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Old 02-05-2008   #1
Henhrig
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Default PC, MAC or Noob

Well the time has come to buy a new computer.....

My current one has got the caramel electrical smell happening.

What would you all recommend, PC or Mac and if so,

what specs cause i am looking at a few computers and they range between
3 - 5 grand.....

Also i have dabbled in Maya, anim8or so what would be the best computer
for Maya (btw which would be better, Maya, 3D max or SI).

I have been reading the Alias Maya books but was wondering what the best place
to get DVDs, Free tutorials and other books people recommend.

BTW im not that great at art, in fact i suck at hand drawring... Am i still going to be able to do good stuff.

Cheers, Really appriciate any help on those Questions...
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Old 02-05-2008   #2
Imhotep397
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Given your price range I would say get a Mac. You'll be able to run OS X and Windows and you can use VMWare Fusion to selectively just run Windows apps inside of OS X if you want. I would say to stick with Maya, since for the most part it's the defacto standard and probably mix up Digital Tutors DVDs with Gnomon DVDs.

If you are trying to learn and are at all mobile I would suggest a MacBook Pro with 4 gigs of RAM if you can go that high.
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Old 02-05-2008   #3
deakinduperly
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As for software go for a mac... nowadays you can build your own massive 8 processor comp for less than 2grand, at least here in spain, prob around the same price ni the states. The thing is that now you don?t need to buy a mac in order to use the mac OSX software, you can install it now cuz they?re using the some processors as windows... mac r more dependable for not crashing, u can use it do bitpart it for windows and use the emule for downloading stuff but remember to keep an antivirus in your pc part... the chances of getting a virus on your mac side r like one in a billion so don't worry about antivirus for your mac...

personally i suggest maya cuz if you learn maya everything else is like the same thing, maya, or power animator as it was origanilly called, is the oldest one...

and try to practice lighting, coloring, sculpting anything that can help you get ideas of forms, shapes, things like that when creating and texturing... remember that you'll only improve as long as you dedicate time to it... and this takes loooooooots of hours of dedication.....


good luck

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Old 02-05-2008   #4
EvilTheCat
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PC man. I so don't get why macs are so much more expensive than PCs any more. It's all the same frigging intel parts.

And if you're looking to do 3D, you'll be waiting for all the updates after the PC people. As well, all those extra handy plugins and stuff don't always work on a Mac, or come out for a Mac, and they're usually developed after the PC stuff.

3 grand I would say is a lot for a PC now days, unless you're going to drop a lot on graphics and processing power kinda stuff for games. Really, the big power suckers are large renders, dynamics and simulations and such that it has to compute.

If I was looking for a new computer I would get something dual processor. Helps some on the rendering and simulation again. Isn't going to do much on the speed or anything for modeling and such, which as a beginner you'll be focusing on at first most likely. Get at least 4 gigs of ram. At least a 200 gig hard drive. You don't need a top of the line graphics card, again if you're not trying to build something that can play games like Crysis.

To give you an idea, I've got an AMD Athlon 2800 that's 2.08 GHz, 2 gigs of ram, 120 gb harddrive and an Nvidia GeForce 7600 GS, and it works find for most of the 3D stuff I do. It's not the fastest at rendering, and slows down a bit on the high poly stuff, but does pretty well for the most part. Does fine with photoshop and painter too. So you can hopefully see you don't need to drop 5 grand to get a computer than can do graphics. If you get into textures a lot, you would probably want more ram and a better graphics card, but that's not hard to do for just a little more.

My comp can play some 3D games ok, but a lot of the newer stuff, not so much. And I don't have vista either so that cuts out a good number of the new ones.

My recommendation is since you're just learning this stuff, if you're building a machine purely for graphics, save some of your money here. It's going to be at least a couple years probably till your going to start really pushing things (at least in an efficient way) If you can get a 64 bit version of windows, you'll get some more mileage out of it. You may want to be able to get a computer that can dual boot or run both windows XP and Vista at the moment.

