ultimate 3D package is?

Hi, I’m a designer in a POP, retail environment industry and been using Form-Z as modeling, rendering and even detail drawing tool for last 5 yrs. But now I’d like to take my skill to the next level.

So if any 3D software talented professional designers out there can throw some advises that would be greatly appreicated!!

  1. 3D Modeler; with Form-Z it’s been very challenging and sometimes unsuccessful to create organic shape. For example, I had to pass my project to another designer to model it for me. How embarrassing is that…
    It was injection moulded tray with curve detail front lip. So which modeler would be best for surface and solid modeling? (I will be doing POP, retail interior also residential interior illustration)

  2. Rendering; I did some research for 3d software and attended 3D Max and Maya seminar in Toronto, and decided to go with Maya thought it had better U-I. I have used PLE version and invested some cash purchasing 82hrs of worth of DVD tutorial. Now I’m almost half way through there and realized it only does surface modeling…Basically everthing I model there is hollow …in reality, if you make ,for example kitchen cabinet with glass door, you would want it to be solid wood panel with 1/4" thick glass inserted in it. but everythings is hollow with no thickness…driving me nuts!!!I tried exporting FormZ to dwg ,dxf,obj …etc. to open in Maya but no luck. I guess I need another modeler to work with Maya…

  3. Drafting tool; detailing from roto moulded ice box to store fixtures with showcases to plan and elevation drawings of store interiors…is Solidworks good for this type of work?? or AutoCAD?? which I don’t really like…and FormZ is just pain in the ass to do drafting

    I would like to use great modeler and great renderer and great detailer software and stick with them for good. Or if there’s combination of 2 that’s good too. For example can I use solidworks as modeler and detail tool? Rendering quality is really important to me. so that would be a separate program…I’m sorry If’m confusing you guys…or myself… Just been a frustrating last couple of months to decide wihich sofware I should choose.

Budget is not a consideration. Best reults are what I need.!!

Big Thank you in advance for you patience in reading all and your advice.

Watsup Skyjay…

it sounds like you need a good modeling program…Solidworks…is want you want…there is Pro E but it will take a while to pick that up… Solidworks is user friendly and is now collabing with Rhino the NURBS modeler which is sweet for organic shapes that you mentioned you were having trouble with?

Let me know if you need any more info…send me a PM…and I can direct you towards some helpful people with advice…

Marcus Brownicus

Thanks No.2

Is SolidWorks good for detailing plan & elevation of…let’s say… 3000 sq.ft. store interior? I know it’s really wicked program for part & assembly drawing for consumer goods.

Do you need Rhino when you use solidworks? Is Solidworks good for starting from scratch…for conceptualization?

Rendering is not up to my expectaion in Solidworks. So I guess I’ll need someone to give me advice on that…if you have any idea on that, that would be great too!

Thanks again No.2~

For rendering, I’ve heard great things about Alias ImageStudio.

I’m a long time user of Alias StudioTools (Now AutoDesk AliasStudio) and have recenlty been contemplating a switch to the Rhino/SolidWorks combination to get a balance of the Nurbs and Solid Modeling realms. (No, you don’t NEED Rhino to use SolidWorks, but if you like nurbs modeling, then you’ll probably want something in addition to SolidWorks)

I used to use Form-Z when I was in the POP/Event Exhibit biz. I had exactly the same problems that you are describing in making any kind of organic shapes.

I ended up using Rhino with Flamingo. I would guess that SolidWorks while it is fantastic may be too expensive and way overkill for what you are modelling.

Rhino has a free demo that would be woth downloading. Most people get up and running very quickly with it. Good luck

Here’s my quick opinion:

Rhino - Best for a budget and flexibility $1595 if you get the bundle. Relatively easy to pick up. Take a course. With flamingo good rendering. Brazil is working on a plug-in. If that ever finalizes Rhino’s rendering will be top notch. Its currently in beta. This would be the best for elevations, etc.

Solidworks - Mid-tier budget $5K ish. Has gotten a LOT better of the last couple of releases. Relatively easy to learn. I haven’t tried the Rhino/SW combination, but now that I have heard about it I will try it. I haven’t tinkered with PhotoWorks yet. I used SW back when it was version 2000. I just bought it a month or so ago after using pro/e for 6 years. Its giving Pro/e a run for its money. Take a course.

Alias - High end budget. Great NURBS and Rendering combo. Others can comment on it more than I can since I don’t use it. Take a course.

