If you are a designer or concept developer, 3D skills are pretty much required at this point.
I personally come from a background in drawing, and that's where all my ideas start. However, I know that by being able to take my drawings and then translate them into realistic images, I will be able to communicate my vision in a much clearer and convincing way to clients and galleries.
Plus, it's kind of like a magic trick to be able to make something appear as if it is real, right? That's what I'm talking about, folks!
I've done a fair amount of research to find the most stream-lined and user friendly 3D software on the market, and would like to share the 2 programs that have so far impressed me the most:
silo by Nevercenter
silo is strictly a modeler, which means you use it to create your objects, and will need to use it in conjunction with a renderer. (see hypershot, below)
(by the way, silo has one of the coolest icon/application images around)
The thing I appreciate most about silo is that it's interface is as clean and parred down as possible - which makes it:
a) less daunting then a lot of the other 3D programs out there, and
b) clearer and simpler to navigate and learn.
Of course, other programs combine modeling with rendering, resulting in their interfaces being filled with tons of info, tabs and other stuff.
With that said, it is Nevercenter's focus on a zen-like workflow and interface that mark it as a leader in the next generation of 3D software.
Hypershot by Bunkspeed
Hypershot is a renderer that you can import your silo (or any other 3D) model into, add materials, adjust lighting, and voila - a realistic image is born.
Hypershot seems to take a similar user-interface approach to silo, in respect to being as parred down and clean as possible. They make it so that you can get great results almost instantly.
It looks like Bunkspeed is about to introduce their new version of Hypershot, simply called Shot, and from what I have seen of it (when it was previously called "Hypershot '10) it's going to be a great upgrade.
With Apple as the leading example, it seems that the trend in software design is (and surely always has been) towards creating as seamless and natural of an experience as possible for the user.
I imagine other 3D software companies will be trying to achieve the clean, user-friendly style that silo and hypershot feature now.
I would love to hear from other designers and 3D software devlopers to hear what they think. I'm also interested in hearing from designers who choose not to work with this new technology - why they may choose not to, and what their workflow is like.
Feel free to add your comments, experiences, arguments, etc. below.
Check out Silo HERE
Check out Hypershot HERE