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Thread: [Resolved] plasma vs swift3d 2

  1. #1
    just wondering if someone can give a comparison of plasma versus swift3d 2. just started using/learning swift3d 2 and am wondering if plasma may be better, or not.

    if it helps to make the answer more relative i am NOT a graphic designer for the most part. i am web/software developer who is learning flash and some graphic design as best as i can on my own.

    thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    supervillain gerbick's Avatar
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    I'll take a crack at answering your question.

    Swift3D 2.0 ($159.00 USD)... great flash output, good for creating only simple shapes, complex shapes are very possible via the lathe editor and extrude editor.

    Pluses: some of the best flash output available. great for simple work if you're using the standalone; however the plugin's that can be used in Max, Softimage XSI, and lightwave greatly extend the possibilities. and it's inexpensive. can open industry standard *.dxf, *.3ds, and *.ai/*.eps files.

    Negatives: standalone version is rather limited when it comes down to modelling. No matter what, if you want to render a face, you will invariably have to result to either an externally created mesh. No mesh or vortex editing tools whatsoever. precision alignment can be troublematic and oft frustrating.

    and now, Plasma 1.0 ($650.00 USD)... great flash output, but I will say a notch below Swift3D - unless you play around with the setttings. Then they are pretty much equal. You can build very complex shapes easily. Same drawing tools as 3DS Max, basically. Full featured toolset.

    Pluses: after you learn the tools, whatever you think of, you can model it. also, finally... the ability to make things with holes in it! can open *.dxf, *.max, *.3ds, as well as *.ai/*.eps. better shadow renders than Swift3D 2.0.

    Negatives: expensive. can really tax your system - the more RAM, the merrier. it's as CPU/RAM hungry as 3ds MAX can be. It takes a while to get the output as you would like - the default settings leave a lot to be desired. a lot of fiddling though - trust me, in an animation, just render out the first frame to make sure you get the desired effect. if you've never used a true 3D program, then the learning curve is WAAAAY up there.

    file size? it's a toss up. if need be, I can probably through up some renders and you can see how they fluctuate between winner/loser. I'm noticing that outlines add considerable size to the file size... both ways.

    My recommendation? take into consideration what you want to do. if it's something simple, or something that you can obtain models for... then go with Swift3D. No surprises with it's output either.

    if you are looking for more complex stuff(s), then look at Plasma. but it comes with a huge learning curve. look at Max tutorials to be how you learn how to use Plasma.

    btw, I like them both!

  3. #3
    Banned-ed-er-ing WMLeeBo's Avatar
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    <WMLeeBo bows to Gerbick>

    I wanted to answer the question, but now after reading your post if feel so fufilled, there is nothing left to cover.


  4. #4
    thanks for the info, it was great... ...really helpful!

    most of my stuff will probably stay in the realm of fairly simple for a while. i'm a web app developer, but mostly asp/db work. flash and flash related dev is still a hobby at this point. i don't think i'd have the time to 'conquer' a steep learning curve.

    the only thing i saw about plasma that i liked at first glance was the ability to apply textures.

    thanks again for the help!!

  5. #5
    supervillain gerbick's Avatar
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    remember... textures are treated the same across the board... they are not rendered in Plasma either.

    same with opacity.

    don't feel too alone. I'm an web app developer myself... 3D hobbyist at night

  6. #6
    hhhmmm... perhaps i'm missing something here.

    http://www.discreet.com/products/plasma/

    there is a tutorial here about creating a spinning logo with a globe (oddly enough this is almost exactly what i want to do). admittedly i haven't had the chance to thoroughly read the entire tutorial, but at the very beginning you are applying a texture from a .bmp of earth. even if it somehow converted to a usable form in plasma, i can't see where anything similar is done in swift3d.

    thanks again for the help!


  7. #7
    supervillain gerbick's Avatar
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    read the tutorial closely. the first examples with the photographic quality texture is exported in Shockwave3D... which supports photographic/bitmap textures.

    originally discreet.com
    If you render to Flash animation, you'll be disappointed in the result from the file you just made. Flash doesn't support textures, so your planet no longer looks like anything more than a ball. What you need is a version of the planet that has the continents as geometry objects.
    the continents in the flash version of the globe are using different materials to create the illusion of a texture within the flash version. Not pulling the colors from the texture.

