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The struggle with 3DS Max


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@anuser Did you seriously just register to post that? That's some dedication, respect!

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  • The UI is a convoluted, ugly mess of different looking interfaces, popups that lock you out of the main window of the software until you press cancel or ok. Many things are in completely different areas multiple times. A shitton of tools don't even have icons.

I don't like icons. I guess it is preference.

 

 

Well, I like icons. That's not the only thing I criticized though.

 

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  • It's slow as hell. The bootup, even without plugins, takes ages. After it's opened up it freezes for a couple of seconds until you're able to use it. Even in simple scenes, many tools and windows take multiple seconds to even open up.

you may check your workstation. I have tons of plugin. It took about 40s. There are some tools takes 1-2 sec to open. But, mostly It opens quick here.

 

 

It consistently has a sh** bootup time on all our machines, as it does on my home machine. It's not the computers.

 

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  • There is almost zero feedback on what tool you have active or what is actually happening at any given moment. I've lost count on how many times I didn't know which tool I have active, forcing me to use it, just to undo and select the correct tool.

I'm not sure why you need to know what tool you have active. Modify panel shows what you selected. It also indicate if you are in sub-object or not.

 

 

Because it's convenient, and convenience never hurts. Only makes your life easier.

 

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  • It's buggy as hell. Freezes and crashes constantly. I've used 2018 and 2020 so far. Both seem to be equally bad.

Again check your hw. I rarely got crash with millions of polys.

 

Again, same result on every machine. Everybody complains about it, not only in the office.

 

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  • You cannot do simple calculations inside any of the numerical fields. If you, for example, try to move your object 20cm up you can't just enter "+20cm" at the end of the Y (in Max Z) coordinate. Nope, gotta calculate that in your head or with a calculator and then copy paste it. Have fun calculating "2.175 * 4" instead of just entering "*4" and pressing enter.

CTRL+N

 

I don't know what that does for you, but for me it opens up a new file.

 

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  • Many of the tools I've used so far are more or less destructive in nature.

Not sure why it is destructive.

 

 

The Spacing Tool, for example. It does what the C4D cloner does, except it has less options and once you've clicked apply you're ******* if you want to change something. You have to delete every single clone and redo the entire process.

 

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  • The material editor is horrible. Every single material in the scene shares the same node window. You can manually open up more tabs, but why would I ever need ALL my materials in the same window?

Why you need ALL material in a tab? As you said, you can put in each tab if you want.

 

I don't. Question is, why is that even an option since a single nodespace for every material does make way more sense than everything in one window.

 

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  • The "object manager" (I don't know what it's called in Max) is probably my biggest gripe. It's pretty much unusable outside of specific circumstances. This is probably my biggest issue since I'm so used to doing everything with the object manager in C4D. It seems like you have no overview of what the scene contains or how it's built.

When you use Max you mostlyl manage scene with layer. I'm not sure what is issue here.

 

The issue is that, as far as I can tell, the layer system is really damn basic and weird to use. The layer window also does some weird stuff from time to time.

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I often try to either recreate stuff I've already made in Cinema in Blender, or start something new in Blender but ultimately return to Cinema. I learned how to model in Cinema, without any plugins really apart from occasionally using HB modelling script for snapping, but I prefer Cinema's vanilla tools. It is so intuitive, just being able to visibly parent / child objects to each other, amongst a million other little idiosyncrasies, is one particular point that stops memoving to Blender. And the selection tag, with it's well thought out icons, you don't even need to click on to know it's either a vert, edge or face. Blender is too one-dimensional in it's UI regardless of the fact it had that enormous overhaul. If your workflow is compromised by poor UIX then that is a problem.

