Alias, 3D studio max, rhino, solidworks, CAD?

Hey everyone, I was wondering what everyone thinks is the best? I know all of these have their pros and cons, but I am still determining which is the best all around for an industrial desginer. So far, I like rhino, but I see a lot of companies looking for alias knowledge. What does everyone think?

what type of industrial design are you doing, soft (furniture…) or hard (plastics…)?

hard plastic

I like Solid Works.
It’s simple to learn, very easy to work with.
Click on a button and you have all your tech drawings.
With Cosmoworks you can measure physical properties of the material you specified…
It keeps getting better plug-ins.
I don’t know, maybe I know how to use it now and feel comfortable with it; I haven’t used Alias for a while and have never tried Rhino. I think they have better renderings but then again I believe it is much more efficient and productive to work with the manufacturers when using SolidWorks, specially with the Chinese…

i´m a product-design student (7th semester) from the bauhaus-university weimar/germany and i was on seek for THAT ONE program for about one year. after trying several 3d-concepts (soli works, studiotools, rhino, realsoft3d, solidthinking, cobalt, concepts unlimited, thinkdesign, turbocad, silo, z-brush etc. ) every time after playing one, two hours i was totally enthusiastic about the tool but after one year i had realized some aspects.

  1. the working orientation, whether you are modeling freeform or solid (means geometrical, and not organic things.

and 2. the price: and that convinced me of rhino3d. well, konstantin grcic, famous puristic german designer from munich, is only owning rhino-licenses for the members of his office. he told me that he would better get pro-engineer, also due to the fact, that it provides multiple internet connection to the e.g. asian manufacturers in the same program in the same working session on the computer desktop.
but license costs and even training-costs are uneffordable.
you have to recognize, rhino 4 is launching in the next year and many new features will be shipped with it: also a working construction-history (sketching a curve and after extruding the curve to a surface or a complex object that object will be recalculated after altering that “original/basic curve”, that was an lack of rhino for the last versions, hampered an intuitive way of modelling and was a main benefit of programs that are much more expensive.
but i do not really know your background in the US. you also can google and mailing that companies you later probably would work in and ask them, what programs are needed.
my prospects are having my own little office concerning in conceptional design with some other cool guys and freaking off the world of styly design. and for that rhino provides you the offer, getting an educational version ~225€ with your uni-id-card (full license:850€/ 4900€-solidworks/alias studiotools: 15000€ - 90000€ each license) and after finishing collage you can use your educational license for economical aspects without paying anything. only new upgrades have to be paid.
please browse and also check the galleries and purchaser-list (offices, companies using rhino).
the damn disadvantage what rejected me the first time from rhino and costed me one year of constant practice in 3d-modelling was it´s rough interface. but in the community are cruising several workspace-files even to make an alias-interface. and after all rhino also in it´s current 3rd version
it´s extremly powerful.

beste grüße aus weimar,

I think Alias has the strongest “Wow!” factor of all 3-D modeling software. It also gives you the most modeling freedom right off the bat (no additional modules to buy) and the sweetest renderings. However, it wont give you some of the flexibility you get from solid modeling programs, like the ability to create drawings or make easy changes.

I have just graduated from a 3D design course in th UK. we were given some basic tutoring in Rhino. I found it to be quite user friendly, but was not particularly impressed with the rendering capabilities, even with the various plugins like flamingo. the hardcore ID course at my uni did everything on Microstation… and we were encouraged to use MStat as a rendering tool. Do people actually use these progs in the real world… all i here is 3dstudio max and solidworks blah blah blah. Should I be learning them? did we only get Rhino etc at uni cbecause it was cheaper for them to buy?

all you really have to do is designing. and keep the capability to design. that means. by getting involved in 3d it´s learning process without an really end.
but when practising in any 3d-modelling tool it´s not that hard to get along with another program (at another office). perhaps it cost´s you two weeks of exploring the differences.
and sure alias has a intuitive workflow, but´s no joke: 7500€ (i have to correct) for the lowest level of of the program - designstudio.
make decissions, whether you got employed in a big company that can afford the licences and upgrades or not. small offices and that are the most have an individual collection of tools for their workflow, eg.: corel painter (450 € wacom-tab incl.) for sketching, blender & yaffray (open-source, for free) or cinema (500 bugs) for rendering and animation.


ps: some upcoming and powerful open-source (free!) tools (blender, gimp, give, openoffice ect.) are interesting alternative to rethink concepts and orientation of future design /creation or such really boring topics like globalization and aspects of minimal anticipation in all what creative shall do next.
well, 3d and styling is not all. neat is subjective and becomes boring someday.

“but license costs and even training-costs are uneffordable.”

would advise people to verify pricing. last time this came up on Core, most people didnt know Pro/E’s prices had dropped way down. but dont ask me about their customer service. i dont like using foul language.

