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davidlgood

What Modeler Do You Use?

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I seem to recall reading somewhere that EITG was developing a modeler. Does anyone know if there is any truth to this?

I'm interested in knowing what other EI users use as their primary modeler. I'm starting to pull my hair out with my current workflow, which bounces around from one application to the other... none of which seem to work well enough any more.

First, let me start off by saying -- I love accuracy. Nothing pleases me more than to be able to build a model that is numerically accurate -- quickly. And yes... I'm an old Form•Z user. I understand that modelers like Silo 'can' be numerically accurate for the most part, but it's assumed that models built in those applications are going to be more 'organic' in nature, so the numerical controls are an afterthought (many more clicks, math, and fidgeting are required) -- and even then not everything can be numerically controlled.

EI Modeler -- I still have my copy of EI Modeler. At first I didn't like it, because it didn't act like Form•Z, but I quickly got over that and learned to love it. Unfortunately, I have to keep it running on an older machine, as it seems to like to bomb out on me on my newer Intel machine (Mac). Anyone using EIM still with success?

Silo -- I spent a lot of time getting to know this application. It took a lot of extra clicks and math to get the accuracy out of the models I needed, and there were some operations that you simply 'had' to eyeball, as there was no way to numerically enter what you wanted, but I was able to live with some of those. The problem with Silo is that the last several version (including the 2.2 beta that just came out) still have not resolved the .FAC exporting issue -- where it seems to export invisible bounding boxes, but no visible mesh or other data. Very frustrating. Also, as you might have guessed, I actually model things that need hard edges -- and I can't seem to get the "crease" function to work properly. Not sure if that's just broken, or what. I don't really want to fall back to Silo 1 (which actually has a working .FAC exporter).

Modo -- No experience here, although people seem to love it.

Blender -- I've downloaded it and will attempt, for the 8th time, to get my head wrapped around the interface, but otherwise have no experience with it.

Lightwave -- I'm just about ready to break out my old Version 6 copy and see if it works on any current machine I have.

Maya -- I enjoy this application, and since they've bundled so much with the 2010 version it's almost at the point where it might be a contender for a total workflow replacement. It's a money-hog, though... and with all the greatness that comes with it, so do the headaches and workarounds. I've still found nothing better than EIAS for camera moves, interface, etc. I would hate to leave EI, so that's not really an option I'm willing to consider.

Form•Z -- Oh... my pride and joy, back in the day. Does anyone have any recent experience with this application? I, unfortunately, stopped my upgrade path with Form•Z back when EI Modeler came out. To upgrade to a current version now would be a major investment. It used to export .FACT files wonderfully. Any opinions on the current version?

Bonzai 3D -- Made by the same people who make Form•Z. I tried a beta version of this application and, the few times I could keep it from crashing, I thought it acted nothing like Form•Z. It seemed to act a lot like SketchUp. I might be totally wrong about this application (since I tested an early release)... so please set me straight on this one if you have any experience.

SketchUp 7 (Pro)? -- I've played around with SketchUp (free version) but nothing more than that. I really enjoyed some of the ways it modeled, and it was fun to play with. But you couldn't really export anything useable in it. I guess you can, if you pay for the Pro version. Anyone have any experience with this application?

So, those are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head.

I'm really interested to hear what people prefer for a modeling application, and specifically why -- and what kind of modeling do you do mostly (mechanical/organic).

I'd also like to hear how you get your model from your application of choice into EIAS. I've had a lot of random luck (or non-luck) with various applications... trying everything from FBX/OBJ/3DS/DXF with sometimes good results and sometimes unpredictable results. Anyone else have issues like these, or do the out-of-the-box exports typically work for you? Makes me really miss the early days of Form•Z.

David L Good

Oh... and I'm not out to bash any of these applications -- just interested.

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Hi David,

I can confirm that EITG is developing actively developing a modeller, you can ask about that on the EITG forums ;).

I model in Maya (CAD accuracy isn't for me) but I get the models to EI via .obj or FBX, I have no problems with file import (I just use file > open for both formats). I regularly export paint FX to EI from Maya too.

I used FormZ 6.6 a little, it's a great, solid modeller, though it never clicked with me (too exact!) :)

Sketchup is great for grabbing models from the 3D warehouse, exporting them to a better modeller, and then adding details to said models yourself, it can be good if you don't have time to start from scratch. But Sketchup really is for fairly basic shapes.

Hope that helps,

Ian

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Hiya David,

My two main modelers:

ViaCAD 3d - Good toolset, accurate, cheap & native fac. output

Max Design 2010 - Fast & easy, and outputs flawless fac. files via Polytrans.