And my two cents worth – working destructively isn't so bad. I always save backups and then bake down. It's taught me to model correctly using quad topology and focus on edge flow. There's a huge following for HardOps / Boxcutter and MeshMachin3 in Blender and they are awesome for hard surface stuff but you struggle when uv'ing etc, and if you bake down the meshes you have some serious clean up operations to endure. If you learn to model with quads you can survive without plugins.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/7/2020 at 8:38 PM, DasFrodo said:

Through recent developments in my professional life I am more or less forced to use 3DS Max. Last time I've had a look at it was about 10 years ago while I was trying out different 3D packages.  I've been learning 3DS Max for about five days now  and at this point I know why I stuck with C4D. I'm trying to be as open minded as possible, but right now I am really struggling to see how Max is in any way acceptable in 2020. The more I use it the more I dislike it. It feels like using an egg whisk to mix up some cement; certainly possible but a pain in the butt and when you're done you're questioning your life choices that brought you to this point.

 

A list of major problems I've noticed already:

 

  • The UI is a convoluted, ugly mess of different looking interfaces, popups that lock you out of the main window of the software until you press cancel or ok. Many things are in completely different areas multiple times. A shitton of tools don't even have icons.
  • It's slow as hell. The bootup, even without plugins, takes ages. After it's opened up it freezes for a couple of seconds until you're able to use it. Even in simple scenes, many tools and windows take multiple seconds to even open up.
  • There is almost zero feedback on what tool you have active or what is actually happening at any given moment. I've lost count on how many times I didn't know which tool I have active, forcing me to use it, just to undo and select the correct tool.
  • It's buggy as hell. Freezes and crashes constantly. I've used 2018 and 2020 so far. Both seem to be equally bad.
  • Many very basic things are completely impossible without using the console. You cannot, and I couldn't believe it, change the FoV of your viewport camera without using a command in the console. You cannot remove materials from any object without using the console. And many more.
  • Maybe it's just me, but the documentation seems to be pretty bad. You can find info on pretty much anything, but all you get is text, no images. If you don't know what exactly a setting does or what it's used for, tough luck.

 

There's also a ton of features I've took for granted with C4D and now I dearly miss them, for example:

 

  • There is no dang transform quantization. For some stupid reason you can quantize rotation and scaling, but there is no such thing as just pressing shift and moving an object to make it snap to predetermined distances.
  • You cannot do simple calculations inside any of the numerical fields. If you, for example, try to move your object 20cm up you can't just enter "+20cm" at the end of the Y (in Max Z) coordinate. Nope, gotta calculate that in your head or with a calculator and then copy paste it. Have fun calculating "2.175 * 4" instead of just entering "*4" and pressing enter.
  • Many of the tools I've used so far are more or less destructive in nature.
  • The material editor is horrible. Every single material in the scene shares the same node window. You can manually open up more tabs, but why would I ever need ALL my materials in the same window?
  • The "object manager" (I don't know what it's called in Max) is probably my biggest gripe. It's pretty much unusable outside of specific circumstances. This is probably my biggest issue since I'm so used to doing everything with the object manager in C4D. It seems like you have no overview of what the scene contains or how it's built.

 

There's things that are really cool about it though:

 

  • I understand why it's so damn popular for modelling. The modifier stack is really cool and you can a lot of non-destructive modeling up to a point. I don't think this is possible at all in C4D or Blender.
  • There are some tools like the "Select and Place" tool that are really cool and I'd love to have them in C4D as well.

 

Now yes, I do realize that a different software comes with different workflows and I get that. What I don't understand is how so many so incredibly basic things can be missing from such a popular software. At first I was thinking yeah, maybe my workflow is just built around C4Ds tools so much and I have to just learn how Max works, but that doesn't excuse most of the things I've already found.

On top of that at many points where I was struggling I simply asked colleagues (that have been working with Max for years) what's the best approach to do something; most of the time the solution was some destructive 10 step mess that could be done in two steps in C4D while also being completely parametric.

 

I really don't know what I'm expecting from posting this, and I know due to it's nature this forum is kind of an echo chamber. I guess I just want to know, from anybody that has used Max in the past or is still using it: is Max really just that horrible, or is it my fault and lack of skill and experience with the program?

