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Advertising photographer looking to add small amounts of CGI to my workflow - Modo or Blender?

HI there everyone, I'm hoping a few people can chime in and help me make a decision going forward..

I'm an advertising photographer, and I want to start 3D modelling to strengthen my skillset a little; I'm 41 years old, and I've been a professional photographer for 12 years, and have been using Photoshop as a retoucher for nearly 20, so I feel I'm familiar with creative tools in general. I'm not looking to earn money from 3D Modelling, I just want to add it to my w0orkflow for producing richer photography.

I'm giving myself three years to learn a specific modelling platform, but I can't decide which one. My research has got me down to 2: Modo and Blender.

I'm leaning towards Modo, because it seems (to a layman) to be a bit more feature rich out of the box, and a bit more user-friendly. However, my main concern is that there appears to be very little in the way of community compared to Blender, which seems absolutely alive right now. 

I'd love to hear some insight from professionals into which one they would choose if they could begin all over again with what they know now. Price is not a concern, and Blender being free is what has me concerned about whether it's actually what I want, since it's the obvious choice compared to paid  programs. I'm happy to pay for Modo if it's the better choice for me. 

My main priority is being able to produce photorealistic objects, everything from toothbrushes to cars, to clouds, and planets. Not interested in animation, only still objects. I'm heavily interested in creating composite images to work with my photography.

Knowing this, which one would you say is sensible for not necessarily a total beginner, but someone who wants to take the most direct path to becoming technically proficient in the areas I mentioned? 

Thank you!


  • CheeseOnToast
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    CheeseOnToast polycounter lvl 16
    Personally I'd go for Blender. It's a very solid modeller, has a good built-in renderer and most importantly, a very active community. There's a ton of excellent and cheap community made addons so if the base app is missing something you need, chances are someone has made something to fill the gap. For example. as a photographer I imagine you'll need a tool to help you match the 3d scene camera to the camera from a 2D image. A very cursory search got me a page of results immediately, such as https://lesterbanks.com/2012/01/using-blam-the-blender-camera-calibration-toolkit/

    Since the 2.8 update, Blender has finally gained a lot of traction amongst professional artists and its user base keeps growing. Modo seems to be going the other way, although some artists do some amazing work with it (such as http://torfrick.com/ ). You could always try Blender first since it's free, and switch to Modo if you can't get what you want out of Blender. Most of the core skills you learn in 3d are broadly transferable, so your time won't be wasted.

  • kanga
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    kanga sublime tool
    I use Blender but have used Modo as well. They are both great tools and I would recommend both, but as purchase cost isnt an issue I'd look to a healthy and positive user base to help get you up and running from the start, and help support you as you develop. Modo also has a great following, just not as big.

    As CheeseOnToast said, you can download Blender straight away, give it a whirl, then try a Modo demo and make up your own mind.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi quad damage
    I've only tinkered with a trial Modo version and was quite surprised at it's ease of use straight out of the box after only an initial 8hr intro session while faffing about with one of Mr Frick's informative tutes. However, I'd agree with the general sentiment that blender would definitely be your best bet, starting out plus it's also pretty neat can actually be launched from a zipped folder without the need to install the program on your system.
  • igi
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    igi polycounter lvl 12
    As a Modo user I think Blender has a brighter and more vibrant future as their foundation got lots of support from large industry players nowadays. Modo has great toolbox but if you have never invested your time in a 3d program before then I'd say Blender is a better choice to start from a blank slate.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop greentooth
     Blender  is  simpler to use and study , probably because of  a natural selection it constantly goes through  and Modo imo  ( I use  indie version)  while having a few nice things Blender doesn't   is one of those typical  pro tools made by crazy scientists  where nobody understand nothing  till become same  crazy  and generally follows a rule  art software developers typically follow: If something simple could be made most  convoluted way  it  definitely  would .   For the sake of  so called flexibility  :)

    Blender is a rare thing where you have to read manual only one time .

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