I also use a bit of AutoCAD and some Modo. The AutoCAD files go through Max for export to EIAS. I tried to like Modo but I just don't get it, but I have used if with a few projects.

ta

nige

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Form•Z -- Oh... my pride and joy, back in the day. Does anyone have any recent experience with this application? I, unfortunately, stopped my upgrade path with Form•Z back when EI Modeler came out. To upgrade to a current version now would be a major investment. It used to export .FACT files wonderfully. Any opinions on the current version?

David,

although I have quite a lot of 3D modelers/applications (ViaCad, SharkFX, IronCAD/Inovate, VX Modeler, EI Modeler), FormZ is the only application that's really used for modeling work. Every version since 2.7x, currently at 6.6.

For some unknown reasons, FACT transfer to EIAS isn't as easy as it was with the "vintage" combination FZ 2.x/EIAS 2.x. With these old versions, exporting was as difficult as selecting the "export" command, and the result looked perfectly smooth in EIAS. With current versions, you have to experiment with a lot of triangulation/facetting settings, until the result looks as good as in earlier days. Sometimes, especially with quite complex CAD shapes, I tend to export to SAT and do the FACT conversion in SharkFX (ViaCad), which is more of the one-click-solution now. In this regard SharkFX has replaced the EI Modeler for me, which I've been using for FACT export for quite a long time, even when the models have been created in FZ.

Bernd

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Hi, David.

Been using Max before, and I really liked it but lately I have been using mainly Silo. I also decided to buy Lightwave a while ago and like it alot since you mentioned it. You have v6 I am not shure if LWCAD is available for it, maybe you can get a hand on some previous version of it, but it really extends the LW modeling toolset to new heights, definately something to consider if accuracy is your thing. Just take a quick look at some of the demonstration videos in the manual or tutorials (like Real-Time Booleans) and you´ll see: http://www.wtools3d.com/manual/manual3/

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Hi David,

I use solidthinking (altair) as my main modeler-application, because I need production (constructive) quality. I also use ViaCAD Pro for converting the soldthinking models (STEP) into native FACT, which works like a charm. I owe EIM, but use it very rarely - only for special tasks.

I know the C4D modeler inside out, because I'm teaching C4D, but never use ist for my own projects. Good and easy to use, but poor output-quality.

regards

Frankg

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Model in Modo, FZ, EIM & Rhino... maybe a couple others...

Modo is a great tool, but I still have a few issues with it. Still use FZ as my poly hub. I still use EIM for a bulk of my more organic pieces. Rhino is a nurbs powerhouse, I prefer it's nurbs to EIM.

Cj

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David, I use FormZ 6.6 for the exact stuff and EI Modeller for the freeform and things to get out quick. It's still pretty solid for me, just need to save a lot to keep it from crashing (and turn off tooltips). Using Mac OS 10.5.8. I have heard that 10.6 finally broke it though.

If Rhino was Mac I would switch immediately. I have been beta-testing the mac version but they are taking forever. It seems that both EI and Rhino are racing to get there modelers out for Mac (on very slow horses..) -Derryl

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I have several cheap modelers: EI Modeler, ViaCAD, Hexagon and Silo. I gravitate towards Hexagon, in spite of it being terribly buggy on Macs (the Daz guys say they have a beta of a UB version which solves most bugs. We'll see), and EIM, as it has the only decent Bezier curve UI of them all and it lets me do neatly flowing shapes… when it works (a bit explodey on Intel Macs).

I really really want to learn Modo, but I can't seem to get it: I see what is capable of, but every time I try it I end up banging my head against its UI. I understand the ideas behind it, but some things are a bit too convoluted.

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David, I use FormZ 6.6 for the exact stuff and EI Modeller for the freeform and things to get out quick. It's still pretty solid for me, just need to save a lot to keep it from crashing (and turn off tooltips). Using Mac OS 10.5.8. I have heard that 10.6 finally broke it though.

If Rhino was Mac I would switch immediately. I have been beta-testing the mac version but they are taking forever. It seems that both EI and Rhino are racing to get there modelers out for Mac (on very slow horses..) -Derryl

I use EIM on 10.5.8 & 10.6.2 with no problems... I will have days of modeling with little to no issues. Tool tips must be off... they will crash EIM instantly. But admittedly, I use the Ubers mostly.

Cj

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Hi David,

I use EIM and Silo with a few additional specialty modelers on the side like ZBrush, Onyx and Organica running on older machines.

