Interesting thread - I came across this discussion whilst mulling over whether to post a question for you pros out there.
I myself have only ever used parametric modelling CAD programs like SolidWorks, due to my engineering background, and I'm comfortable specifying exact dimension, extruding sketches and sticking in chamfers / fillets than the mere thought of tugging/deforming meshes.
Up until this point, SW limited me to CADing up 25th Century versions of various Trek props and knick-knacks e.g. combadges and hypos.
It seems to me, though, that the majority of modellers are geared towards stuff like 3DS / Blender - I guess it's something to do with meshes being much easier to deal with by renderers than the additional data that comes with parametric feature-based CAD?
Amongst the things I'd like to do one day are:
- Various canon and Star Trek Online ship classes and rendering various space scenes
- An explorable Intrepid-class interior (sort of like what Lewis Niven is doing with the Ent-D in Source)
However, I've found myself in a dilemma:
- Should I make use of my existing SW skillset by doing all the modelling in SW, and then import the geometry into Max / Blender for the texturing, etc?
- Or should I simply stop being a wuss and learn to work with meshes directly in Max / Blender like everybody else is doing?