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yoshiii
02-07-2015, 06:17 PM
Hello

What is the difference between Lightwave, Zbrush, Messiah, Modo, and others?

Greenlaw
02-08-2015, 11:58 AM
Short answers:

Lightwave is a general purpose, all-in-one (arguably,) 3D modeling and animation package.

Zbrush started out as a 2 1/2D painting program and it gradually grew into a 3D sculpting and texturing program. It is not meant for animation.

Messiah started out as a character animation plug-in for Lightwave and gradually became a standalone animation and rendering package. It does not have a modeler though.

Modo is another general purpose 3D modeling and animation package. It has it's roots in Lightwave so the two programs share many similarities. Modo is built on a more modern architecture. You'll find many debates in both forums about which is program better. FWIW, I find many strengths and weaknesses in both programs...and I like to use either one for its strengths.

G.

Greenlaw
02-08-2015, 12:21 PM
IMO, there is no perfect program that does everything well or easily, which is why many artists and studios use multiple applications in their work. Many programs share overlapping features--for example, compositing programs like Fusion and After Effects have 3D environments and particles systems, just like Lightwave. These features are useful but it doesn't mean you can do everything you can in Lightwave in these compositing programs. Same with Lightwave--you can actually use Lightwave as compositing program and in some situations this can be very useful too, but you really don't want to composite all your shots this way.

It's probably a good idea to pick one general purpose programs, use it for a while and learn its strengths and weaknesses as they apply to your particular needs, and then find the additional tools you need that will make up for those weaknesses.

G.

jasonwestmas
02-08-2015, 01:37 PM
You will probably find that some programs offer more specialized control than others but that control comes with a price in terms of money, time, emotional fatigue, bugs, incompatibilities with other tools etc. So at some point you'll have to decide what kind of price you are willing to pay. And who knows maybe you don't even need half of those when you look at the specific problems you need to solve. So pick your puzzles!

Lightwave: Definitely more of a generalist package that doesn't have a lot of specialized tool-sets so you may find yourself reaching for 3rd party solutions. The renderer is amazing for an affordable native solution and probably the main reason I still have an interest in it. I get the least amount of technical headaches when using lightwave which is probably why people like it. That is until I need to solve very complex problems then I tend to turn to the more beefy types of software.

Modo: Is going in a "do it all" kind of direction including sculpting and painting but it still has a long way to go to compete with something like a maya and zbrush combo. Modo started off and a very powerful sub-D modeler and I would say that is still its strongest toolset. Everything added onto it was added very, very quickly and imo lacks a lot of fidelity to really make the newer tools stand out, not that they are useless. Modo does not have the same high level of 3rd party support as the older programs. I think the renderer is very solid too but with all the choices out there it's hard to find a reason to use it other than for quick visual feedback if you enjoy building all you scenes inside of one environment. The renderer also has great options for stylized Non-Photoreal rendering. Modo's Scene management is actually one of the best out there I think, although many still do not like the render tree. But setting up objects in your scene is really a breeze and I would recommend it most for large environmental compositions.

Zbrush: Is hyper-specialized in that it is all about modeling and sculpting. It does do a few other things like give you morphing previews, color, cavity, AO, normal, displacement baking and some rendering options. The sculpting brushes are the best out there hands down.

Messiah: Is also very hyper-specialized in that it is primarily about character animation. That specialty become obvious when you rig and animate. It's main weakness echoes that of lightwave layout which is vertex control over deformers. But it does have a ton of deformer options for it and you can get nice correctives and deformations if you take the time to set it up. For cartoony stretchy characters, messiah does this extremely well. M:S has particles, some soft body dynamics and a few sculpting tools for animation but that is certainly not its strong suit.

Maya: As someone who uses other people's utility scripts more than I create them I would say that Maya is the best character animation package I have ever used for the FINAL steps in the production pipeline. Freelancers tend to be very experimental with their 3D tools and so tend to avoid huge techy programs like maya. Maya is a complex beast and is not meant to be a messy conceptual tool, if you get messy, the beast will get annoyed and step on you. When using Maya you have to know exactly what you want to do and then you build it step by step like a house. If you don't have a precise plan, then maya is going to break all all over the place forcing a lot of cleanup and other annoyances.

Other software out there like zbrush, lightwave and messiah are more forgiving and therefore allow for more experimental changes during the early stages of production when needed. I like to use these types of programs when my ideas are still very vague. In a forgiving piece of software I am allowed to sketch my ideas and block out an image quickly in 3D. Perhaps do some animated, fully rendered scenes without going through a lot of tech-head setups. Despite the power of the larger applications that kind of power gets messy fast mainly because it grants you access to every little part of the scene assets. If you don't keep track of every little thing you do, well a program like Maya starts to get ill and begins to cough up blood. It's a very exotic and complicated kind of pet to own.

yoshiii
02-08-2015, 05:57 PM
You will probably find that some programs offer more specialized control than others but that control comes with a price in terms of money, time, emotional fatigue, bugs, incompatibilities with other tools etc. So at some point you'll have to decide what kind of price you are willing to pay. And who knows maybe you don't even need half of those when you look at the specific problems you need to solve. So pick your puzzles!

