Student Modeling software

Im an ID student and am doing some research on modeling software. I have used Rhino and dabled in Cobalt ( which so far I hate, unfortunately my school uses cobalt ). I have taken a good look at solid works and Studio tools. I tried to get some info on Pro-E but their site keeps comeing up in Chinease, anyone else had this problem? I have also heared of something called IDEAS?, but have not been able to find it online. Anyway I have heard mixed info. from professors as well as other students. To make matters worse Im not quite sure what a parametric surface is or the difference between a Class-A and a Class-“what have you” surface. I am familiar with surface modeling and associated techniques ( lofting etc… ) but am interested in hearing some fact based opinions. I have read similair posts and see things like " Pro-E with IDSX package is best. " Ok, WHY. Also is Studio Tools any good, I don’t see it recomended much. I could continue writing but this is getting a bit long so Ill give you a chance to respond to what Ive written so far before elaborating.


Ok, I figured out why pro-e’s page was in Japanese, Im not going to say what was wrong ( makes me look stupid ). Anyway Im browsing pro-e’s interactive tour and so far it looks pretty good. Pro-E and solid works are both pretty impresive. From reading other posts Pro-e with the isdx II package seems to be the favorite. However a lot of people still recomend getting Rhino as well as Pro-E/Solid Works. Why? I imagine the answer has something to do with Rhino’s surfaceing capabilites but what is it specificaly. Also if one develops some surfaces in Rhino and imports them to Solid works or Pro-E any features will have to be defined useing Solid Works Feature Works right? Otherwise you cant take full advantage of Solid Works? Does Pro-E have a utility that preforms the same function as Feature Works.

Learing and Loving it,

Wow never heard that before. Alias is widely regarded as the best surface modeler ever (although it is showing its age.) Almost every ID firm and Hollywood special effects shop uses it.

You can get a full working evaluation version of it (no time restriction) from Alias for about $20… The limitation is that it watermarks your renderings and the geometry is not exportable.

You may not see it hyped much because of the archaic way that they sell their software: from local reps only, not retail. This is legacy from the days when it took a very expensive SGI setup to even run it. Unlike with Maya, they haven’t gone retail with Studio to compete with the growing threat from inexpensive retail software like Rhino… But they’ll have to eventually.

Maya is now retail? got mine through reseller. same place sells Studio.

Ah you’re right–But they did take a big move by drastically cutting the price to consumer levels.

On Alias’ website they list Maya prices, but don’t for Studio products… Again, I think that this is a legacy thing. Maya is relatively new, but they’ve been working out “deals” on Studio for years. They would compromise recurring revenue streams by posting “retail” prices for Studio.

Studio is ancient. but Maya not so new anymore either. development goes back like 10years almost. entirely new code. CEO said Maya followed plan. includes price drop (tho maybe he lied). i bought when it was expensive. but i think they were worried about 3DMax. SGI needed more markets. Max was entering film. Alias responded in major fashion. better tool. lower cost. rendering was only bad thing. not anymore.

at $2000 Complete is low-cost. good modeling. excellent animation. includes Mental Ray. why not advertise. Max is almost 2x’s that. Unlimited is $7000. better modeling tho not much. but has Fluids and Cloth and other stuff. competes with Softimage at over $10k or so.

DesignTools are expensive. better to not advertise those apps. ID market is drying up. more and more use SW or Pro Wildfire. with ISDX surfacing Pro is decent. i dont like it so much, still use old Pro surfacing tools. but IDers like it. and videogame market now bigger than film. smart for them to push Maya.

anything that creates geometry can be used. some free NURBs modelers on the net. just need good file transfer. tools like hardware getting cheap. my list of free or cheap modelers keeps growing.