We are currently in the process of switching our studio over to a combination of solidworks and 3D Max. We made the decision to go with Solidworks over ProE simply because the learning curve with Solidworks seemed to be shorter and easier (for us). However if you are doing a lot of work in Asia I would suggest ProE, seems to be the standard for asia. For rendering we use 3D max (which we have used for a few years now) I believe Max is the best rendering program out there (imo) we also use it for quick form studies.

Anyway that is my 2 cents worth (take or leave it) others here will probably disagree?

slightly off topic but relevant:

any suggestions for best mouse to use with rhino/alias/solidworks?

“I believe Max is the best rendering program out there”

except that Max isnt the rendering program most people use. they use Max w Brazil or VRay or Mental Ray. all third party plugin programs. some available or soon to be available with other 3D programs. usually in cheaper apps. Brazil should be out for Rhino any time. Maya has Mental Ray and should have VRay any day. Max is most expensive option of these.

You are absolutely correct and Max is definitely the more expensive. However from my experience it is well worth the cost and is easy to learn (even for interns!). Once you know the basics the program has so much depth! To be honest for the longest time this was the only 3D “modeling” program we used.

You are absolutely correct and Max is definitely the more expensive. However from my experience it is well worth the cost and is easy to learn (even for interns!). Once you know the basics the program has so much depth! To be honest for the longest time this was the only 3D “modeling” program we used.

i’d debate Max’s depth compared to other apps. but to each their own. was only pointing out your mistake in citing Max’s rendering prowess. people should be aware of important distinctions. especially one that might cost $3500.

My vote goes for Alias and/or Rhino for surface modeling. Most, if not all, of my surface modeling and rendering is done in Alias. Very powerful all around program. Every so often I’ll use a feature or two in Rhino, ie “Make 2D Drawing”, but I tend to stick with Alias.

If you’re new to the CAD game, Rhino may be a good, cost effective way to ‘get your feet wet.’ Once you got the hang of the basics of surface modeling, you can always step up to Alias…alot of the same principles apply when building a model in Alias. Alias has alot more depth of features, and I think that tends to scare alot of users away.

Just saw a demo for Alias Studio r12…looks like they’ve added some great new features!

I’ve used Solidworks and Studiotools a lot and am learning 3D Max and while Alias has much better (if not the best) surface modelling techniques and can create excellent renders, a lot more time can be needed to make the renders the same quality as 3D Max can knock out relatively quickly (albeit with plug-ins.)

I think there is one main sticking point with Studiotools software: there are two separate software options depending on your field of work. For very detailed, accurate modelling, you’ve got Studiotools, for the better visuals, animation, particle effects and all the other fancy ‘graphic design’ features, Maya fits the bill extremely well. Due to these two packages, there is little support for third-party plug-ins for Studiotools in terms of rendering which seems to have halted any development progress, such as caustics, GI, radiosity, sub surface scattering etc. However, these can be ‘faked’ in certain ways, but it’s difficult.

Solidworks is probably THE best software to use in terms of engineering and manufacturing and the more artisitc side is being developed continually. The surfacing is getting better and the rendering engine has been vastly improved over the last couple of releases (2003 - 2005) and now includes GI, caustics, indirect illumination. However, the rendering time is ridiculously long compared to 3D Max or Maya when these effects are used. But the end result is very good. Doubly so considering the engineering backbone of the system.

The problem with all of this is that each of these packages are fairly expensive, with 3D Max being the cheapest at £3,500. So you really need to decide the area you want to focus on. One final option that might be worth considering (don’t know too much 'cos I’ve never used it) is Catia, from the same people who make Solidworks. From what I understand the whole program is modular and you literally pick and choose exacty what you want it to do. There are advanced rendering surfacing, drawing, FEA modules etc. that can make the software do what you want. And 'cos it’a from the same people that make Solidworks, you pretty much know that the quality of the work is going to be excellent.

I’d personally go for Solidworks if I’m designing products that are actually going to be made (rather than concept visuals etc). If you want fancy renders that Solidworks can’t deliver - and check out before you write off this aspect) then maybe you need to explore a separate rendering package, although I doubt you will need to. The ONE problem I’ve come across with Solidworks is the animation. I need to create animated walkthroughs of the exhibition stands and Solidworks just cannot cope. It will animate well enough. But as there is no clipping plane used for the viewport it just looks like you keep zooming in on the object. If anyone has any ideas for other packages that can do this (currently exporting as STL and importing to 3D Max!!) I’d appreciate your opinions.

Hope I’ve helped and not confused.

i have only to annotate that among my colleagues there´s circulating the one oppinion that cinema4d really has the best renderer of both programs.
and (incl. the advanced renderer module) it´s an inexpensive alternative of definitely a third of the max-costs.

@keffmalone - i’d disagree on a few things. but it’s all rehash. same stuff is in the Software&Tech section. simple search

“The problem with all of this is that each of these packages are fairly expensive, with 3D Max being the cheapest at £3,500.”

you might check this. people now call Max most expensive. not cheapest.