Thanks, G. What I have needed most is a reality check about the
capabilities of current versions of today's major 3D ani apps, and of
where the market is going. I wish to do (very) small-feature
development, and my analysis of the market has led me to conclude the
following about off-the-shelf apps:
3D Studio Max:
Mostly a games-devel platform. I've viewed the Kaena feature, which
used Max, and was very disappointed by the clunky kinematics, textures,
and rendering -- I felt like I was trapped in a degenerate-reality
video game; Dismissed.
For feature work, used only for minor, non-character stuff, if at all.
Too much baggage from its Video Toaster/Amiga days. Not a player in
character work; Dismissed.
An early, "we were there first" technical-feature leader. Used in some
minor work, solving specialty problems for compositing into FX for live
features (like Malkovich's crab legs in the new Hitchhiker's Guide).
Not a major player; Dismissed.
Dominates character/feature market, endless pricey add-ons, choice of
renderers, extremely powerful, mainstream app of choice of big houses,
expensive. Apparently requires huge money and training investment;
obtuse user interface, daunting to novices. Withholding judgment on
Maya, but it seems inaccessible at present.
Everybody keeps claiming that A:M is a sort of scratchpad app that
"Many Professionals" use for devel or hobby work. However I can't find
credible testimonials or real "alumni" names to back this up. I suspect
devotee/shill fluffery or self-propagating industry legend.
I've read Bad Things about A:M's instability, and its developers'
infrastructure and pacing give the impression of a small-time, ragtag
product that people grow out of when they want to work on larger
projects. I'd like to like it, but it seems insular and incompatible
with the greater 3D ani world. The "Haruwo" feature is clunky & jerky -
not a prime showcase example of animation. Maybe it's just the artist's
choices or a limitation of A:M, but is rigging hands for natural
movement (they all look like scarecrow gloves) just too much trouble?
Okay for Anime-like productions, I guess, but for realistic 3D
character work? Forget it; Dismissed.
As for being a frame-grunt cog in a studio's bullpen or outsourced
in-betweener contractor, what kind of future is that for any
self-respecting Artiste? I'm thinking Small, so aspiring to being a
Maya power-user seems beside the point, even if somebody else paid for
the app, hardware and training.
Anyway, I have contacted Maxon and basically asked them to put up or
shut up about C4D character animation current and future states (demos,
white papers, etc). There's a huge, growing, and maintained selection
of C4D tools out there: vendor and 3rd-party plugins for character
rigging, hair, muscle/skin, environment & physical modeling, motion &
tracking, shading/paint, poly/mesh optimization, and C4D UI navigation
tools. Some of the older plugins have been obsoleted by the latest C4D
9.x release, so it's nice to see Maxon keeping on top of things. But --
do they add up to a useful, coherent package?
With their latest promotions, clearly Maxon are going after Lightwave's
Any other crystal-ball gazers out there have comments?