So My recommendation is check out auto desks website, adobes website, see which hardware they suggest, then find a computer than can handle those things for a decent price that's not over 3 grand. Spend the rest of the money on things like a decent wacom tablet and a good size usb device to transfer your files (nobody use dvds to transfer stuff any more, just back up.) and anything else that might come up in your education. You'll be able to do what ever you need to to learn and won't go broke.

Now to undo everything I just said. If you're going to try and play Crysis, spend all the 5 grand and cross your fingers that it's enough to get the game to run well. Which is also another knock against a Mac too.


As far as which software, I partial to Maya, and then 3D studio Max. Maya more for characters, and 3D studio for architectural type stuff more. But it's all Auto Desk. Zbrush is a must for characters as well, though Mudbox is good too, which is also an Autodesk product now.

As for your art abilities, your comp will have very little to do with that. It's a different tool for the same art principals. Good art comes from lots of practice and study. Sites like www.highend3d.com are good for tutotirals. But basic art principals are always applied no matter if your working with a computer or paper and pencils, or clay, or paint, etc.

Last edited by EvilTheCat; 02-05-2008 at 23:36 PM.
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Old 02-06-2008   #5
Henhrig
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Cool...

cause im doing a Bachalor of IT majoring in Game production and Creative Technologies at University. Im loving it heaps, and i want to get into the games industry mostly (any hints lol)

Im tossing up between the new iMAC with 24" screen 2.8Ghz processor 64 bit, the 4GB RAM and 750Gb HDD I was going to do the Dual boot (boot camp) idea and dedicate 250Gb to Windows XP and the other 500Gb to the mac side of things (and use leopard as the OS) and then i dont really know ($3500).

I have the full version of Maya 7 and i have been reading some books on maya so i was going to mainly use that.

The PC i was thinking of getting was the Pryon, 2.8Ghz Processor, Vista Ultimate (sigh!), 650Gb HDD, 4Gb 667Mhz DDR2 SDRAM (or 8Gb in the $4500 model) with 2 Video Cards (NVidea something) which are linked SLI ($2700). I have been thinking of buying the DVDs from Gnomon but i dont know which ones to get first.

I really like Level Design, and Character Animation and am alright at C++ and other programming languages.

NOW this is the noobish question... I cant figure out how PS works with Maya.

Any help would be awesome.

Cheers Henhrig
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Old 02-06-2008   #6
Henhrig
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O btw i read on forums and reviews that the video carfd in the iMAC are good for video not great for games, is that a benifit or a deficet for animation...


LOL i spell real good somedays lol
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Old 02-06-2008   #7
EvilTheCat
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I'd say both those comps are overpriced for what you're doing. In the time it'll take you to get your bachelors, you're going to be looking for a new PC probably. I don't think you need the dual video cards and your probably going overboard, again, unless you're going to be playing games on it. As far as making them, I've never needed it. But otherwise, save a bunch of money on your video card, go for the more ram, and again, I really don't think you need to spend much for 3 grand on this thing. No idea what model pyron is. What other models have you looked at? Have you looked at places like Tigerdirect.com ? I would say you can find a basic PC there, and then buy extra ram while there as well. There's nothing worse than having a kick ass PC and then having to go to something like waiting tables to be able to afford it and spend all your time doing that because you blew it all on the tools before you knew how to use them well. I can build one that would suit all my needs for under $2000, for just the tower.

Tips while shopping. If they give an option, go for the bigger power supply. As far as video cards or processors, only technophiles get top of the line. Buy the generation before. It's only a little less power for a whole lot less money. You'll notice that next step up usually doubles the price. It's not worth it. Things like dual video cards and dual processors are often only any good if your software can utilize it and you know how to set it up to do so. Check it out to see if it's worth while. And if you're doing game graphics, I can't see it being worth the money. You just wont have the situation to take advantage of it. Now if you're afraid that it might come up, just make sure the motherboard and card you buy is capable of being dual linked. Then if you find it's not enough, you can always add it in later.

