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Kelleytoons
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6376 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2015 :  9:34:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Forgive this old man for bringing up non-2D software, but I've lately been playing with the (not quite) newest edition of 3DS Max and am absolutely amazed by how much it has changed since the 7 or 8 years it's been since I've last used it.

I was an early adopter, back when it ran on DOS (remember that?) and was called 3D Studio -- not quite a beta tester, but close enough. Through the years I made a lot of money with it (all my animation dollars were earned with it), which helped pay for the $$$ software (including plugins) and along the way I learned almost all there is I know about animation and digital creation from it. I also became close friends with many folks in the industry who I see are still involved with it (I also made the aquaintance of some artists and supervisory folks who worked in a little shop you might have heard of, called ILM).

It was heady times then, being invited to Hollywood parties and premieres, and getting to hobnob with some of the elite (even met Speilberg but that's a whole other story). After I retired I continued to dabble in Max, keeping up my annual subscription, but eventually the love of 2D animation took over, and I never missed the fact that it took FOREVER to render any animations of any length.

So imagine my surprise when I found so much to like about 3DS Max after all these years. It truly is extraordinary, and like spending time with an old friend you haven't seen in nearly a decade, I have a lot of catching up to do. But the thing that impresses me the most is how much rendering, animation and modeling have progressed since those early days.

While I haven't run extensive tests, it does appear lightning fast even with parametric lighting and ray traced shadows. More than that, it's just very nimble in the creation mode, and I never feel like there's anything I can't do with it now (haven't done any character work, though).

I doubt whether I'll ever do any serious animation with it, but I'm having fun pushing things around and the Pixar code stuff with subobj division is truly amazing. 3D was always my first love, at least in my own creative talents, and I suspect I'll at least continue to play from time to time there. I'm just glad I lived long enough to see all these wonderful tools available to even the one man shop.

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley

SynthSin75
Administrator



USA
4465 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2015 :  10:00:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit SynthSin75's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I played with 3DS Max a bit before finding AS...so about 7-8 years ago. Just couldn't get over the massive time investment just for asset creation. Guess I'm not cut out to be a modeler.

-Wes
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Kelleytoons
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6376 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2015 :  06:03:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, there is no doubt that modeling in 3D is one of the most time intensive parts of it (the other is just setting up scenes, as folks are MUCH less tolerant of things that don't look "real" or are missing things we just take for granted in life, unlike 2D where you can get away with almost anything and folks "fill in the blanks"). I was never much of a modeler in my day, either buying or using colleagues for that purpose.

But one of the things that drew me back in the first place was I wanted to create a certain model for a friend (who is a "Forbidden Planet" fanatic) and I thought I'd give it a try in the new Max. It is SO much easier to model that it's actually fun (and not the tedious work I used to find it). The aforementioned Pixar code goes a long way towards that process -- it's now intuitive in a way that I never found it to be. Indeed, I think I'll spend most of my time playing around with modeling (unlike the past where I spent the vast majority of my time just animating).

If I were even slightly younger I'd be getting involved in what I think is sure to be the confluence (and convergence) just around the corner: we are probably only a matter of a year or two away from even the most rank amateur having easy access to high detail 3D scanning (and printing, but that's only what's driving the process). At that point in time folks who have sculpting and/or kit bashing skills will be able to create models to use in 3D software and then the second part of the merging of technology will be available -- performance capture (again, even for the most cash poor person). I am convinced this will happen before the end of the decade or, at most, the beginning of the next one.

Once that occurs almost anyone with even a glimmer of an idea will be able, in very short order, to create very detailed and amazing 3D animations no matter what the skill level. I'm talking Pixar level stuff, although perhaps not with the same atmospherics and other physics engines (those still take an amazing amount of computing power, although even there we are seeing major advances). When we are at that point where "professional" 3D animation is as easy as doing a podcast is nowadays, the landscape will be so different it's hard to even predict the consequences.

My feeling is that anyone with a real, compelling, story to tell will find it easy to get that story told (similar to the way YouTube, Podcasts and Vidcasts have advanced the art of personal communication). In all that "noise" it will be difficult for the truly exceptional to stand out, but I suspect they will find a way. However, I'm also fairly sure that this old man will be way TOO old to take advantage of those advancements in any meaningful way. Still, it will be, like the Chinese curse, interesting times to live in.

