Advice on Selecting a 3D Modelling Application

btoddch's picture

I am beginning the process of developing a three dimensional font based upon the humanist writing hand (more or less the ancestor of Old Style fonts) of Renaissance writing master Ludovico Arrigi. What I troubled by is which 3D Modelling Application to use? I have access to Maya and have downloaded a copy of Blender. Unfortunately I keep hearing about a steep learning curve with both of these applications. In my recent research it seems that Strata 3D may be a better option. At least it seems that Strata 3D is designed to work with the Adobe Creative Suite programs (Illustrator & Photoshop) that I am already very familiar with.

Any advice on what application to use will be greatly appreciated!


Wesley.Bancroft's picture

Wait... Are you designing a typeface or are you replicating one that already exsits?... and are you trying to design the type with the 3D software or are you importing the curves into the 3D modeling software? Also are you hoping on animating the type with motion effects?

Rhinoceros 4.0 is pretty easy to get a handle on. (Don't download the beta version for Mac, it sucks.)

nina's picture

3D is a large and multifaceted field (please ignore bad pun). When it comes
to choosing an ideal modelling application, it vastly depends what your goal is.

The way I understand it, Maya is one of the most important 3D modelling programs for animation, whereas Rhino is geared more towards construction.
So something like Rhino may be worth looking into if you're looking to recreate 3-dimensional lettershapes through rapid prototyping or some such, whereas Maya and the like would be better for hi-fi screen presentations.

In your case – do I understand correctly that your end result should be workable as a font?

If yes, you want to be able to output vectors. Beware because some/many modelling apps are mainly geared towards outputting raster images (though I'm not up to date on output options in all those progs). That should narrow down the field quite a bit. & then of course you'd have to decide if you want something that's as simple as possible to do your job, or a full-blown modelling program that you'll use for a number of things. (In which case, do beware the learning curve.)

Swift 3D might be worth looking into. It's made for compatibility with Flash, but can output all sorts of vector data (like SWF, EPS, AI, SVG) as well as raster images. It's also not too complex, but of course also somewhat limited compared to the "big" apps.

Good luck!

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