Read in several threads that some people are looking for free or cheap software... so I figured why the heck not start a free software thread... Please post links to free software that you use to do anything related to matte painting...
Guess I'll start with some obvious ones:
Blender - http://www.blender.org/
Wings 3d - http://www.wings3d.com/
trueSpace 3- http://forms.caligari.com/forms/ts3all_free.html - not sure if that link still works? If it does, download it and sign up for the emails... caligari sends out tons of promo discounts to ts3 users... so if you basically download ts3 and wait a few months you might find a deal for the latest version in email at up to 50% discounted or more using the email links they send.. I don't use ts much anymore... I used to up til version 5, but then moved on to lightwave... if you are still new to 3d, ts isn't really that bad of a software, but hopefully it's not as buggy as it used to be... don't know if ts 6 or higher versions are buggy or not... caligari is the weirdest company when it comes to upgrades. They are the only company I know that actually will keep selling older version of software for cheaper than you can get new... and I think they still support the older versions... You won't get that with maya, max, or any other 3d software...
Not really one app per se but still very useful since there's tons of free stuff - http://www.sourceforge.net
raster graphics comparison list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...aphics_editors
Vector Graphic Comparison List
3d modelling software list
I wish they had a 3d Comparison list on wikipedia like they do for raster and vector... if they do, can someone post a link to it?
I know 3d game engines aren't really what you use for matte paintings, but the technology is similar, and some people do do illustrations for game cover art and stuff - so it's illustration related, sort of...
3d game engine list used to be at 3d buzz... not sure if this link still works since I can't check it at work due to proxy...
some short reviews
pardon my typing... i am holding my daughter while typing.
i have been testing out Blender and Jahshaka lately. Heres a mattepainter's review...(i'll add more later when I can).
- Fast modeler that requires some getting used too. Should not be considered a replacement to another package but rather a tool at the beginning of the pipeline.
- Sculpting is great and actually works better than another $300 pakage.
- compositing for materials works well, compositing images mode is awesome for keying but can't do a 2.5d camera comp because of jitter problems.
-Other compositing software could learn something from the node interface. Blenders node knots are awesome. node groups are very cool.
- it took 2 hors to do something in the blender compositor that takes 6 minutes in Shake.
- uses camera sticky instead of mapping and makes 2.5d shots hard but can produce great results.
only good for conceptualizing because of its lack of resolution independance and compressed image output.
Even on a dual core g5 some things always crash and never work.
- i did a camera move and the result was only ok.
Good post! I plan to move into this stuff after I’m done with school, as most of it is time consuming. It’s a great post to reference back to. My blog needs more time to gain in popularity anyway.
I'm not sure if its accurate, Matt has moved on to learning other 3d apps. Projection is pretty consistant among applications but blender, though a great tool, doesnt hold up to projections as well. If you considering a going for Cinema 4d and you plan on being a pro matte painter then I would say just ignore blender all together. Pick up C4D its pretty cheap (compared to other apps) and in a few matte painting pipelines professionally. I know Sony Pictures Imageworks used Cinema on Beowoulf for matte painting projections and Rhythm and Hues is asking incoming matte painters if they have used it. To date I know of no studio asking that you know blender, its mostly for hobbyist.
If you can learn projection in Maya, 3ds Max, and Cinema4d you pretty much can do it in anything. I can do it in Maya, 3ds Max, and Nuke but I currently am going to learn C4d myself.
Hi RiKtoR. Thanks the reply. In which sense Blender doesn't hold up to projections as well the others? Could you elaborate a bit?
I know Cinema 4D is supposed to be very good for matte paintings, even "better" than others like Maya and Max and Projection Man looks like a good tool to facilitate the work flow. But Blender being free and specially open source is what attracts me. Open source is normally more flexible and more prone to developing.
It would be great to hear the limitations of Blender when it comes to matte paintings and camera projections so I can better access whether I want to invest time learning it or not. Matte paintings and set extensions is something I want to get into.
To my knowledge the projections in blender have issues with filtering on the projections causing renders to jitter. Even if blender did projections well you would still be running into the problem with no one really taking it serious for production. I started with blender back in 1996 and in 12 years it still hasnt been taken seriously. Blender is great application but it does have limitations that the other more streamlined 3d apps dont have. The reason why is that the other 3d apps were mostly built while in production pipelines before being packaged as apps. Even if they werent they apps guys are willing to design tools that studios want, like Projection Man in C4d, it was heavily developed by Imageworks. Blender after all these years is still trying to be taken seriously and I know should be. I mean elephants dream shows that it is definately capable of great work but its a little late in the game.
If you are seriously looking to getting paid for matte painting then pick up a more "known" application. C4d is the cheapest.
Since my intention is to start my own studio, the fact Blender may not be taken serious for production wouldn't matter much really.
But if the projections in Blender have issues then this is a serious thing. If I can get photo realistic, high end professional looking end results from Blender it's not really important what others use to get their work done. But if I can't get it done with the tools Blender offer then I will have to pass on Blender. By your post I'm gathering this is the case.
You can do that right within photoshop - just file save as jpg
I've done camera mapping with Blender, and as long as you follow some of the tutorials that are floating around and experiment a bit with the filtering (which you can easily turn on and off), you will have no problem. Below are two examples of camera mapping work done in Blender, one by myself and another by a far more talented artist. You will find a ton more examples on www.blenderartists.org, as well as the tutorials I mentioned.
Here and here.
EDIT: Indeed, now that I think of it, although I've now moved from Blender to 3dsMax for all my 3d work, Max has some serious limitations in the mapping department that you wouldn't have in Blender, such as the (highly bizarre) requirement that the projection and the render cameras be exactly the same size. You would have no such issue in Blender.
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