The Blender learning curve is very steep, I had started modeling the DHC-5 Buffalo last year and stopped in the spring. By the time I got back to it just before Christmas, I had forgotten almost everything
$89.95 for AC3D if it is powerful and user-friendly is a steal. I'm going to download the 14 day free trial and play with it very soon.
FlightGear also uses AC3D format natively, of course, which I'd think is a factor very much in its favour. There's no denying that Blender is an impressive product for an open source effort, but it's taken me a significant investment of time and ibuprofen to get a handle on it, and I only have a scant working knowledge of it now.
AC3D is probably the best solution for FG development. It's multiplatform, resource friendly, easy to use and FG native. Great UV editor but it has no renderer:s I've tried to use some Renderman-like solutions with it but I wasn't satisfied.
You should also try GMAX, free version of Autodesk 3ds Max. Very powerful, but slightly outdated windows only solution. It's available at TurboSquid: www.turbosquid.com/gmax. Supports exporting to . AC format (script).
Activation needs a workaround, I think the server is down.
All planes designed with AC3D I studied contain hundreds of duplicate points, normals reversed etc .... Brief anything great! Either people do not know use or it is a bad program. One thing is sure, the best choice for FG remains Blender !
I explain simply, but in French, why check the normal, remove useless sides and duplicated points is always important :
In French (for the moment)
I have only recently ventured into modifying and exploitng 3D models....AC3D might be somewhat imperfect but I have been able to execute the needed mods within a few hours of learning the software ways with AC3D and getting the work done.
I'm still scratching my head with Blender...maybe when I have learned the skills with AC3D, Blender will make some sense but for now it is useless to me.
I simply cannot make Blender work for me nor accomplish anything usefull with it. AC3D? I made it work for me in a matter of minutes this morning and I'm well on the way to animating my first model~~!!
As already stated, this is likely due to my inexperience but surely AC3D has some use if even for the inexperienced newbies like myself.
I've often thought that what Blender needs to help newbies start modelling is a de-cluttered starting GUI...
Blender is seriously powerful, yet suffers from the open source problem of having to be everything to everyone, so it also ends up being very complicated...
I think I can genuinely say I used about 15% of Blenders functionality to 3d model a plane..the rest is just clutter that makes it harder to find the 15% I use..
AC3D is what it is... a simple low end 3d modelling package and is as such not encumbered by all the 'bells and whistles' that come with a high end modelling, rendering and animation package..
I'm pretty sure Blenders GUI could be made easier...it'd just take someone that uses blender all the time to make a note of the functionality used during modelling and UV mapping and then customise the menus.
Agreed all 'round, Bomber. Obviously Blender is seriously powerful but, for me, it is overkill. I'm not 3D modeling per se and don't anticipate doing that as I'm not all that interested/motivated in making 3D models from scratch.
There are *lots* of folks who love doing it and are already making stuff that is top end.
I'm more interested in something with the tools to cut out parts and animate them, texture map, etc. And so far I have made huge steps forward in a fraction of the time I had previously invested in just staring at Blender and scratching my head using AC3D.
That said, I learned as a pro knife/custom cutlery maker and martial arts instructor that there is no such thing as "one size fits all" and that there is always more than one good way of doing everything.
I find the tools I need to do the things I need to do. There might be a better way for someone else but I have a huge track record in other arts of finding what works for me and in the past that has been hugely sucessful.
For everyone? Well, maybe not so much. It is to each to find his own Way and my message is that there is certainly more than one path to The Way. For me and my needs in 3D modeling software I have a strong bond with AC3D and merely suggest it as an alternative for folks who find Blender needlessly convoluted yet still want to play with 3D modeling, texture mapping, animations, etc.
I have both Blender and AC3D. I use both to get the results I am trying to get. AC3D is easier to make glass objects with, blender is easier for manipulating Bits and sticking them together.
The limits of my abilities are creating things by sticking lots of simple shapes together or hacksawing bits from one aircraft and sticking them on another.
As for creating full aircraft, not going to happen, I dont have to time to learn that stuff.