    Hope that clarifies some

  8. #8
    ok, that makes sense. i did notice that the tutorial used shockwave, but i didn't make it all the way to the flash part, my mistake.

    thanks again for the help and taking the time to answer my questions.

  9. #9
    supervillain gerbick's Avatar
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    no prob. feel free to ask any other questions.

    no promises if I know the answer off-hand, but between Pope de Flash, WMLeeBo, or myself, we just might figure it out

  10. #10
    So you need to use shockwave to apply a teaxture? or director? I don't get it and I'm facing the same delema. I have used 3ds max a little and loved it. swift seems very good but limited. Although its lathe editor works great although complex 3d shapes are slmost impossible.

  11. #11
    supervillain gerbick's Avatar
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    yep. Flash does not directly support textures. via tricks, and what not... possible.

    but not directly via Plasma or Swift3D, unfortunately.

  12. #12
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    >if you are looking for more complex stuff(s), then look at Plasma. but it comes with a huge learning curve. look at Max tutorials to be how you learn how to use Plasma.

    btw, I like them both! [/B][/QUOTE]

    One comment I would make is that the learning curve on plasma is much shorter and less steep than that of 3ds max. We really tried to make this product approachable for the non-3d person. 3d will never be easy, but I think that our attempt to make things designer friendly will help get you up and running a whole lot faster than any other pure, fully featured 3d tool out there.

    Call me biased...

    Dan Prochazka
    product manager, plasma
    discreet

  13. #13
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    i have to say that the demo's for Plasma using the 'Havok' engine thingy looks amazing... Surely Swift 3D cannot do that!!
    i loved using Swift but I would definitely like to have a go at Plasma!!


  14. #14
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    BTW...

    If you cannot bring textured output into Flash, then how CAN it be done... I want to do an interactive movie where bitmaps are mapped onto cubes which the user would then rotate... Does this mean I have to use video or something?...

    thanks

  15. #15
    Banned-ed-er-ing WMLeeBo's Avatar
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    Re: BTW...

    Originally posted by micronude
    If you cannot bring textured output into Flash, then how CAN it be done... I want to do an interactive movie where bitmaps are mapped onto cubes which the user would then rotate... Does this mean I have to use video or something?...

    thanks

    I think there is a way you can do that with math in Flash. There have been post made about if before, but that is WAY over my head.

  16. #16
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    ...or you could export to shockwave. It supports textures/interactivity and physics from Havoc. Of course you'll need director, but for the time you'll spend trying to get that to work in Flash it's amuch easier route.

    Here's an example of what can be done: http://www.candogames.com/ballsup


  17. #17
    supervillain gerbick's Avatar
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    Originally posted by danpdiscreet
    One comment I would make is that the learning curve on plasma is much shorter and less steep than that of 3ds max. We really tried to make this product approachable for the non-3d person. 3d will never be easy, but I think that our attempt to make things designer friendly will help get you up and running a whole lot faster than any other pure, fully featured 3d tool out there.
    dan, you are totally correct. I put a very non-3d, but flash saavy designer in front of plasma, and she was flying around after doing the first couple of tutorials, and playing around.

    the streamlining of the interface is definitely a good thing. slanted to designers, and takes the complexity out of creating 3D models... while not being "in the way"...

    next test: my mother...

  18. #18
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    thats always been the problem with me, when i first tried 3d modelling in blender like 2 years ago i freaked out!

  19. #19
    Banned-ed-er-ing WMLeeBo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Karikaru
    thats always been the problem with me, when i first tried 3d modelling in blender like 2 years ago i freaked out!
    It is a steep learning curve, no matter what program.

  20. #20
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    The best thing to do is start with something easy,don't try to create a dragon first. A good first scene is something like a typical still life. A bowl, a glass, a pen, stuff like that. Then just start breaking things down into individual shapes and model them one object at a time. It definitely requires practice but it does get easier as you go and you'll learn all of the different techniques.

    Use the tutorials. Look into 3DS Max modelling tuts also, esp the beginning ones. For the most part the techniques will be the the same and should at least get the theory of modelling across.

    Good luck and remember you can always just post your specific questions and see if someone can help!


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