Hello, everyone. I've looked through this thread and I haven't noticed any definitive suggestions as to what software is best for a beginner (i.e. someone with no computer graphics experience). I've been looking at other people's work for so long, and I finally have an idea I'd really like to see happen, that I'm motivated to learn 3D modeling. Any suggestions as to a program to start with? Thanks!
Well, it sort of depends. If you have no particular goal in your modeling (ie. exporting to a particular game's format), then I'd recommend checking out Google's SketchUp. If you like it, you can get the pro version really cheaply. If all you want to do is mess around with quick 3D drawings, it's great.
On the other hand, if you are seriously wanting to get into 3D modeling, then the package you use will either be dictated by the end result required, (ie. it has to be exported in a certain format, from a certain program), or by what you have the budget to buy.
While a skilled person can create a given model in Maya, or 3DSMax, for example, if you are going to develop for MS products, then you will need to use Max.
IMHO, as you will invest a considerable amount of time learning your first app, you will want to pick one that is main stream and capable of doing what you want. Ultimately, if you get into the business, you will wind up learning them all if you are good. The first takes the longest, and then after this it is easier as you just have to learn the different approach another program takes.
Beware, some programs will not do both surface and poly modeling, and if you are wanting/needing to do both, you will have a problem.
Personally, I would recommend Max, but then you have to be seriously into this to spend $3500 bucks. But, you can start with the free GMax.