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 Confuse in which 3d software to learn 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:51 am
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Post Confuse in which 3d software to learn

hi all,
im confuse with all the 3d program that are available. Which 3d program would likely be use here? Maya? 3dmax? Lightwave? XSI? I jus dont want to relearn new software as it is already time consuming to learn one software



When you learn a software. Don't learn it blindy like as though you are learning from a cookbook.

Before you start learning, you need to ask yourself what you want to do. Modeler, Texture artist, animator ? etc.

For each field, you have to learn both the art and software side of things.

For e.g

Software : Modeling techniques and the tools to be used.
Art: Life Drawings

Software : Lighting techniques and the tools to be used.
Art: Paintings

Software : Animation and lip sync techniques and the tools to be used.
Art: 2d animation and acting.


So you see, when you master art, no matter what software you use later, the knowledge will stick with you for life. And this is the most important thing. How good you are as a CG artist will depend on your art foundation. Unless you are going to be a TD or VFX artist. Then the training is slightly different.

Software is like a pencil to a CG artist. Which ever pencil I give it to you, you should be able to draw. If you know how to drive toyota, you should be able to drive ferrari. Don't learn everything in a software by heart. (Unless you want to be a software sales person) Learn how to control and apply your art knowledge using it. That is the way to learn. And when you move on to a new software, look for similar or improved feature that can achieve those results that you have done in your previous software.

CG has only been around for slightly more than 10 years. And the technique hasn't been changed much from software to software. E.g Modeling. The tecnhqiue is smiliar to 3d sculpting. And the technology behind hasn't changed much. Its just a question getting use to it and where to find those buttons or a slightly improved technique from one software to another. You must learn how to transport your knowledge from one software to another.

Hope this gives you a better idea of the local industry landscape. It is written to my best knowledge. Due to confidentiality, I will not reveal any names of schools or companies.


During the past few years, most of the school here (both private and government) teaches 3d studio MAX. Now that they have graduated and form part of the workforce, you will expect majority of the workforce here are 3d MAX users. However things will change when the recent batches of students graduate in a few years time as more and more are moving to MAYA.

Some polys teaches more than 1 software. As far as I know, 2 Polys here do teach XSI on top of 3d Studio MAX.


Most of the smaller private schools here (those that also teaches management and IT) focus mainly on teaching the 3d software only. However there are about 4 private schools in the market that currently specialises in training 3d production skill but the not the 3d software alone.

We are also beginning to see more established foreign animation schools are exploring possibility of setting their base here.


Most of our graduates from US and Canadian universities and training institutions use MAYA. One of the UK university that many Singaporeans go to uses XSI. In the past, I know many Australian grads were trained in Lightwave. Think they might have move to MAYA by now.


Many small local companies use 3d Studio MAX. These companies include small games company, multimedia company, architecture visualisation company, small post house. However with the increase in co-production with foreign companies, those working on feature film and TV series are using MAYA now.

Several bigger post houses here uses Softimage in the past. But now they have moved to XSI.


As for the foreign companies coming in, many are using MAYA. One Japanese game company here uses XSI. They stick with XSI as many of their old plug-ins were designed to run only on XSI.

So far, I know that there are one big German Games Company and an Australian Animation Company use 3d Studio MAX for their production.

However I would still encourage you to focus on techniques and traditional art. Not the software. Its ok to learn either 3d Studio Max or MAYA.
As Autodesk now owns both 3d of them. So it doesn't matter anymore what software you know as the files can be easily transferred across.

Hope the tips above helps.

David Kwok
Singapore Animators Connection

Last edited by moderator on Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:24 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:51 am
Posts: 305
Post Re: Confuse in which 3d software to learn
Similar Discussion at IGDA ... genumber=1

Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:33 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:51 am
Posts: 305
Post Re: Confuse in which 3d software to learn
It's quite simple:

Maya is used in film industrie, sometimes for games too. It's currently the animation standard. Anyhow smaller studios don't use it often.
XSI is used in smaller film studios or in post production.
3dsmax has a very big community, it's used manly for games and architecture design. It's also used because of it's good connection to autocad and other cad applications.
Lightwave is not much used anymore, the future is very dark for this program.
Cinema4d is used very much in europe and US by smaller companys. Mainly because it runs on OSX and comes for a nice price.

It's just what i know... but if you read job adds you will see that beside 3dsmax or Maya other software is not often used at all.


Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:34 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:51 am
Posts: 305
Post Re: Confuse in which 3d software to learn
And now that Maya n Max are in the same company, Autodesk. You can now made use of their advantages and have both in one's working pipeline.


Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:35 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:51 am
Posts: 305
Post Re: Confuse in which 3d software to learn
I think at the start, as we are still exploring, we should just pick up any one and learn it. It builds a foundation for learning any other program.

For me, I'm learning Maya because it's the first program that I got to know!


Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:38 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:51 am
Posts: 305
Post Re: Confuse in which 3d software to learn
It's all about marketing, really. Just like MacDonalds advertising itself relentlessly, but not necessarily their food is great.

Maya is teamware, that's why you don't see it in a small studio. It's super rich and super deep.

XSI is gaining popularity worldwide. Strength lies in CA. Dynamics and particles still it's weakness.

Max is popular because "cheong" versions was easily available in the past, leading to a big user-base naturally. It's CAD background is an added bonus.

Lightwave future is still bright, though not here in Singapore . It's CA tools is still very weak. Now being rewritten. It's really not that bad if you give it a try. Several sci-fi TV series were done with this program.

Cinema4D is very popular with motion graphics designer because of the mograph module. However, it is getting too expensive liao.

Just my opinion.

"Power denied is power wasted." Sith Doctrine

Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:39 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:51 am
Posts: 305
Post Re: Confuse in which 3d software to learn
max and maya and zbrush and etc... they are just tools.
They are like pencils. To do a good drawing doesnt depend on how expensive or powerful is "the pencil": it depends on how powerful is the user.
You just need to know how to use "the pencil". Perhaps 1 - 2 weeks to familiarise?
The rest comes from your fundamentals and foundations.
With good fundamentals and foundations, any (new) softwares that comes along will not be a problem. ;)
my 2 cent...

Gary Wee @
Short Film Desert Fever & Animation Reel

Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:40 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:51 am
Posts: 305
Post Re: Confuse in which 3d software to learn
Animation and Visual Effects started with Science and ended up with Arts. But the tool is only as good as the person who use it, and how rich his imagination is. In Art, there is no specific right or wrong. Its what the person makes out of the concept in his own universe. As for the software, it is always used in combination, as different software has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Max for example is easy to use, out of a box with no deep scripting language. Its great for pre-visualization and creating sets, props and related. Maya on the other hand is great for complex character modelling, and very flexible with its MEL scripting & etc.

So rather than strictly using one particular software, its used in combination as most people recognizes that, especially in global collaborations.

Its not possible or very logical to have 10 studios working together, and disagreeing on the software used and changing their individual production pipeline to suit each other.

At the end of the day, individuals will need to understand that irregardless of the software that they use, their objectives is to achieve a seamless animation or visual effects. That is the magic.


Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:41 pm
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