I work as a graphic designer using 3DSMAX.
At my work I've got a PentiumII 400Mhz with a Diamond Viper550 TNT video card.
For MAX you can choose between three drivers:
- Heidi (software)
When I use the Heidi driver things work like a charm, but this doesn't use the TNT hardware.
When I try the OpenGL driver things get messy: transparent objects aren't transparent and when I display "edged faces" the wireframe and the faces are offset to each other. Same thing with the Direct3D driver (BTW does this use TNT hardware and is it any slower than OpenGL?)
So what's this all about? Is this a bug in the OpenGL driver or do I have to use a special 3DSMAX OpenGL driver or what?
Heres the deal. Nvidia has the best OpenGl ICD of all the game card companies. IT does work in opengl apps, but is not really a powerful full featured icd. Heidi wroks good because it is done in software, not by the TnT. Direct X support for max is useless. It just exists to be there. There is not really a "bug." It is more like the proper ICD is the reason soem cards cost 1500.00 or more. Nvidias ICD is getting better all the time. and with the NV10(which has traingle and lighting setup) will probably have a "real" ICD. But for now, use the heidi software mode. Heidi hardware is great too, but the TnT does not support it.
Make your employer get you a real 3D card! Even a cheap one (FireGL 1000 or Oxygen 102) would speed things up considerably. Let's face it, 3DSMax is the hugest resource hog of any program I've ever seen. A good OpenGL accelerator is an almost necessity so you don't spend 5 hours out of a workday waiting for screen redraws.
To be completely honest, I haven't actually used a FireGL with Max. My recommendation is based largely on conjecture, I admit. I am assuming it would be an improvement due to the good things I have heard about the FireGL and Oxygen line when used with 3D apps, and also based upon the knowledge that these cards were designed to be used for this purpose primarily and that they FULLY support OpenGL. I interact with 3D Artists on a daily basis so I hear quite a bit about the hardware related to it, and I know good cards do make a big difference.
Hey Chanse--what else you use-- Alias, Soft, Lightwave, Maya?
The fire GL is a real crap card, but at the time it came out, it was the only opengl card under 1000.00 And it supports heidi also which is good for max. It is not very powerful, but supports a fairly full featureset( traingle setup, and **** like that, which with nvidias NV10 supporting that, the lines between consumer and workstation will be almost nonexistant.)The permedia 2 chipset is really crap for games but was great for what it was made for, the lowest priced 3d acceleration for apps. the TNT is far more powerful, but does not support many features, just ones that are utilized on games today, what it was made for. So, either way you miss out. the tnt is decent in 3dsmax, using heidi software (the tnt does have a great 2d capability.) The permedia 2 has more features, but is dated, slow as ****, and is garbage for games. And it really depends on what type of scenes you're modeling as to whether opengl or heidi. (but elsa does have a permedia 2 card that is able to utilize opengl and heidi concurrently)
and max 3 is badass. A more customizable workspace, more developed modeling tools(nurbs and such), added character animation tools, (a lot of stuff for game development) and a waaaay faster renderer, with a bunch of compositing effects for output.
I've also been learning AMAPI, lightwave, truespace, and a little bit of Rhino