If you consider yourself as primarily a 2D Photoshop artist, a jump to a 3D workflow can be daunting. There’s a big learning curve, a substantial cash investment and a choice of applications with interfaces that can seem scary.
In terms of available professional 3D applications, there are a few. CINEMA 4D, LightWave and the open-source (but rather tech-heavy) Blender are all strong contenders. Another market-leader is Autodesk with its applications 3ds Max, Maya and Softimage.
Just like Adobe, Autodesk increasingly markets its software in bundles, with the Entertainment Creation Suite 2013 Ultimate being the most complete.
Also like Adobe there are a lot of cross-platform capabilities between these 3D software. The Ultimate Suite contains 3ds Max, Maya and Softimage as well as dedicated software for organic modelling and character animation.
In this feature review we’ll take a look at one of the most popular offerings, 3ds Max, subsequently exploring other suite software applications and how all this might fit into your Photoshop workflow.
3ds Max 2013, like Maya and Softimage versions, is a major application enabling you to create, arrange, light and animate anything you can imagine as a full 3D image. Users can then render it out as anything, from a cartoon illustration to a completely photorealistic image if your modelling and lighting skills are up to it.
The package offers powerful features for modelling 3D shapes, using geometric tools that enable you to create any imaginable forms. However, for really detailed organic-looking objects most artists should switch to a specialist package like Mudbox.