Think 3 - the good bad and ugly

Just curous if anyone has the skinny on THINK 3 vs Form-Z or 3D Studio. Our companies design staff is currently divided on wether or not to scrap Form-Z and 3D studio and begin using THINK 3. Our company very rarely designs or manufactures injection molded parts, we deal with primarly retail fixturing and POP.

Any thoughts would be helpful !

switching is a heavy investment, what don’t you like or what do you want that you don’t have already?

not to toot the alias horn, but some shops are converting to maya complete for pop and other architectural. has nurbs modeling better than max (this is a generalization but is valid i think for the pop market’s specific needs) and has mental ray for radiosity etc. does dwg/dxf/iges if that’s needed. animates well. flash/shockwave export. costs $2000 in usa instead of $2000 every year like think3. runs on mac too.

downsides: not as much pop market acceptance as max/viz so fewer talented users, anim tool primarily so some of the gui is useless clutter.

could also use lightwave or cinema4d for that matter… or rhino instead of formz.

Think3 is more of an ID oriented prog. Ford recently purchased some seats for design work. It is expensive in comparison to proE and Solidworks but far cheaper when you compare it to CATIA and progs like UG. I think that think3 competes with some of those high end progs. From what I have seen of think3 they have been very tailored to the individual customer and have a very capable program. I know of firms using form z but I dont know too much about it. 3dS is a toy as far as modeling goes but rendering is whole different ball game. Most MCAD progs are crap at rendering, so 3DS can be a valuable tool.

What kind of product does retail fixturing entail? I get the feeling that think3 might be overfeatured for the kind of design you might do.

I believe you are correct in the statement “think3 may be over featured for retail fixturing and POP”. Think3 from what I can tell is bascially an MCAD program that happens to render. From what I saw on their web site its rather crude; not sure if its amautuer work or its a program limitation. Thoughts?

Our industry rarely affords us the luxury of time, with that said most of my designs only use 3D modeling as an underlay for spac planning and designing large enviroments. Then once a concept is favored by a client then I will go back and begin to fine tune things. By the time it has become an order we have our engineering and drafting staff involved who ultimately create the production drawings and currently use Mechanical Desktop.

I have found with most of our clients that a fully actualized 3D model places a client in a “yes” or “no” sitiation instead of involing them in the evolution of an idea. Not to mention I have yet to find any rendering program that can really bring an idea to life…even the most photo realistic are boring(my opion) In my experiance noting brings joy and intrige to a clients eyes like a slick hand rendering with a little photoshop - expecially if you are drawing in front of them! Our compay is currently using Form-Z, it has its issues but none large enough in my opion for us to switch to a different software.

Think3 is not a rendering prog. What do you want these programs to do for you? If it is purely rendering then look into lightwave. or 3ds MAx with v-ray or BRazil

yeah. not sure why your thinking about leaving form-z and Max. they’re such standards in your industry. i’m a maya user, so i might recommend someone consider it for this if they were getting into the field - but couldnt really. seems like your tools are fine. like MB said, if its rendering, then get familiar with Mental Ray (it now ships with Max so theres no additional cost). or get Brazil or VRay if you’ve not upgraded.

YKH…feel free to jump in.

If it was a large environment, I defiantly see the advantage of using CAD do sell the design. Its called using Maya, or max to render a photorealistic walk through. There is a industrial design firm we do engineering work for here that specializes in tradeshow booths, and mobile sales rigs. They actually use AutoCAD for the modeling, then max for the animations.
They present the client with various options via sketch media, then the client chooses 2-3 of those ideas. These are modeled(roughed out no manufacturing detailing), and animated within two weeks. Then presented on a 72" plasma screen complete with sound. They say the clients love it because they can see what the patrons will actually see.

Anyway, I have used think3 and thinkdesign…neither really impressed me more than any other software. And two of the companies I interviewed with a few years back (one in office furniture, other in office/school supplies) saw think3 and think design on my resume, both had the same basic thing to say…We switched and what a waste of money.

By no means am I an expert in the POP or Fixtures markets, these are just by observations and experiences. But I will have to agree with YKH in saying that it is my opinion that form-z, AutoCAD, and max are the standard programs for your area.

my first job was with firm whose primary business was restaurant interiors. Alex Sekely (R.I.P.) did amazing sketches on mylar. awesome stuff. dont know anything CG that competes. or ever will. client imagination is the best image.

short of that talent i see immersive 3D as the future. best immersion is FPS games. i’d keep Max and get smart about D3/Unreal/HL2/Far Cry/etc. D3 will have dynamic lighting. others should have GI-based lightmapping. and it’s essentially free. nothing to lose looking at it.

my two cents.

Hmmm you are on to something ykh. It would seem that game engines have more development momentum going behind then than CAD tech does

Hi room,
In my company we use thinkdesign for the fixture design purpose. we are in BIW. We design body welding fixtures for automobiles in thinkdesign.We found this software performs well of the other s like pro-e, ideas,and even catia V5.
If anybody is an extensive user of thinkdesign/think3 he may communicate with me on mkulkarni@kcl.kineticindia.com .

YKH,
Did you goto CIA, or work in Cleveland?