What is the industry standard 3d software for the Mac?

Hi. I need to learn a 3d program to render product designs. Some people tell me VectorWorks is the way to go, others Maya or 3d Studio Max (which I believe is pc-based only).

Any recommendations on what’s the industry standard for Macs.
And any suggestions on where to take courses (Pratt, Parsons, etc…?)
I need to know soon since I plan to take a course this Fall somewhere.
Thanks much.

What industry are you looking to use 3d in? Seems to me that the video game industry uses PCs as well as most of the product design industry. Graphic designers use Macs. Most don’t use 3-d software though.

I’m working on a product design and I’m being required to render the product and produce a mechanical for a manufacturer to follow.

I’ve been a Mac user and can’t afford upgrade to a new system.
If you have any suggestions short of getting a new computer it would really help.


You might be hard pressed to do decent 3D design on a MAC. You might want to try “Virtual PC”, in a nutshell it allows you to run Windows based software, I honestly don’t know much about it, but I do know that even with Virtual PC many programs still won’t run on a MAC.

I took an excellent 3D Studio Max course at CCS, that program is good for renderings, but if you’re looking to do a “mechanical for a manufacturer to follow”, then some type of engineering CAD is a better bet.

Try asking around on some MAC forums, you’ll probably get more solid answers there.

The idea that “graphic designers use macs” is stuck in 1985.

That said, there certainly isn’t a lot of software available for them in the product design world. I think FormZ was ported to Mac a while back, and there might be some terrible open source project available for Linux …

“The idea that “graphic designers use macs” is stuck in 1985.”

Go check the job boards. This is the tool Graphic designers use. Sure some know how to us a pc (I’m one of them.) If you are a GEer then you must know the mac to compete… especially print.

You might get away with just knowing the PC if all you do is web and multimedia stuff.

I use Virtual PC on mac os9 1processor G4 running windows 2000. Runs rhino 2 and solidworks 2000. SW gets slow if you try to do surfaces in it. But solid parts + assemblies haven’t seemed to be a problem. I’m not an intensive user though.
Rhino runs nice but some key commands have to change like doing that elevator mode. I’ve never used it on PC so I can’t compare the speed, but it works just as good as any of the ashlar vellum/argon/etc tools native to mac. Just keep your mac clean and fully loaded w/ memory. I"ve never had to wait for anything other than doing the shaded renders. Don’t know how it works w/ flamingo or dedicated renderers.

Ashlar Vellum. Low end “Graphite” = $900

But for just $1400 you could get a $500 PC plus Rhino.

I am a graphic designer using a Mac. If you are a designer of any sort, you need to use a Mac. Anybody that doesn’t think that is true has obiously never used a Mac for designing.

Most good designers are able to use 3d programs.

Maya is available for Mac. There is not question that it is the only program to lean if you are just starting out. It is not as easy to use as some others, so you might as well start now, so you won’t have to learn it later when you out grow a basic 3d program.