I typically figure out what to use based upon the model I need to build. Some tools are equally functional and some work better for me in one program verses another.

It took a while but these days I use mostly Silo ( the pro version) and have even figured out how to do hard edged models. I just don't subdivide. Ta Da. Not sure what happened to crease but if you divide manually for hard edged models you have better control over poly count anyway. I have learned to love working with it in most cases. I export via .obj and use OBJ2FACT to get my fact files and that works pretty well. I particularly like getting down to vertex level control and the paint displacement that is almost ZBrush like. I can also import models from other sources which was my main problem with EIM.

Problems with Silo are a lame management window that does not update properly once it reaches the bottom on a Mac. Limits the number of objects that you can comfortably use in a model. Array tools are needlessly complex and limited in function at least to me. Even Strata Pro had better array back in 1993.I like the key stroke manipulation but If I'm going back and forth between EI and Silo I keep hitting the wrong keys so I try to complete models and only then move to EIAS. That is probably more of a sign that I need an upgrade. :-)

Had Lightwave 5.5 back years ago for the modeler. Used it once and could not figure out the tool naming conventions. It was powerful but it drove me crazy so I shelved it.

I find every app does some things better and some worse. Of course some folks may really like how the things that I dislike work. Matter of taste I guess.

Bill Dempsey

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FormZ & Shark FX for Hard surface

Modo, Lightwave, ZBrush & Quidam for everthing else.

Also using 3dCoat for retopo & UV but not completely got the hang of it yet.

Oh & don't laugh but I got a license for Groboto last week the v3 beta is awesome!!

Unfortunately Quidam doesn't export fbx, it would be great if EIAS would support Collada in the near future.

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Hi I installed Silo recently and had the same problem of no mesh coming into EIAS on an intel mac and did a search on the old forum and someone said you have to run Silo under rosetta for exporting to work. So I set it to run under rosetta and I only have tried one model export since then but it did make it work. To run under rosetta you click on app icon do the get info from the file menu and click the box, open with rosetta, then open the program. I heard you can run EIM on intel macs the same way but have not tried it . Still have it on my G5.I guess you must be able to install from old install disk from people saying they got it on their intel Mac.

Mark

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Silo 2.2

Zbrush 3.2

Blender 2.49b and 2.5 a0 (wait till the 2.5 beta comes out with all the features from 2.49 re-implememented...the new interface is niiiice....)

Groboto...yes it's crazy what you can make with that...didn't know there's a v3 beta out...have to take a look...

I don't do a lot of CAD level exactness, so this probably isn't much of a help to you...

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EI Modeler only (!)

Sometimes, when it comes to very basic models like cubelike and so on,

i use the superold "Zoom" from Abvent on a OS9-basis :blush: (shame on me...)

fantomaz

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Silo for most of my work and I export obj then use OBJ2FACT to translate for EIAS. It is a pretty capable modeler and does what I need it to do with a couple small annoyances. I tried the demo for Modo which I really liked and seemed like there was not much I could not do with it. It felt like a very polished and Pro tool but I was going to wait for a little and see what is up with Tesla before deciding on moving to Modo.

Zbrush for organic models. Modeler I really used it a lot in the past tends to be unreliable for me lately so I have been relying on Silo for most of my needs.

-- Eric

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I do my modelling in EIM and Wings3D. At work, I am given files as SAT files from SolidWorks that I run through EIM to get the fact files. I also use Accutrans3D for file conversions.

Ross

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formZ 6.6, sometimes LightWave, sometimes Maya or Max. Depends on where the source model came from.

I try to avoid building my own models but dealing with TurboSquid stuff can be a real headache sometimes. It means always having to translate out of some format. If a model needs touch-up or alteration, I'll usually go into formZ for that, since that's the modeler I'm most familiar with and I like its precision. Like EIAS: same interface after all these years.

Sometimes after a reinstall, f/Z's icons revert back to their default 'color' mode, and I'm always completely lost. I can't use it unless the palettes are in the b+w mode from f/Z circa 2.0! Plus I've got an extensive batch of hotkeys defined, all loosely derived from either LightWave, Illustrator, or my own faulty logic, example, 'T' brings up "translate" (Lightwave), but "." brings up the Hand (me), and "-"/"=" increments in or out (Illustrator).

That sure makes for fun keyboard hunting in Maya.

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Archicad - I also use GDL programming.

+ Sketchup : to clean up model made in Archicad ... or to start from scratch

I tried Bonzai3D, seems promising - but too buggy at the moment.

Guess what, I'm an architect...

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