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Thread: Article: The Right Tool(s) for the Job

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinland View Post
    When I add a new tool it's usually because I'm on a project and have run into something knotty that said tool can unravel quickly enough to make the cost pay for itself in time saved.
    It's an interesting balancing act, isn't it? How do you know if a tool will pay for itself? I think it's good to try to add new tools to the kit periodically, as long as they serve a different enough purpose from the tools one already has. When I find a new tool that I'm interested in, I put it on the want list and wait to see if it goes on sale. A couple times that has helped me choose which tool to buy. For example, I ended up with Vue instead of Terragen purely because Vue was on sale. I think either tool would have served my purposes, but getting one for about half the price of the other was the deciding factor for me. So far, it's done everything I need, so I don't regret using price as the primary metric. Of course, I actually didn't get around to using it for a couple months after I bought it, but then I had a sudden need and it was nice to be able to fire up that tool right on the spot.
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  2. #17
    I just wanted to say that I love the conversation that this article started... I wish more talks like this would take place in this community. We need more of this imo.

  3. #18
    Let's choose tools carefully guys!

  4. #19
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    I got a kick out of reading the article and can agree with so much of it. I´d like to raise another aspect of our tools, and in particular software tools, that can make or break the way you make art, that is the company that makes them. When I go looking to use software that costs a lot of money, I look not only at the functionality but the reputation and ability of the company to support it. I think I´ve made some decent choices for longevity as well as functionality but I´ve also been burned as well leaving me with tools that work now but probably won´t work in a few years time. The nature of software is the ability to be collaborative, not only with my operating system but with the other tools I choose and I need a company that will grow with me as I will support them. Now free scripts are great and I use a lot of them, but I expect them to break eventually and would never rely on them to create my art. They are the icing, the cake has to be rock solid.
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  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougster View Post
    It's an interesting balancing act, isn't it? How do you know if a tool will pay for itself?
    That's the real trick, n'est-ce pas?

    When I put together a quote for a gig I take a lot of things into account, including expected tools acquisition and/or upgrades I think will be a necessary part of the job. The depth of the client's pockets determines whether I try to amortize that cost over multiple future (hoped-for) gigs or hit them with the whole hammer in one go. Unanticipated acquisitions after the fact can throw a real monkey wrench into my profit margin, O Yeah.
    “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” ~ Derek Jeter

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  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkLane View Post
    I look not only at the functionality but the reputation and ability of the company to support it.
    Definitely, and a great litmus test. On the other hand, at least for smaller stuff, I've picked up no few single-purpose tools from small vendors who have, indeed, fallen by the wayside. One trick I do to future-proof such toys is I keep an external USB boot drive around with a bootable Snow Leopard installation on it. Some of those unsupported utilities died when Apple got rid of Rosetta but all I need to is boot up one of my Macs into SL and voila. Definitely a smart move to focus on tools that will be supported for a long time but sometimes one just takes a leap of faith to get a nifty capability.
    “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” ~ Derek Jeter

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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinland View Post
    One trick I do to future-proof such toys is I keep an external USB boot drive around with a bootable Snow Leopard installation on it. Some of those unsupported utilities died when Apple got rid of Rosetta but all I need to is boot up one of my Macs into SL and voila.
    Yeah, I'm with you there! I actually still have my G3 tower running OS 9 so that I can still use my Ensoniq PARIS rig. LOL! It's going to be a sad day in my house when that thing dies.

    I always burn multiple DVDs of software installers along with any license files that go along with them, and I pretty much don't ever get rid of any computers just in case I need to boot an old one up again. I probably have 20 computers in the garage - Sun workstations, PC clones, several Macs. My heirs are going to have fun when I die...!
    Opus n' Bill 2016
    2 Spaces 4 America

    Surface Book i7 16GB GPU
    Lightwave 2015, LW CAD 5

  8. #23
    I tell you what, if I were younger and only 1- 3 years of 3d CG experience, this article would be not joyful because i would have to spend literal years to go through a application as diverse as Lightwave or Maya or 3DSmax to determine its weakness. I have been using Lightwave since I was 18 years old back in 1993 so I have a real deep history of Lightwave and its areas of weakness. I have compensate those weakness over the years with learning other apps.

    Messiah:Studio, because of other types of jobs and my new family, I really left this app between 2011 - 2015. But I was a early adopter from it's plugin days (1999) and this year have had 4 jobs that I am incorporated it back into my workflow. So much I am using it for my personal anime project. So LW's weakness of deformation slowness , expression IK, multiple characters dragging the system has been a huge reason for me to bring back M:S. I know that the app is now defunct in terms of development but what most people don't realize that M:S 's Character animation tools, speed were light years ahead and really a lot of apps haven't caught up to it yet. In fact, I use version 5 than I use version 6 because its even more rock solid on some of its tools. Its autorigger are enhanced with the sliders that actually works with the GUI and the presets for hands and various IK are speed boosters. Lightwave's multiple MDD importer makes interchange between the two apps painless, a tool I never used before. Genoma and Rhigg-it are nice but they still have to function within LW's inherit decades old problems.

    Zbrush, I have been using since 2.0 but never added into my workflow because getting it back in LW effortless didn't exist however when Zremesher and DynaMesh release, it renewed my belief that I as a single person shop can use it as a tool. It not only rejuvenated me but now I can model organic characters faster and also in ways I never thought of. LW or Maya are actually slow and laborous. I haven't gotten into Zmodeler yet as I can't wrap my head around it.

    3DCoat. I was a early adopter and bought it at the chep under $100 price. I use this pre-Zremesher when I was discourage by Zbrush. I have never used use the app for sculpting but the UV tools are second to none. Its a joy to UV map in this app and it retains the .lwo format was a bonus. I have recently start using the paint tools which are really nice. I paintned my robot in my film Chinny Chinn Chinn. Paint are good for hard surfaces better than Zbrush in my opinion.

    I flirted with Modo early in its release with its UV tools and uber versions of LW's Modeler tools but its now a foreign app to me because it's so massive now.
    As a unified app, I feel this is a huge reason why I love the 2 apps that LW have rebellious maintain. Don't get me wrong there is a lot to like about Modo and if I were a beginner might have taken to it with its modern look and feel.

    I would love that Layout get Layout dynamic text tools, more geometry tools creation for front projection and camera matching but stay two apps.

    The big tools that I really would like to have updated its a hair generator ( I miss Sasquatch, I use when I can) and more than anything an updated volumetric smoke and fluid solver.
    I also use Turbulence FD (rather hired a guy) for my needs but would love that LW concentrate on upgrading Hypervoxels.

    I have four monitors on main workstation at home.
    I have Layout on one screen, Modeler on one, Zbrush on center with the Wacom tablet and Messiah:Studio. All with one button updates to layout!

    That's a lot of power right there. A very efficient workflow and all the right tools for the job.
    Lightwave 3D is a old beast but production proven.

    Of course I use Adobe Cloud products : After Effects for putting it all together, Premiere for the edit, Audition for its sound tools, and undeniable Photoshop. However one can use the classic CS5 versions and be just as happy.
    Last edited by Julez4001; 11-12-2016 at 05:11 AM.

  9. #24
    I have a G4 solely to play classic Tomb Raider on and I keep one workstation running Snow Leopard which I still think is the best OS ever, though I do miss all the emoji in later OS's. ZBrush,Modo are great but you really do need to keep up with changes,not so much AE,Premier as subscription not innovation seems to be Adobes thing these days, whats missing from your list is PBR and the whole workflow that goes with it (thinking Substance here) Painters fine but Designer is a can of worms.

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