice things in modo such as the workplanes and the tool pipe. I won’t go in to detail here, but these two innovations really make working in modo a great experience.

Enterprise

I think most, if not all, 3D artists at one time or another decide to model something from Star Wars or Star Trek. Well, being a huge fan of both, I decided to start modeling the original USS Enterprise. This is a work in progress (WIP) of the saucer section. Once again, this is not a lot of modeling time, but I am happy with it.

In order to help me learn modo once again and to learn some of the new tools I am turning to Dan Ablan. He is a great instructor and has training DVDs and books. I have his modo courseware and his Lightwave 9 Courseware. I don’t have a whole lot of time to watch the sheer volume of video in the courseware so I decided to buy one of his books instead. I bought The Official Luxology modo Guide Version 301 a few days ago. I got it in the mail, and as soon as I sat down at my computer with it I got an email saying modo 401 would be released in 2 days. Just wonderful. I just spent money on a modo book and a new version was coming out. Well the cool thing is that everything in the 301 book will work in 401. See, when I started with modo it was just a modeler. Now, in 401, they have texturing, rendering, sculpting, and animation. There is a lot of stuff that I missed out on while trying to find myself. I downloaded modo 401 the other day and I cannot wait to start working with it.

I think that as of right now, my main 3D applications will be Cinema 4D and modo. Between the two of them I have a complete modeling, animation, and rendering solution that works for me. Maya is crap. Lightwave is better. Cinema 4D is great. modo with Cinema 4D is unbelievable. I am looking forward to 3D once again.

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