Don't blow your cash man. I've seen too many people go through school, take out some giant loan to buy some insane PC (usually some overpriced mac) and then never get through school, or find they aren't cut out for it one way or another and they're just spending money faster than they'll ever make it. ( I had one friend that took out a 14 grand business loan bought all these Macs for her graphic/web business, had no business plan and no clients, no employees other than their self, and they couldn't program... they spent over half of that on TWO Macs! TWO! Think they're still doing that work? Think they've paid off that loan yet two years later? Same answer for both.)

You can build a PC for under $2000 that will keep you going for at least 3 years and has room to upgrade. If you need a monitor, I suggest finding a recycled PC place like RE-PC or something like that where ever you live. I bought my last monitor that's 27 inches for $50. It's no LCD flat PC, but it is a flat screen and it does the job perfectly fine and looks great which is all that matters.

The PCs we build at work, we buy the second gen parts off ebay (not something I'd recommend if you're not good at spotting frauds) that the technophiles sell off as soon as they upgrade their systems with the newest parts, and all our computers work pretty well. And not one of them cost us over a grand I think. Most of the keyboards, mouses, monitors and even cushy office chairs came from office liquidations. Some of it was brand new and some of it was even free. It doesn't take a fortune to make this stuff work man.

Photoshop just makes images. You paint them and then load them into Maya. The two programs don't work together persay. Maya just loads up things like jpegs or targas.

In all reality, since you've never done production, you don't know what you actually like yet, because you've never done it. Spend some time in school, learn the basics, and then once you've dabbled in a bit of everything, and gotten a feel for what you do enjoy and what you don't as much as you thought, and then invest more in those areas. There are a ton of free tutorials to start out on out there.

As for PC vs Mac, as far as the 3D side, of all the studios I've seen and been to, I've never seen a studio using a Mac for their graphics. It's just not cost efficient, the software comes out later than the Mac, and it can't do anything the PC can't. The only ones I do usually see are for some reason in the advertising department or for for testing the Mac version of the game their making.
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Last edited by EvilTheCat; 02-06-2008 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 02-06-2008   #8
Henhrig
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OMFG you have been so helpful. Ok so i most likely will go PC...


BTW how long have u been in the business ( and what field)?

and finally what sketch pad do u recommend if any
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Old 02-06-2008   #9
EvilTheCat
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Iduno. At least a few years now. I guess freelance would be the best way to put what I do. But I do just about everything. Modeling, Texturing, Shading, rigging, animation, dynamics, lighting, rendering, air brushing, etc.

As far as what kind of tablet, there I get brand loyal and say only Wacom. All the other ones I've seen or used are kinda quirky. I wouldn't suggest the smallest one if you can afford it, but no need to buy the biggest one until you've done it for a while and find out you're a kick ass graphic artist that does a lot of painting and likes to make broad strokes. They do have a tablet screen that's out too which is a little monitor you draw directly on. I've been pretty tempted to go drop the cash on that, but still haven't done that yet.

What ever you buy, try to think of it as an investment in your future. With any investment, you're looking to get a return. It's like buying anything else. If you bought a car, you could spend like $200-$800 on some disposable used car. You could spend $30,000 on some fancy new car, or go some where in between on something used but in decent shape. Some of it's going to be about how you feel while driving it, but I'm guessing a lot of it will be what gets the job done and won't keep you broke for the next 5 years. Computer parts are the same way. What's going to get the job done for now and for a little while for the best price. And just like buying a car, do your research on the parts. Just like a car, maybe it gets great milage on surrface streets but no better than anything else on the highway and costs twice as much as something else that gets the same freeway mileage. And you dirve highway far more than surface streets.


Anyway, another long ass rant to say balance what you need with the cost of parts out there. Being broke sucks.
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Old 02-11-2008   #10
Henhrig
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Here is my first render EVER, using a tutorial...


any constructive critisism would be great.....

please be gentle...
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