Modo or Cinema 4D for beginner - please help!

Hi guys. I am undergraduate student of Product Design and Graphic Designer by trade. I’ve been given a project of making a stand lamp. The given brief is very narrow, haven’t received much support from Uni in terms of who and what so I guess it’s all down to me to figure out.

I completely don’t know where to start, what to begin with. What software and why. So far I’ve used sketchbook pro for sketching and Corel X3. Not sure which one is used in my field but I am open for your opinion. Which sketching Mac software do you recommend?

Another thing is 3D software - there are plenty out there. Don’t really know what makes AutoCad different from Modo etc as I’m beginner. School doesn’t help as much cos many students already “know it all” so those “behind” are left on their own destiny.
Can you advise me of what software do you recommend for Mac user? So far I like Modo and Cinema 4d interfaces. Preferably i would like to use of of these two. Also got AutoCad 2014 but it’s magic to my eye.

Last thing is workflow. I don’t know where to begin. Whether I should sketch and then trace it using 3D software or … (not sure)

I will really appreciate you help and input.

Modo and Cinema are both mainly SDS-Modellers which means the process usually consists of creating a lowpoly model out of purely geometric polygons (usually tris with three points or quads with four points). Afterwards these lowpoly meshes get subdivided and smoothed multiple times. Organic structures get interpolated out of low poly meshes, so to speak. That is great for organic things and is the perfect tool for quickly building up complex flowing surfaces. But it lacks precision when it comes to details. It is really really hard to, for example, cut a PERFECT circular hole into a SDS-object. Due to its high modelling speed, the high surface quality but low precision software packages like Modo and Cinema usually just get used in the entertainment industry. There are ways to incorporate SDS-modelling to a product design/industrial design workflow, but those are usually a little bit more advanced.
You should work yourself into NURBS-modelling which is the common thing to do in PD/ID. The modelling approach is really really different from SDS modelling. You use mainly curves and mathematical operations to develop your surface. It is not so organic. It is missing this kind of “clay modelling” feel that SDS modelling has but can be very precise in detail. Being precise is just really important in industrial design since everything should be able to be produced or even mass produced.
SDS modelling software is like photoshop. Fun and fast and great for visualisation. NURBS on the other hand are more like illustrator. More restricted but also much more accurate if you know what you are doing and what you want to show.
Personally I would recommend you to learn Rhino because in my opinion it is the easiest to learn and gives you a lot of freedom to mess around without really “complaining” a lot. That makes it comparably intuitiv for “artsy” people who have to get used to this very mathematical way of modelling.

All this terms… Thanks a million!
What do you think about autocad? And is there any transition from nurbs to sds for the final result?

Autocad is a drafting package. It is almost not usable as a serious tool for industrial design. You better just leave that software to the engineers etc. :wink: If you are looking for a more technical approach to modelling have a look at solidworks.

There are ways to transfer nurbs to sds. In fact your computer is ONLY able to display polygonal meshes. Nurbs are just the overlaying system how you create the geometry. Here the Illustrator → Nurbs and Photoshop → SDS comparison works again. Even if you work in vectors you monitor will be just able to display pixels. And of course you can export an illustrator file to jpeg and open it in photoshop, but you will always “lose something”. Same for an NURBS to SDS workflow. Sure you can open Nurbsfiles as meshes, but it usually rips the structure to pieces and in the best case they are just visually intact.
There are decent ways to import SDS-Meshes to NURBS modellers (see T-Spline for that) but as I said, this is somehow something very specific. It is useless without having a solid knowledge of BOTH modelling techniques.

So just go ahead and learn the basics with one of the standard tools of industrial designers. And that usually is Rhino or Solidworks. There is also Alias which is somewhat a little bit like Rhino, but in my opinion the interface structure and philosophy is one of the biggest crimes ever committed to mankind. It is quasi unusable for me as a lefty for example :cry:
I have to press THREE buttons to rotate the view? Srsly? :confused:

Solidworks is Uni standard as 90% of students r on windows. Me as a mac user I’m kind if stuck. I don’t want to bootcamp or use parallel. I would love something mac native. I know you said Modo is SDS but I’m finding it very intuitive. Is there anything like that in nurb section for mac user you think?

