Hey, everyone! Name's Prodigy. Been spying on your community here for a few days now, admiring some very amazing talent. A little background before I jump into my questions: I'm in my first semester at DeVry University, working towards my degree in Game & Simulations Programming. While my career will be in Game Development (the actual CODING of the games), you can probably figure out that I'll be working with artists, animators, etc. and putting their characters, environments and such into the actual games.
As such, I figure it would be a lotta help (not to mention very enjoyable) to learn a little about these processes. Also, I'm beginning the planning stages of a few games of my own as hobbies and experience-builders, and would like to rely (at least in part) on my ability to not only create the GAME, but create the objects USED in the game, too.
And... here I am. Now, to the questions.
1) Is there any program that's accepted as the best for modeling/animation/rendering? Or at least by a "majority" vote? (BTW, I'm referring to freeware.) I've used Wings3d to familiarize myself, but it doesn't allow you to rig or animate, which is something I'll need to do. So, yesterday I upgraded to Amabilis' 3D Canvas 7, which appears to be a VERY amazing program for it's simplicity. I'm happy with it, but if there are better options, I'd much rather take the time to learn them.
2) With Wings, I believe you created one UV Map for your model, period. But, I've heard of at least 3 different map-types in skimming through your forums. Could someone explain these to me? As in, the differences between them and how they work together, when it seems like you could just make one map to cover all your detail?
3) I've heard a little (very little, actually) about sculpting until I wandered here. What does it consist of, and is it more difficult than modelling?
4) Besides the generic "practice makes perfect" advice, do you have any pointers or recommendations to someone completely new to this area?
Thank you all in advance for your responses!