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I'm wondering if this might be a good form of letting imaginations, and inspirations run wild. Recently, I've gained this interest in taking what I used to sketch with pencil and paper as a kid, and take it to the next level, and actually go into a 3D modeling app, and make digital sculpts and modeled objects, and develop a scene that I can either use in a still image with 3D depth to it, or use it in either a screen saver, or a game. Now I know that a lot of this software can run hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, but there are freebies like Blender, Softimage Mod Tool, and Truespace, which seem to be pretty good. I've gotten used to using XSI Mod Tool 7.5 for modeling, Zbrush for sculpting, Photoshop for texturing, and using DAZ Studio 4.5 to place my scenes together, and make a good picture of them. Seems like I could model up some good iconostases and holy altars with tools like these (not for games, of course), but...I'm wondering if this would be a good hobby at all.

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My son obtained Accucad while in high school (6+ years ago)--very good for 2D drawing.

He's used it to create templates for styrofoam Chrismon Christmas tree ornaments, including the very complex "Jerusalem Cross"

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Yeah, there were times I wanted to model out the Franciscan Cross, since that one can take some patience. However, it's hard to believe that it's been about that long since I've used Maya PLE (Personal Learning Edition), however, since Autodesk just simply swallowed up Alias, and took away the freebie version of Maya, that's when I had to think...all right, do I jump through all these hoops in hopes that I can legitimately have an educational license with Autodesk? Do I look elsewhere to Blender, even though that one takes a lot more of a learning curve? Do I hope that Autodesk will have an answer for all those that relied on PLE for so long? That's where I ran into XSI Mod Tool, since that was their answer to those who wanted to model on the cheap, and didn't want to try for an education license.

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I think Autodesk still grants free software editions to matriculating students. If one is pursuing their education in an accredited institution, it quite likely one can get a free license for the applications they need.

As a self-employed industrial engineer I have used Autodesk products for many years - mainly AutoCAD and 3DS MAX, but I seem to find increasing use for Autodesk Inventor. I have professional licenses for those through my business.

AutoCAD can be used to do elaborate 3D modeling and objects generated with AutoCAD can be linked to various databases for PLM purposes. I use it for that, but AutoCAD has a very steep learning curve. A lot of people use AutoCAD only for 2D drafting.

I was using AutoCAD and 3D Studio MAX long before Autodesk acquired Alias. I've considered the Maya software but judged it didn't fit my professional requirements.

Autodesk Inventor is a fine 3D modeling environment, very robust and quite like SolidWorks. I also learned to make 3D models using MAX. But since my work generally needs a high degree of dimensional precision, I tend to build my models using AutoCAD or Inventor then port them to 3DS MAX if sophisticated presentation graphics are needed. But in recent releases, Autodesk Inventor has a finely featured rendering engine that gives good results too.

My 2� worth anyway,

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My son (and I've finally learned to put my ego on the shelf and allow him to do all my tech troubleshooting) tells me that "Blender" is a wonderful, free, cross platform program working well with Windows, Linux, or MacOSX or greater.

The learning curve is steep and the tutorial videos are highly recommended.

He's been using it for about a week and the results are amazing.

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Here is a link to some of the images my son has created with Blender.

http://s110.beta.photobucket.com/user/wattojawa/library/Renders

He is presently working on replicating the game grids from the mid '90's Mac game Spectre VR.

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Wow... Nice. I'm still planning on modeling out an iconostasis of some sort, which might require a bunch of patience to make a GOOD one. Although maybe I'll start out with the Slavic Crucifix, that's usually pretty darn simple.

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My son has decided to model the entire church building...hours of measuring has produced this work in process:

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n119/wattojawa/cutawayview.jpg


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