 

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

 

Hi DasFrodo,

I come with a background in architecture, working with Max most of my career (20 years) and have tried to shift to C4D for 5 years, but for myself it's the other way around. I always fall back to using MAX, certainly with ArchViz. 

 

The boot time is ridiculous compared to C4D, it's like working an old HD instead of SSD, but on the other hand when it's opened geometry loads/imports quicker and really ridiculously large scenes are easier to handle. Especially also with the Revit or FBX you would get send when working in ArchViz. That's also an advantage in my opinion that's better in exchanging and handling files from architects and rebuilding / repairing / preparing the files as it also recognizes the layer structure, instances etc. Also easier to swap only certain aspect (layer or block) of a building when the design gets another change. Architects also always forget to export with the Y facing upwards. 

 

I don't need the object manager as I find it unnecessary as most of the geometry is fixed. If you are building the design or 3D yourself and converting objects to an editable poly's leaving an UVmap on top is sufficient for me. I like to see geometry as clean and simple as possible with preferable quads. The List (H) has been there before a layer structure similar as Autocad and Revit was inherited in Max. Easier to select one of your object and see the (procedural) changes made i.e. in the modify tab, but that won't replace your desired object manager.

 

When pressing F12 the transform window will open. Left side shows the current state (position, rotation, scale depending on which command is selected) and on the right you can 'add to' your position so it moves a 20cm or fill in .2 if your display units are meters.. If you need to calculate stuff, there is a script window on the left bottom. Very handy to use as calculator should your need one on the fly. Quantization is possible with angle snap, spinner snap which you can define yourself. 

 

Most people I know mostly work with commands instead of toolbars when modelling or unwrapping, based on how each person altered the UI and which letter triggers what function. Looking for command icons your don't know if they exist and how they look like is a frustrating process that comes with a new package I suppose. Had the same when learning MODO and cinema. Pressed L accidentally in C4D and couldn't move an object anymore.. Help.

 

Then non destructive workflow is manageable but in ArchViz most of the time redundant. I could start with a line, extrude, edit poly modifier, edit poly2, 3, 4 etc?, UV, UV transform,  secondary UV for ID2,3, if all changes are fairly easy to make by just moving i.e. the top vertices of the wall up or down keeping much lighter and cleaner topology and have a for example generated from the wall border (3) skirting as a loft or sweep if you want it easier to adjust. If you're working with Revit or Fbx files you won't need any procedural adjustment and you just deal with it.

 

Completely different program and style than C4D and you probably won't ever like MAX especially it's UI.

Best of luck and hopefully it'll be as painless and short as possible for you. 

 

René

 

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On 10/21/2020 at 12:00 PM, chrisjones said:

 It [Cinema4D] is so intuitive, just being able to visibly parent / child objects to each other, amongst a million other little idiosyncrasies, is one particular point that stops me moving to Blender.

 

To be fair, it is already (almost) as simple to parent objects via the outliner in Blender. Hold down shift and drag object on other object, and voila: parented.

 

The outliner is receiving a lot of love lately. R2.91 will be introducing dragging and dropping of modifiers and constraints. I have a feeling the developers are inspired by Cinema4d's outliner. Materials can be dragged and dropped as well at this point. What was once an almost pointless addition to Blender, has evolved into something that I use on a daily basis. I love Cinema4D's outliner, and Blender's outliner is much closer in functionality now then ever before.

 

Although it would be nice to see an option to switch to horizontal stacking of tags like in C4D.

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2 hours ago, hvanderwegen said:

 

To be fair, it is already (almost) as simple to parent objects via the outliner in Blender. Hold down shift and drag object on other object, and voila: parented.

 

The outliner is receiving a lot of love lately. R2.91 will be introducing dragging and dropping of modifiers and constraints. I have a feeling the developers are inspired by Cinema4d's outliner. Materials can be dragged and dropped as well at this point. What was once an almost pointless addition to Blender, has evolved into something that I use on a daily basis. I love Cinema4D's outliner, and Blender's outliner is much closer in functionality now then ever before.