Then your ONLY option is Rhino. Do yourself a favor and ditch Modo. It is just not the right tool. Modo can be a nice ADDITION to an ID workflow when you are more advanced.
Asking for a Software that is like Modo is like saying: “I know I need a saw for that job and yes, there are three different kinds of saws over there… but I REALLY like that hammer. Is there maybe a saw available that works like a hammer?”

Later when you put together your CV you just have to be able to say that you are either skilled in Rhino, Solidworks or Alias. That is a must. There is no way around it. So just bite the bullet and pick one.

And personally, if I were you and 90% of your colleagues are using solidworks you should probably go for that as well. It is really helpful to be able to ask a real human being in real life for help. You should just jump over you own shadow with the mac/windows thing. Later no one will care for the reason why you went for the totally unknown mac software x instead of learning the really common solidworks.

I got it

I mead sds and nurbs?

Forget all the toys, special features and combinations of techniques.

Get a copy of Rhino for modelling and Keyshot for rendering and just start learning it. There is NO other way. You simply need the basic stuff, then you can worry about everything else. Trust me.

I guess you right. Already got sketch up pro and maxwell. Good choice?

Alias is also available for OSX now.

Rhino has a less steep learning curve in my opinion, but Alias is the better tool.

Sketchup is useless for industrial design. It’s software made for architects. Wrong tool again. :wink:
Maxwell is a really powerful render engine but it simply can’t compete with keyshot in terms of speed. Not only render speed but also the time it takes to set your scene up. For renderings in the conceptual phase there is no good alternative to keyshot right now. Maxwell is more the engine of choice for the final, supershiny, hyper realistic rendering for your portfolio or for the magazine advert… but when you are still in the process it is probably a waste of time

I agree and uninstall it then. Can’t Modo or Cinema 4D match rendering of Keyshot?

What about Catia? Heard that is the best tool for both NURBS/SDS…

Also just got a student trial of Vectorworks Designer. It’s mac native and it’s ui is quite clean…

Nothing matches Keyshot in SPEED. Modo and Cinema’s render engines sure can match Keyshot quality wise and might even surpass it if you know how to do it… and that is exactely the point - I promise you it will take you at least a year of hard work to get even close to what you can achieve in Keyshot in the first 2 weeks.

Why are you even looking for software that can do SDS modelling? What do you need that for? You don’t need SDS modelling for ID, you need NURBS! I though I already said that for a hundred times :wink:

Let me be frank: You are doing the typical beginners mistake. Researching software without even having the slightest idea what you want or need. You don’t even know the basics! And now you are researching software that can “combine SDS and NURBS modelling” without even being able to model anything at all? WTF? Seriously, just cut it. uninstall all that (probably) inferior software (that you want to use because of it’s “clean UI” which doesn’s mean anything) that no one has ever heard about and no one can help you with. Wipe that idea from your mind that you need the perfect software that can do everything.
Install Rhino/Alias and just START LEARNING. That is the only serious advice I can give you. And probably this is what everyone else here would advice you as well. If you think you know better, fine, but still… just start learning. No 3D-Software package will be useful without hard work.

What exactly is your problem with e.g. Rhino that you are dodging that advice I already gave you more than once?

Is it wrong to ask why you are expected to have 3D models of your project concept, when your school doesn’t seem to be providing any software or training to do so? Is CAD modeling a requirement of the project or just what you want to use for this?

What else - is this due in a week?

Has MoI made an impact on the industry yet, or is it not feature-rich enough?


Trouble with Rhino is - price. Can’t afford it at this moment of time. Autodesk offers free educational softwares. Once advised that alias learning curve is +6 months whereas Modo is weeks. That’s why Modo and person advising was one of the best in gaming industry who understands ID.

I already got Cinema and Modo with and digital tutors accounts happy to learn. But I want to be sure that softwares I will learn with be the only one I need and use…

What do you mean?

Wow. OK then. That’s kind of … weak.

The only people who I know use Modo are closer to the game character or special effects design world, not the same as ID. I’ve no doubt it would be interesting in an ID workflow but it is by far not a standard.

Cinema 4D is a bit more familiar - we used to use it for rendering and I believe its OK for polygonal modeling. I believe its more a standard in POP/environment/trade show exhibit design agencies, due to the balance of rudimentary modeling with better-than-average textures and lighting. I’ve used in the past but just for rendering, and now prefer Keyshot a great deal. But like the above poster said, knowing Cinema won’t help you like knowing Rhino or SW or Alias will. Forget CATIA unless you want to be an engineer or very technically oriented designer.