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Buggsy

Silo still worthwhile?

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Hi All,

Can anyone tell me if Silo is still worthwhile to buy as a modeller?

 

I don't do much free form modelling, I don't have the dollars required to buy FormZ or Rhino etc but I did purchase Silo when it was first paired with EIAS. I found there were a lot of deficiencies with it though, such as conveniently organising a model into groups etc. I saw a thread in the EIAS3D forum that said Silo's forum was moving to CG Society and that users speculated it would be the death of the program. I notice also Tomas likes the application.

 

I have a personal project that I am doing which will require modelling people, animals and the like. I don't know if Silo has grown substantially better or if the price tag is indicative of an application that is still unrefined. My point is, I suppose, that I can download Wings 3D for zero dollars and it appears to be as good as Silo was. Needless to say I need to be able to import the models into EI, whether that be via transporter or not doesn't really matter, there just needs to be a reasonable workflow to get them into EI and not have them compromised in the process. I vaguely remember having problems with Silo when it came to sub surface scattering, the model needed to be welded or something for it to work half decently in EI.

 

Some direction would be greatly appreciated.

 

Michael

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Michael:

Silo is abandonware, the creators are working in other things and no hope of new improvements. Silo 2.1(Intel) has serious glitches in exporting Fact. Curiously, Silo 2.1(PPC) export Fact perfectly. I don´t know Silo for Windows. But still is a great and easy organic modeler. i use it everytime. And for US$ 100 is not bad choice.

Hope this could be useful.

Good luck

FelixCat

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Silo on Windows has been the only way for me to transfer files into EIAS 8 (haven't upgraded to 9) and it really is a great program, though it may not have all the necessary features, it's workflow makes the competitors out there seem cumbersome. To bad it is more likely to become "outdated" than updated. Wish someone got their hands on it and develops it further as it is to much of a gem to just let wither and die....which is what Nevercenter has been doing with it.....

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Take into account that, Mac-wise, Hexagon is a PowerPC app that requires Rosetta, so it won't run on OS X Lion or Mountain Lion.

 

Its main bugs: it can crash when opening the app by double-clicking a file, so you better open the app first, then double-click that file. Also, any field-filling by keyboard will turn the main window's objects unselectable, so it's better to do any object renaming or such knowing that it will mean closing and reopening the app to keep on working (the secondary floating window will still work, though).

 

Until EIAS 8 I had far better luck exporting Hexagon objects as .3DS. Got to try .obj with EIAS 9 now.

 

It is a shame that Hexagon has been mostly abandoned: I love its featureset, and I use it quite often. It seems its programming was based on some now legacy framework. There was an attempt at turning it into an Universal Binary version, but…

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I've given up on Silo, as I do enjoy keeping my Macintosh current and don't prefer working on buggy software that the developers just decided to ignore.  I prefer to model on a Mac, rather than on one of my Windows machines, so that does limit my choices.

 

I used to be a Form•Z guy -- LOVED Form•Z.  I moved away from commercial work for a while and Form•Z was just too expensive to maintain.  When I eventually got back into 3D modeling and animation (more focused on 'corporate' and less 'commercial') I decided to go with Punch!CAD's ViaCAD Pro.  I have to say, I have been VERY happy with the product.  It's very technical, which I like (it reminds me of Form•Z).  I'm not a big "organic" modeler -- solid models is more my thing, and I have to have my models very accurate (not always because of the client, but because I will not be able to go to sleep knowing that I created inaccurate models of something.  It's a problem, I know.... I'm sure there's a group out there I should join to help me).  For $350 it's not a bad price.  They have coupons and discounts all the time... I picked up my copy for about $170 due to some promotion they were running a long time ago.  It's solid, accurate, and exports .FACT just fine for everything I've worked on.

 

MOI is another application that I thought was pretty slick (and inexpensive)... although I hesitated to invest the time to learn the application, as I wasn't sure it it would stick around for the long haul or end up like Silo.

 

And... I also have Blender... which was a pain to learn, as it is very different than anything else out there... but once you get into the tools it can really be very helpful for a LOT of different things.  The new Cycles render engine is also very nice -- it's one of those "push button" setups that just works -- perfect for quick and dirty renders.  Not sure I would risk a high-poly project (especially an animation) on Blender (that's where EIAS shines) but it's there if you need to fill a hole.  Can't beat the price.