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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neeters_guy
Silver Member

504 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2015 :  1:02:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit neeters_guy's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I tried 3DS Studio (under DOS) and then again with 3DS Max 2. I eventually learned to use Lightwave 5.6 but haven't upgraded since 8.

I came to the same conclusion: 3D animation is a team effort. The time it takes to model, texture, rig, then animate is ridulously long not to mention highly technical (I've bought many a book dedicated to these subjects). In high end studios, these are separate jobs.

I do understand the high upfront cost of 3D assets is more than justified in a long running series or movie. For the lone animator, not so much.

The neat thing about ASP is you get fast asset creation and the benefit of reuseable assets...best of both worlds.

----
http://neetersguy.tumblr.com/

Edited by - neeters_guy on 06/26/2015 1:03:35 PM
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Kelleytoons
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6376 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2015 :  5:07:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, the switch to AS was enormously liberating to me (then again, I was mostly making very short 3D animations when I was working).

But, truly, the entire environment has changed and the tools are tremendous (particularly compared to 3DS Max 2). It's been a long journey, but I could see a starting animator nowadays realizing his or her vision even in a one person shop.

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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jahnocli
Junior Member



United Kingdom
242 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2015 :  04:03:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think for most non-professional animators the main stumbling block would be the eye-wateringly large amount of money required...
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Kelleytoons
Forum Admin



6376 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2015 :  07:40:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, no question that the initial buy-in for anyone is huge (although if you are a student you can get much of this software, if not for free, then for pennies on the dollar -- it's the non-students that have the real hurdle).

I was always facinated by animation and back in the early 90's there weren't a lot of choices for someone to even animate a simple scene with realism. I was making good money at the time and decided to spring for the cost: IIRC it was at least a few grand, which back then was pretty ridiculous money. Then again, a 10meg hard drive was 1300 dollars.

And speaking of hardware, that was the REAL issue -- you couldn't just render something out to a digital file that you could use in broadcast (or anywhere else BUT a computer, and we didn't have things like YouTube or even the 'net to show folks our stuff). I spent at least 3K for a frame-by-frame video tape machine that would painstakenly record each frame as it was rendered -- it took 10 hours to do a 30 second animation, and woe to you if your computer froze up or anything else went wrong (or you had to start from the beginning).

So -- early adopters. Nowadays there is tons of really good cheap 3D software (not to mention the hardware needed to lay stuff out) and anyone can at least dabble their feet. For the more sophisticated stuff like Max... well, like I said, if you are a student you are in luck but if you are a true hobbyist with no thoughts of making money from it there are "other" ways around things (the less said the better, at least here).

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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seren
New Member

61 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2015 :  3:35:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Since you are looking at 3DS Max again Mike, might be worth checking out 3Dcutout.com
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Kelleytoons
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6376 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2015 :  8:01:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, that's interesting but really, AS does so much of what I want it to do (and I can control it so well) that using Max for 2D animation sounds a bit odd. Kind of like the same way I feel about using 3D inside of AS (namely, an interesting trick but nothing I would ever do).

To me the best thing about having different software is you can choose the right tool for the right job (if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail - wise old expression).

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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rankamatuer
Junior Member

205 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2015 :  1:51:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just don't get 3d as a cartooning medium. I like the idea of using it helping me generate 2d scenes, because I'm lazy (though I don't know how realistic that is). But I don't get the idea of trying to make it mimic reality when you already know it's an animation. Why? perhaps it's me showing my age, because I grew up on a stream of 2d cartoons...

One must attempt the absurd to achieve the impossible.
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Kelleytoons
Forum Admin



6376 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2015 :  3:03:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I go back and forth -- there is something about (good) 3D that moves me in a way 2D does not, but 2D is always my first love, since I grew up on Disney movies like Pinnochio and Fantasia.

Right now I'm doing a lot of 3D work in iClone, which is a ton of fun. Story telling is story telling, no matter what medium you use.

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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SynthSin75
Administrator



USA
4465 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2015 :  7:10:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit SynthSin75's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just looked at iClone and it looks very impressive, especially for the price. Looks like character creation works similar to highly customizable video games. Any more details about your personal experience with it would be appreciated, Mike.

-Wes
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