What cheap (or free) software do folks recommend for 3D modelling/rendering landscapes?

Thursday, January 22, 2009 by warreni | Discussion: Personal Computing

I was looking at Vue Easel 6 by e-on software, and then I saw that they discontinued it in favor of their new versions including the relatively-inexpensive Pioneer 7. These are both designed for people like me who are beginners and don't have a lot of artistic talent, per se. I was considering a purchase of Pioneer when it comes out of beta; at $50, it's not an unreasonably large amount of money for a hobbyist. However, I noticed as I was playing with the beta that you have to buy an extra plug-in, called RenderUp, which is $70, to produce images that aren't watermarked.

Obviously, it's their software and they can do what they want, but that just seems ridiculous. You may as well just charge $120 for the basic program.

Anyway, does anyone know of any free or cheap alternatives?

 

First Previous Page 1 of 2 Next Last
TheBigOne
Reply #1 Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:50 AM

if you don't use it commercially the Terragen 2 Tech Preview (its in Tech Preview Status which is somewhat similar to beta for 2 years now I think) is free to use. Restrictions are max resolution of 800x600 and some other things but it is not watermarked. The Downside of Terragen 2 is that it is rather unintuitive to use and that it is really slow but it can produce very nice landscapes.

superman
Reply #2 Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:57 AM

These are some of free softwares.......I am citing the easiest and best only after reading lots of reviews.....

1. For landscapes....

Bryce 5.5 (available at download.com, you will get free serial at daz3d.com by registering there)

 

2. For 3D modelling....

Wings 3D

3. For chracter animation

Daz3D

4. All in one

Blender... but you will have to really learn it. Its not easier than max or maya. One of the toughest... So first try above three categories....

superman
Reply #3 Thursday, January 22, 2009 12:04 PM

TheBigOne
if you don't use it commercially the Terragen 2 Tech Preview (its in Tech Preview Status which is somewhat similar to beta for 2 years now I think) is free to use. Restrictions are max resolution of 800x600 and some other things but it is not watermarked. The Downside of Terragen 2 is that it is rather unintuitive to use and that it is really slow but it can produce very nice landscapes.

Bryce is much easier and even Vue is inspired by its interface.

Island Dog
Reply #4 Thursday, January 22, 2009 12:17 PM

I think Vue is still the best.  Bryce renders are nothing compared to it. 

TheBigOne
Reply #5 Thursday, January 22, 2009 12:21 PM

yah sure Bryce is easier than Terragen but you can do some awesome stuff in Terragen if you are willing to spend a lot time on it.

Vue is nice (have the educational version of vue 6 infinite) but you need a lot time to figure out what to not do to prevent frequent crashes. It is surely easier to understand than Terragen though.

superman
Reply #6 Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:02 PM

Island Dog
I think Vue is still the best.  Bryce renders are nothing compared to it. 

Vue is not free...nor less than $120. The cheapest fully functional version costs $ 199..

http://www.e-onsoftware.com/products/?page=artists

Vue 7.0 pioneer is free but its doesn't import models and is very limited...

 

Zyxpsilon
Reply #7 Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:13 PM

I only swear by Bryce when it comes to absolutely free Landscaping solutions for Hobbyists. While DaZ offers it for a mere installation check on their own demo version of DaZStudio, it is well worth the numerous options & features. Too bad, MetaCreations hasn't held its place in the design industry as i seriously believe their excellent softwares (even free) are many times over better than other Professional (read 500$+ here) tools.

Once you decide what to start working with though, stick for the long run since the learning curves are quite high for anything out there, even if 'too' costly.

warreni
Reply #8 Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:21 PM

hemanherecomes

Quoting Island Dog, reply 4I think Vue is still the best.  Bryce renders are nothing compared to it. 
Vue is not free...nor less than $120. The cheapest fully functional version costs $ 199..

http://www.e-onsoftware.com/products/?page=artists

Vue 7.0 pioneer is free but its doesn't import models and is very limited...

 

 

Yep, Pioneer is what I was referencing in my original message. The release version will be $50, which isn't too bad, but then to have to spend another $70 to be able to do unwatermarked renders is a little beyond my budget for something I'm just going to do for fun and maybe to post a few wallpapers or dreams here (if I reach some level of competency).