Pro/E - High- end budget. With ISDX the nurbs are great. If you are doing tight assemblies, get the advanced assembly package. I would say that it isn’t really geared for elevations as you noted. Now that they have switched to Wildfire, the usability is much more atainable. They are obviously watching Solidworks very closely. They have taken a few pages from the Solidworks book. Take 3 courses.

Hope that helps.

For Rhino both Vray and Brazil have rendering plug-ins available.

Alias, fantastic rendering capabilities, but it is expensive and they require an annual service fee to get any tech support or updates.

BTW I don’t have any affiliation with Rhino I just find it a very valuable and capable tool. I’ve looked at most of the 3D stuff out there as I had to recommend a 3D package for our company to get.

Is SolidWorks good for detailing plan & elevation of…let’s say… 3000 sq.ft. store interior?

Architectural = AutoCAD, or AutoCAD Lite

Trade wide you’ll find more Interior Designers, Artichokes, vendors, and contractors using it. If you need to interact with them it’s the software of choice. But you’ll have to ask yourself, “What’s in my wallet?” AutoCAD Lite, single seat is around $800US; full-on AutoCAD; probably over $3,500 per seat. Maybe somewhat less through third-party sellers.

IMO, for “industrial design” … it’s almost useless.

Hey Skyjay, looks like everyone has pitched their 2 cents in to help you out, thanks guys, I’m relatively new to the game, but if let me break it down like you asked for:

  1. 3D modeler…you want Solidworks…it has the best translators out there right now so transfering files to and from Autocad or pretty much any other program is very available. … There’s a lot of specialty API’s out there, so I’m sure you can find the add in that’s best for you. That tray with the curve detail lip…Solidworks, you could’ve done it yourself… I dont think someone helping you out is embarrasing either though. Solidworks now has a whole chapter on surfacing…so it getting there…I’ve heard Pro E has got surfacing pretty much locked down…but like you’ve heard here…Solidworks has caught up and is making moves to surpass them…I wouldn’t be surpised if most engineers / designers will be making the transfer from AutoCAD and PRO E to Solidworks…IMO…if they’re not making the change its because they’re about to Retire or they’re just to hard headed…

  2. Rendering…I dunno but Photoworks (Solidworks Rendering Add in) has gotten pretty darn photorealistic…but I do agree that 3DS MAX has got it faded…Alias I’m not sure…Rhino and Flamingo are Par too.

  3. Yeah Drafting is a flash in Solidworks…you take your parts/assemblies from model to technical drawing in a flash…all dimensions follow from your model…or don’t however you set it up…detail views section views…exploded views…nice stuff…

As fas as plan - elevation stuff…I just spent a week with a company that designed huge transfer chutes and conveyor belt systems for huge factories and using huge assemblies…and it they would build the building’s dimensions into Solidworks…floor plans…walls…2 or 3 levels of floors with cutouts …I’m talking huge assemblies containing subassemblies…Solidworks.


Rhino and Solidworks can be run separately dont need each other, but now can work together. In Solidworks you start with your sketches…so yes from scratch…but you can also build templates in your parts and drawings for that stuff you dont want to making over and over again.

Thanks N2 and Thanks everybody for your advices.

I went through everybody’s posts. And it’s been great input for my decision.
A lot of people think that Rhino offers a lot for its’ price. But again, money’s not really an issue for me…cuz my company pays for that… ^ ^
Like N2 mentioned, you can do modeling in Solidworks just like you do in Rhino, I would rather use 1 program to do it all. modeling and drafting. Otherwise, I would have to model in Rhino and do dimensioning in SolidWorks… I don’t see any point in that.

So I think I’m going to go for SolidWorks for modeling and drafting.

Like I mentioned in my 1st post, I need a top notch rendering program… and seems like everyone was focusing more on modeling software. Dont’ get me worng…I learned a great deal from you guys…I just need more advices on rendering software.

I like Maya for its’ nicely designed U-I and rendering quality.
Does it work well with Solidworks?
Or If anyone diagrees…or have different opinion Please Please Let Me Know~!!

Thanks again everybody.!!

Hey if your company will spring for SolidWorks that’s great, but just so you know Rhino does dimensioning too and converting your 3D models to 2D drawings is a click of the mouse button.

How is the Photoworks gallery? Anything I have seen has always looked weak compared to any of the other 3D packages you’ve been looking at. Maybe they’ve improved it in the last year though.

Good Luck

I just checked the Photoworks gallery. It is much better than when I looked into it before. I wonder how well it handles bitmaps as decals, and bump maps?