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I used to be a Form•Z guy -- LOVED Form•Z.  I moved away from commercial work for a while and Form•Z was just too expensive to maintain.  When I eventually got back into 3D modeling and animation (more focused on 'corporate' and less 'commercial') I decided to go with Punch!CAD's ViaCAD Pro.  I have to say, I have been VERY happy with the product.  It's very technical, which I like (it reminds me of Form•Z).  I'm not a big "organic" modeler -- solid models is more my thing, and I have to have my models very accurate (not always because of the client, but because I will not be able to go to sleep knowing that I created inaccurate models of something.  It's a problem, I know.... I'm sure there's a group out there I should join to help me).  For $350 it's not a bad price.  They have coupons and discounts all the time... I picked up my copy for about $170 due to some promotion they were running a long time ago.  It's solid, accurate, and exports .FACT just fine for everything I've worked on.

I've always fancied FormZ but yes, the cost put me off a bit.

 

After EIM started showing its age i also started using Silo v1, and BTW i think the fact export was only broken in v2 which is a shame as there is zero chance of getting it fixed now i assume.

 

I like Viacad very much and i bought the app when it was Csi Concepts 3d, eventually upgraded to Viacad pro which i think is the same thing feature wise, i think the app its self is a fantastic hard surface modeler, but there are a few other things i'm not quite happy about-

 

Concepts 3d was originally 499$ and it was worth it IMO, but somewhere along the way it de-valued by 250$ ?, rather annoying for those who supported the original app, i guess it was just a price restructure.

 

Also the online activation system can be a nightmare, and last but not least, they are spamming both my email addresses every day with "offers", so- great app shame about the company behind it.

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... and last but not least, they are spamming both my email addresses every day with "offers", so- great app shame about the company behind it.

 

That's odd.  I get almost zero eMails from them -- and I even signed up for notifications.  Maybe I should be thankful.  Then again, maybe they used to spam me with "offers" and I unsubscribed a long time ago.  Hard to remember.

 

Silo was something I was really getting into -- until the updates started to slow down and any kind of a response from the developers was getting more and more spaced out.  To me, that's a "red flag" -- if the developers can't even acknowledge a forum post it's time to move on.  That's why it's important for EIAS staff to remain active, even if it's just to say "hi" or participate in various posts (Tomas does a good job of this).

 

When I see a product on the death bed I seriously start looking for replacements.  Final Cut Pro 7, for example, has almost no hope of ever surfacing... so, while I still love it, and while it still works wonderfully for me, I made the decision less than a year ago to switch all my NLE projects over to Adobe Premiere Pro.  If you can see the writing on the wall... might as well move on while you can, because you never know when that next wave of processors or that next OS update will kill the end-of-life application you've been using.  If Silo was still being worked on, I'd probably still use it today.  It was a very simple, fun, and fast way to model.  But, as I said -- my time is better spent learning new applications that I feel will be around for years to come, and that's why I made the switch (otherwise I'd still be using EI Modeler, which was my favorite second to FormZ).

 

As far as the price for the ViaCAD product dropping -- I wouldn't consider it "devalued"... it's just that over time, and with a growing competitive market, technology will continue to get cheaper and cheaper.  Anyone here remember forking out $8,000 on EIAS back in "the day"?  I wouldn't say that EIAS has "devalued" -- at the time EIAS was THE application to have if you wanted to do any serious animation quickly (unless you wanted to spend even more money on SGI boxes and render farms).  EIAS has always been a great value, even when it was multiple thousands of dollars, as it seems to pay for itself quickly.  The first version of EIAS I worked on paid for itself in one project -- as the client was being charged $1,000 per finished second of animation.  With a more competitive market today you might not be able to get that kind of money for a simple transitional motion graphic... but EIAS also doesn't cost as much as it used to... so it all evens out in the end.

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I think the price drop came when they went from CSI to Punchcad and Shark line came out, there was no upgrade path from concepts3d to shark, only option was a £70 upgrade to viacad pro 7, i'd rather have paid more and moved to shark.

 

I just picked Silo 2 up off steam for £19.99, i'd had the first version for a long time but never got around to that upgrade, not really used v2 so far, but for that price it can sit here.

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