 

superman
Reply #9 Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:43 PM

Vue 7.0 pioneer is now free.... Also you can look for Vue 6 at amazon... But if are doing it just as a hobby I would recommend

Bryce 5.5 Remember you will have to hurry for it.

You can get many free contents for it at.......

Computer Graphics Society

I am learning it after reading lots of reviews about 3d programs. I tried Terragen free but couldnt figure it out as I am a novice but I figured out Bryce easily.

And for creating animations for ur dreams you can use free AFX rivals...

Wax

or

jahshaka

...the much better......

 

 

Master U
Reply #10 Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:54 PM

Blender Bledner Blender Bledner... easy, fast, nice, awesome...

http://www.blender.com

ama02
Reply #11 Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:57 PM

Google SketchUp is free and has decent features to learn/play with.

superman
Reply #12 Thursday, January 22, 2009 2:09 PM

Blender and easy!

Well, it might be for you but I fear to hear.

Bryce is specialised tool for landscape or wallpaper creation.

While wax and jahshaka are designed for animation effects which are suitable to make dreams.

Blender is no doubt free powerful and awesome but its more for professionals. And its really great but I cant learn it.

I love Bryce.

voidcore
Reply #13 Thursday, January 22, 2009 2:20 PM

Im looking into 3d apps also anyone have any oppinions on the Carrara stuff?

Carrara 3D Express goes for 90$..... http://www.daz3d.com/i/software/carrara_3dx/features?_m=d

And anyone with experience that can gimme some thoughts on Cinema 4D?

superman
Reply #14 Thursday, January 22, 2009 2:54 PM

After reading lots of reviews, I have a few ideas....

Carrara is more like daz plus bryce..

Cinema4D is for creating 3D animations and compositing scenes...

If you are looking for easy to use programs then these are

1.To animate characters

Poser or daz

2.To create landscapes

Vue or Bryce

3.To create models(no need there are many free available)

Wings 3D or Zbrush(costly)

4.To create 3D effects like starfield, smoke, water etc.

Wax or jahshaka

5.Texturing(painting) a model

Deep paint 3D or Body paint 3d or 3D coat

6.Allrounder

Cinema 4D

7.Just for fun

Iclone Studio

 

 

If you are looking to create dreams and wallpaper then just look categories 2 & 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

voidcore
Reply #15 Thursday, January 22, 2009 3:02 PM

Zbrush is a 3d sculpt app (or paint in 3d) the models made cant be animated or rather they can but you will not have it as good looking as in zbrush need todo a low poly for animation.... zbrush seems very similar to Autodesk Mudbox..

CobraA1
Reply #16 Thursday, January 22, 2009 4:34 PM

For rendering landscapes, Terragen is the best. After trying both Bryce and Terragen - I really could never get my landscapes to look as nice in Bryce. They always ended up looking low-res and the textures always just looked wrong. You just can't beat the per-pixel detail of Terragen. It's not freeware, however.

Otherwise, I play around with these programs:

  • Art of Illusion is a decent open source renderer/modeller. Not as high end as Blender, but pretty easy to use.
  • Blender is about as professional as you can get for the price of $0. The user interface, however, is a lesson on how not to design user interfaces. Everything is a button, and it's got a steep learning curve.
  • SketchUp is nice for drafting designs, but it's got a steep price if you want to export to another 3D program and use it commercially.
  • Wings3D is great for creating models with.
  • POV-Ray is interesting in that your scene is essentially a software program, and it directly renders true mathematical shapes rather than converting them to polygons.
PuterDudeJim
Reply #17 Thursday, January 22, 2009 4:57 PM

I love Bryce.

If memory serves, it is nearly impossible to get a Bryce wall into the galleries here.

superman
Reply #18 Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:25 PM

There are some really beautiful Bryce renders submitted at cgsociety.

Terragen is tough for me and I read in a review that it doen't import models and can't create trees.

d-grafix pro terrain is one of the most recommended at gamedev.net and it can create trees too. and is also cheap $31.

Skinhit
Reply #19 Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:40 PM

impossible to get a Bryce wall into the galleries here.

Not true...Most of my walls are done in Bryce...

superman
Reply #20 Friday, January 23, 2009 12:06 AM

Not true...Most of my walls are done in Bryce..
  

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