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List of Best 3D packages for 2016

The year 2016 packs interesting changes in the 3D industry first we have the dismissal of the Softimage which let us feel sorry missing this great software knowing it was responsible for a lot of what we saw and played in media and games over the years.
Second we examined the latest Maya and 3Ds Max and notice the advancements in those two especially in Maya where we have found new awaited features for simulation. Third we delve to the open source arena where  we find Blender as an indispensable choice packing all what a user needs in a free package. So let’s dive into each package and learn some of the changes, we have gave each package a place read why we think each one deserves its place in the list.

Maya 2016 Autodesk Maya 2016

Maya 2016 contains interesting features that earlier versions lacked, some of the features are really revolutionizing and provide real alternatives to very expensive solutions before.
  1. Bifrost: A fluid simulation system that helps create realistic fluid animation previously only achievable by RealFlow set of tools.
  2. Faster XGen: XGen is an instance generator that could populate your entire scene with thousands of objects without using much memory.
  3. Modeling Tools: New Modeling tools added to Maya 2016
  4. Enhanced Pipeline Integration: Moving from Maya to a game engine such as Unity, Unreal, or Autodesk Stingray is simplified and streamlined with enhanced game exporter workflows.
  5. Parallel Rig Evaluation: Increasing the speed in which your character rig playback and manipulated with a multithreaded system distributes computation amongst excising CPU cores and GPU processors.
  6. Aero solver in Bifrost: in Bifrost create atmospheric effects like Mist and Fog better than Maya fluid with higher detail.

Conclusion: Maya 2016 is considered the best in the list simply because performance and its sheer amount of features and interchangeability you can do a lot in Maya 2016 so it scores 9/10.

3Ds Max 2016 3ds-max-badge-400px

3Ds Max 2016 is the cousin of Maya and it packs so much power though you don’t have Bifrost fluid simulation and XGen but you have a top class modeler and animator in this package, that’s always been said 3Ds Max is a great modeling tool it became even better with 3Ds Max 2016 the performance enhancements in this version makes it clear for the difference to show up.

Some of the new features include

  1. OpenSubdiv Support: Creating complex topology more quickly with OpenSubdiv
  2. Enhanced ShaderFX: Create and exchange advanced shaders more easily with a node based editor system.
  3. Better Game Exporters: Exchange your models with Game Engines more easily.
  4. Scene Explorer and Layer Manager Enhancements: you can now work with more complex scenes easier with a better enhanced Scene Explorer and Mayer Manager.

3Ds max 2016 though didn’t get many enhancements like its cousin Maya 2016 yet the performance enhancements of this version added to the already great tools and success history of previous 3Ds Max version 3Ds Max 2016 takes the second position in the list with a score of 8/10.

Blender 2.76 blender_logo

Blender 2.76 is an open source tool but it competes with proprietary packages and wins, in this list you find it in the third position and that is no coincidence Blender 2.76 packs a lot of features that only available in a fully paid proprietary tools, things like fluid simulation, great modeling tools and photo realistic render engine and the list goes on so some of the new addition in 2.76.
  1. Enhanced Cycles Renderer: An Enhanced Cycles photorealistic render engine to the already acknowledged Cycles render engine with improvements for AMD GPUs, Camera zoom motion blur, and the use of other range of GPUs.
  2. New Modeling Tools: in blender 2.76 you get additional modeling tools than previous versions, you get Flatten faces and Edge Offset.
  3. OpenSubdiv support: in blender 2.76 you get support of OpenSubdiv so you could create more complex topologies faster.

Blender 2.76 is sure a contender when it comes to creating high quality models for any application you can use this tool and create your designs and export to any other software or render your work right inside Blender and impress your audience. Blender 2.76 takes 7.8/10.

Houdini 15Houdini3D_icon

Although Houdini is not so popular amongst mainstream users but this tool is more advanced in particle animation and effects than almost all other packages combined because of the node based particle system it packs under the hood.

Some of the features you can find in Houdini FX 15 are

  1. Better Modeling Tools: With Houdini 15 you can find Edge Sliding, Poly Bridge, Poly Expand 2D new Retopology tools to build a Low-Res model out of the Hi-Res one.
  2. Crowds: Add more dynamic Crows with Ragdoll dynamics, it’s easier to get variations.
  3. Enhanced Animation Tools: You can find better onion skinning features a posing library panel and improvements in the Dope Sheet.
  4. Improved Renderer: In Houdini 15 you could find an enhanced renderer faster and richer with improved shaders, materials and support for RenderMan 20.

Houdini 15 takes the fourth place because of its ability in creating complex Visual Effects and for the continuous support by Side Effects Software for this unique tool by adding better modeling and animation features Houdini 15 takes 7/10.

modo 10 MODO_symbol_160

modo is the newest serious tool in the industry that could be used to create models with high accuracy with a simplicity tool with ease compared to other more complex tools, modo is unique because in has one of the fastest render engines we have used plus a solid modeling set of tools add to a young yet semi capable animation system.
Some of the enhancements in modo 10 are
  1. MeshFusion: create models by fusing those together none destructively instead of creating topology and edge flow this could be useful to create some models like had surface objects.
  2. Multi-Resolution Sculpting: Work with multiple sculpting layers at each mesh level.
  3. Topological Symmetry: Work with both sides of your model even if they are not symmetrical but retain same topological structure, you don’t need to correct the other half just use Topological Symmetry.
  4. New Align Tools: Align polygon, edge or vertex selections into circles, n-sided shapes or straight lines with new align tools—great for bringing uniformity to areas of your model. The weight of the effect can be varied.
  5. Physical based Materials: Match real materials more convincingly, with control over Specular profiles and blurry reflections offered by new GTR BRDF material.
  6. Vector Graphics Support: You can import SVG artwork as texture files pr as curves that then be manipulated in 3D or act as framework for you to construct meshes.
  7. Performance Enhancements: Overall speed of modo 10 is sometimes reaches 2x or in some cases 16x and sometime 25x in selecting many deformers so there is some significant performance boost in this version.

modo 10 is not complete but as a modeler and rendering software you can create great work in this tool and if you want to animate you can find respectful animation tools available, modo 10 takes 6.5/10

LightWave 2015 photo

LightWave was and is one of my favorite tools since I started out in modeling with. LightWave 2015 arrives to pay some attention towards features awaited by its users and some other features that are useful for big studios.
  1. Genoma 2: a fast rigging system that could accelerate your rigging process by doubles, Genoma is rigging system that could be used in LightWave Modeler then utilized in Layout with all the constrains and handlers.
  2. Edge Rendering: Some better edge rendering features are added to LightWave 2015 making it easier for cell rending.
  3. Enhanced Bullet Physics: Take control over dynamics simulations with new constraint types such as Point-to-Point, Hinge, Slider, Cone Twist, Spring and six degrees of freedom (DOF) constraint types.

LightWave 2015 is strong and easy on the pocket this tool can be used to create any type of model and export to a spectrum of software. LightWave 2015 takes 6/10.