Lightwave: Definitely more of a generalist package that doesn't have a lot of specialized tool-sets so you may find yourself reaching for 3rd party solutions. The renderer is amazing for an affordable native solution and probably the main reason I still have an interest in it. I get the least amount of technical headaches when using lightwave which is probably why people like it. That is until I need to solve very complex problems then I tend to turn to the more beefy types of software.

Modo: Is going in a "do it all" kind of direction including sculpting and painting but it still has a long way to go to compete with something like a maya and zbrush combo. Modo started off and a very powerful sub-D modeler and I would say that is still its strongest toolset. Everything added onto it was added very, very quickly and imo lacks a lot of fidelity to really make the newer tools stand out, not that they are useless. Modo does not have the same high level of 3rd party support as the older programs. I think the renderer is very solid too but with all the choices out there it's hard to find a reason to use it other than for quick visual feedback if you enjoy building all you scenes inside of one environment. The renderer also has great options for stylized Non-Photoreal rendering. Modo's Scene management is actually one of the best out there I think, although many still do not like the render tree. But setting up objects in your scene is really a breeze and I would recommend it most for large environmental compositions.

Zbrush: Is hyper-specialized in that it is all about modeling and sculpting. It does do a few other things like give you morphing previews, color, cavity, AO, normal, displacement baking and some rendering options. The sculpting brushes are the best out there hands down.

Messiah: Is also very hyper-specialized in that it is primarily about character animation. That specialty become obvious when you rig and animate. It's main weakness echoes that of lightwave layout which is vertex control over deformers. But it does have a ton of deformer options for it and you can get nice correctives and deformations if you take the time to set it up. For cartoony stretchy characters, messiah does this extremely well. M:S has particles, some soft body dynamics and a few sculpting tools for animation but that is certainly not its strong suit.

Maya: As someone who uses other people's utility scripts more than I create them I would say that Maya is the best character animation package I have ever used for the FINAL steps in the production pipeline. Freelancers tend to be very experimental with their 3D tools and so tend to avoid huge techy programs like maya. Maya is a complex beast and is not meant to be a messy conceptual tool, if you get messy, the beast will get annoyed and step on you. When using Maya you have to know exactly what you want to do and then you build it step by step like a house. If you don't have a precise plan, then maya is going to break all all over the place forcing a lot of cleanup and other annoyances.

Other software out there like zbrush, lightwave and messiah are more forgiving and therefore allow for more experimental changes during the early stages of production when needed. I like to use these types of programs when my ideas are still very vague. In a forgiving piece of software I am allowed to sketch my ideas and block out an image quickly in 3D. Perhaps do some animated, fully rendered scenes without going through a lot of tech-head setups. Despite the power of the larger applications that kind of power gets messy fast mainly because it grants you access to every little part of the scene assets. If you don't keep track of every little thing you do, well a program like Maya starts to get ill and begins to cough up blood. It's a very exotic and complicated kind of pet to own.

Thank you everyone.

What about 3D studio Max?

shrox
02-08-2015, 06:04 PM
Thank you everyone.

What about 3D studio Max?

I hate Max, some people love it, so there you go.

jasonwestmas
02-08-2015, 06:57 PM
I was going to talk a little about max but I got tired. ;) 3rd party developers for animation, dynamics and render engines LOOOOOOOVE max. Love it to death, I have no idea why, must be the SDK had an early growth spirt. Some developers have a real hard time getting maya plugins out the door for whatever reason. Max is a little bit like lightwave in the way that generalists tend to favor to use it because it comes with tools that makes things fast to setup and get work done quickly. Back in the max 4 and 5 days it was really a bare bones application, a plugin hub that really was not fun to use until you bought a bunch of plugins for it. Today max is still kind of like that but those old-school plugins are now sold with max out of the gate. Plugins like CAT, Character Studio, cloth plugins and shave and a haircut are now standard and have been for a while. Most programs don't have as many default auto-rigging and and animation solutions like max does.

Several years ago max was THE package to learn for developing video game assets and has more recently gotten a heavy foot in the door for creating shots for television and video game cinematics while Maya was and still is mainly used for Film. Today that's not always the case. Maya has taken over in a lot of the character animation tool areas of game pipelines. But despite all that max has really grown in terms of animation and character deformation options thanks to all the 3rd party support over the years, which autodesk snatched up and made standard.

Danner
02-09-2015, 04:01 AM
... 3rd party developers for animation, dynamics and render engines LOOOOOOOVE max. Love it to death, I have no idea why....

I think third party developers love Max for two basic reasons:

1. it's very popular.
2. it has shorcomings they can capitalize on.

jasonwestmas
02-09-2015, 07:30 AM
I think max is popular mostly because of the awesome plugins for it, just guessing. chicken or the egg problem. :) On the other hand the plugins I know about are darn expensive.