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Which 3D software should you start with?


pavla writes:

There's one software that's always going to be the best for new 3d learners.

So...should you learn Blender, Maya, ZBrush, Houdini, 3DS Max, or Cinema 4D?

If you’re going to start learning a new piece of software for a new skill, you’ll want to pick the best one. When it comes to 3D graphics, there are only a few main options to choose from and there are a lot of comparison videos and articles online that cover which one is technically the best in one domain or another. While those are excellent for experts who already know exactly which features they need, I think the way the comparisons are often presented is actually answering the wrong question entirely for beginners.

Here’s why Blender is pretty much always going to be the best first step to learning computer graphics:

1. It’s the easiest (and most fun) to learn

Even if it hasn’t happened to you, I’m sure you know at least a few people who have spent precious time and probably money working towards earning a degree or getting a job only to find out that it’s not actually what they want to do in life. The idea of the dream may have been enticing but the reality of doing it was so different from what they were expecting that they either jump ship and start from scratch with something entirely different or stick with it begrudgingly simply because of the sunk cost.

To some degree, that happens to everybody. It’s just part of learning more about yourself and what you want to do in the world, and that’s never a waste! You can, however, save yourself a lot of time and money by learning the day-to-day reality of something before investing in it too heavily.

3D software can be incredibly expensive and it’s all going to have a pretty steep learning curve regardless of which one you choose. By picking the one that’s free and is the easiest to learn (Blender) you’ll be able to much more quickly find out if 3D is something you want to continue pursuing.

Blender is also the most fun to learn, in my opinion (which of course is subjective), but I don’t think the benefit of enjoying the process should be under-stated. It’s so easy to apply physics to stuff, create weird particle systems, and just mess around with sculpt brushes so that, along the way, you don’t lose the magic of how incredibly cool what you’re doing really is. the full article on CG Cookie (with video overview)

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