 

Although it would be nice to see an option to switch to horizontal stacking of tags like in C4D.

Yep I also have the feeling they are moving closer to C4D in that aspect. Forr me as a hobbyiest cinema reached end-of-line with Prime being discontinued, hence I keep more than one eye on Blender. And one thing that bothered me everytime I tried it out was the combination of the outliner and the attributes panel below it. But the outliner got some much needed love over the last versions, also organizing modifiers, and now, in 2.92 the attribute panel will switch the tab according to the selevted object! Incredible. Didn't try it yet as it is brand new, but this should move this closer to Cinemas attribute manager.

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7 hours ago, christianS said:

Yep I also have the feeling they are moving closer to C4D in that aspect. Forr me as a hobbyiest cinema reached end-of-line with Prime being discontinued, hence I keep more than one eye on Blender. And one thing that bothered me everytime I tried it out was the combination of the outliner and the attributes panel below it. But the outliner got some much needed love over the last versions, also organizing modifiers, and now, in 2.92 the attribute panel will switch the tab according to the selevted object! Incredible. Didn't try it yet as it is brand new, but this should move this closer to Cinemas attribute manager.

 

Wow, did not know about that upcoming improvement. I will download the 2.92 alpha today, and check that out.

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5 hours ago, hvanderwegen said:

 

Wow, did not know about that upcoming improvement. I will download the 2.92 alpha today, and check that out.

What keeps me in love with C4D is the object manager and ALL its functions (tags, parenting, etc.).  If Blender is inspired by C4D in its future UX improvements, then that starts to lower a big barrier keeping people away from using Blender....though I would imagine that C4D's stability is still keeping people in their licenses.  Look, C4D's UI has a ton of stuff going for it which we all just took for granted until we actually started to use other programs.  Honestly, I don't know why Blender's parametric objects ONLY stay parametric at activation.  Such a simple thing but it kills my work flow.  Opps...double pumped the mouse key and now I have to delete the editable cube and start all over again.   And Blender has a ton of issues like that...simple stuff that just makes the software feel "klunky".   I find myself scratching my head in bewilderment and saying "Why did they do it that way?".  Have you ever said that about C4D?

 

As I read this thread, I am amazed that it sounds like C4D is the ONLY program out there with a UI that just makes sense pretty much through-out the program (there were some subtle inconsistencies across the board to be sure, but they are knocking those down).  Honestly, they make it look easy --- so easy that we completely take it for granted.  And now with Neutron (or Neutrino as I like to call it --- but only to annoy "Neutrino Man" 😆) some of our biggest gripes over viewport performance go away as it seems that scenes with massive amounts of objects are going to be possible. 

 

Large object counts not only present amazing opportunities by also HUGE challenges for the Object Manager and the overall UI as well.  I believe that MAXON is up to that challenge...and when they do, we won't be taking the UI for granted any longer.

 

Dave

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4 hours ago, 3D-Pangel said:

Honestly, I don't know why Blender's parametric objects ONLY stay parametric at activation.  Such a simple thing but it kills my work flow.  Opps...double pumped the mouse key and now I have to delete the editable cube and start all over again. 

 

There are various addons which do add non-destructive parametric objects to Blender. For example this free addon :

https://github.com/WiresoulStudio/W_Mesh_28x

 

Other addons such as Modular tree and Sorcar allow for nodal non-destructive modeling.

 

But  I do agree it would be nice if this would be standard in Blender.

 

And I agree that C4D's interface feels arguably the most natural to the average user - in particular those designers with Adobe experience.

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16 hours ago, 3D-Pangel said:

Honestly, I don't know why Blender's parametric objects ONLY stay parametric at activation. 

Yep, this is also one of the big remaining issues for me, together with the almost unusable splines (or curves). This feels like a decade behind, at least for me. But the last time I tried it was in 2.8x, maybe this got better as well.

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