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If you are in an academic or reserach orgainization you may have access to Maya and 3-D studio Max, also Rhino and Mimics.  Rhino and Mimics are a bit more specific to 3-D modeling of specific data sets like MRI and 3-D scans as opposed to z-Brush which creates an artist interpretation of an object.
 
Mimics and Studio Max have a bit of a learning curve but are far more capable. They also cost quite a bit though if you are a teacher Studio Max and Maya can be gotten for very little money or are free.
 
 

On Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 10:48 AM, Ron Ruff <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Virge,
I have used Lightwave 3D since 2000. I Used 3DS Max from 1995 to 1999 and now I am relearning it at my new employer. They both are very capable, and they both render high enough resolution for use in print.
I have no experience with Zbrush or Blender. I have googled them in the past, and looked on Youtube and Vimeo to look at people's demos and examples. People are using all of these programs and there are examples of very amazing work from each of these programs.
With that said, here is my comparison for what it is worth.
I think I paid about $900 for Lightwave a few years ago for at home. I think my new employer paid about $3600 for 3ds Max last year. Blender is Free.
Lightwave is easier to learn and use, right out of the box, but has a limited modeling toolset compared to Max.
Max was much harder to learn just because there are so many more buttons and tools to learn.
I like the quality and feel of the renders that come out of Lightwave better.
We had to buy VRay as an add-on renderer for 3DS Max. VRay was an additional $1000.
I hope this helped. I am glad to give you more info, if you want. There are dozens of other programs out there. some more expensive, some less.
Good luck.

Ron Ruff

On Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 9:26 AM, Kask, Virge <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hello All,

What is the most common, or best, software for creating 3D illustrations? In the recent past there has been a discussion on ZBrush vs. Blender for 3D...how do they stack up with the other 3D software that's out there?

 

Thanks much!

 

Virge Kask

Scientific Illustrator

 

University of Connecticut

Biology Central Services

75 N. Eagleville Road, Unit 3042

Storrs, CT 06269-3042

 

Phone: 860-486-4152

Facsimile: 860-486-3943

Email: [log in to unmask]

Web: www.bcs.uconn.edu

Location: Torrey Life Sciences, Room 168

 

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