You say you like to older surfaceing tools, is that ISD 1. I ask because the student licence of Pro-e comes with inertavtice surface design tools but not ISDX II. Why did you like the original better.

no. ISDX I/II is CDRS built into Pro/E as new “Style” feature. all curves and surfaces go into that one feature. sucks. i like separate. could kinda make separate but like opening a program in a program. bugs me. EDIT - can still make curves n surfs outside of style. Foundation features available. just not as powerful as Style.

before Pro 2001 there was only Pro/E surfacing - regular simple stuff and advanced. curves were own features. surfs were own features. advanced used to be separate module add on but not ISDX. now all that old surfacing comes standard in Foundation. more difficult to build surfaces. but i’ve used since Pro/E rel 17. comfortable building complex surfaces with it. ISDX is okay. but not great. Rhino/Studio/Maya/etc are better organic. just not integrated.

i bought Pro 2001 w/ ISDX for Pro/E advanced surfacing tools like before. had to buy ISDX to get old Pro advanced surf tools. now i wouldn’t buy ISDX since adv surf tools are in Foundation.

What is Foundation? What are the disadvantages of haveing curves and surfaces part of the same feature? Is Pro-E with ISDX I better than Solid Works, or does ISDX II make the difference.

What is Foundation?? you need to research some. read up. then ask good questions.

I have been researching 3d surfacers and I am trying to get my boss to implement a program called thinkdesign by think3. It has very favorable reviews and comes highly recommended for styling. I have been very impressed with the ID features it has. Whats more- this might be a clincher for students- think3 is free for all students of IDSA affiliated schools. Clients using think3 include Porsche, Audi, Michael Graves and Assoc, Alessi, and others. I would definitely recommend getting it over Rhino, or even Alias. The only downer is that think3 is a relatively new company to the US market and not a lot of US companies have adoped it yet. However it is a Class A modeler, has awesome global shape modeling and is supposedly very intuitive (have not used the prog so please take this info about intuitiveness with a grain of salt.)

as for Alias- it is very intuitive for designers, and has brand recognition. alias used to be a trail-blazer but Alias has not produced an innovative product in eons. Little improvements here and there - but alias has not responded to customers in the way that proE and Solidworks have.
Why is proE and ISDX so popular? ProE was one of the first on the block with parametric modeling. It is very mature and continues to innovate- note the latest Wildfire release. ISDX is native within proE which means that you have the power of a surfacer combined with shelling capabilities, mold flow analysis, stress analysis etc of proE.

Lots of people use Alias, and proE. Both programs are worthwhile learning because of the sheer amount of designers and engineers that use them. Rhino is worth a look for learning the basics of nurbs modelling- but the student version of Alias might be the better option. Rhino in my opinion is awesome for the price but the lack of design history renders it painfuly slow for iterative design changes. The best thing that a student can do is learn 1 surfacer and 1 solid modeler. Cruise the postings on core and see what programs employers are looking for. This might help you respond to what employers are looking for.

Class A surfacing is an automotive term that refers to an surface that is visible ie all the shiny metal parts. Technically this means that even car seats are class A surfaces.

Because of the scale of automotive parts subtle shifts in curvature and shifts in highlights are perceptible to the human eye. Hence Class A essentially a term for very smooth surfaces. But then how do you define smooth? ( has some excellent discussions on this subject) Different auto firms have different definitions for Class A. Class A surfaces have smooth transitions and no abrupt changes in highlights. Generally ID is generally not too concerned with Class A etc- although it is very nice to have the option

Class B etc refer to the surfaces of components that will not be seen by the eye during normal use. Surface quality is not as important.

Hope this info is helpful

unless think3 changed recently they have a subscription sales model rather than a permanent license. so you pay the same $ every year. not sure how much or if that includes telephone/internet support, etc. but i wondered: what happens to all your think3 data when you want to move to a different package? can you access the think3 models you made last year if you don’t have a license anymore?

Thanks for the info. Looks like a pretty sweet package i’ll have to talk to our schools staff about that, we use cobalt, I haven’t taken the classes yet but I downloaded the trial version and was apauled (spelling?). The interface was well… yuck, and awkward to use.