Sunday, March 23, 2008

Software gripes

i sometimes play with 3D, though the time to do so is getting smaller and smaller recently...and anyway, i have a number of software packages installed, including Wings3D, Blender, Softimage|XSI Mod Tool, and an old version of Amapi. i've also had some experience with Autodesk 3ds max and Maya (very little this one).

the thing is: when i got a video tutorial showing how to model in Softimage|XSI and was using it with the Mod Tool, a recurring thought was: this would have been soooo much easier in Wings or Blender. i can model a mug in Wings in less than 5 minutes flat, including subdivisions. trying to reproduce the same thing in XSI would probably take me over 10 minutes. one reason may be because i'm new to XSI and have the Wings/Blender UI mostly down; another might just be because it really is easier in Wings or Blender. for instance, in the default Wings or Blender interaction mode, rotating your viewport is a matter of clicking (or dragging) your middle mouse button. the same in XSI is press O on the keyboard, then left-click for free rotation; middle or right for axis-constrained rotation (hint to Wings and Blender developers: mouse-controlled axis-constrained rotation isn't a bad idea). selecting polygons in XSI is annoying unless you're using raycasting - you need to lasso (with the risk of selecting something you don't want); in Blender, right-click, in Wings, left-click. so far, i'm trying to convince myself that XSI users aren't idiots (they really aren't).

by a similar token, while i'm now more used to the GIMP, i'd still rather use Paint.NET or Photoshop - simply because i find them easier to use. i'm loving Inkscape though, and Expression 3.3 is nice - but i haven't got the hang of it yet. my point: anyone fanatic about software simply because it's free or it cost them money needs a head check. at the end of the day, it's productivity - which is a relative of ease of use - that matters. 'nuff said.

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