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Posted - 11/05/2009 :  17:37:16  Show Profile  Visit Michael's Homepage  Send Michael an AOL message
Hi All,

Someone from the forums here emailed me, and my response to them bounced. Due to the optional nature of forum signatures, I very rarely get to connect users here with real names and places, so I have no way to send this to that user.

But I'd hate to waste the response, because I think this user is at the same place a lot of people are when they install an application as complicated as Design 3D. Filled with the hopes of filling their portfolio with images they see on the Cafe and other sites online, but daunted by a lot of buttons and no idea where to start.

When I started in computers, you needed to know quite a bit of cryptic syntax just to be able to "see" your files. Increasingly, computers, and by extension applications, are being simplified so that users can intuitively grasp what's required of them to complete a task.

3D applications combine so many real world skill-sets that there's no easy convention to tie it all up with. They require a little bit of geometry, sculpture, physics, color theory, compositional theory, photography, storyboarding, pacing, general computer knowledge, common sense, inspiration and imagination.

Every single person opening a 3D application for the first time is adrift in concepts for which they have no rules of thumb at hand.

I can definitely relate to your frustrations. I've learned four 3D applications over the years, and my experience with several, notably Electric Image, was one of the most frustrating things I've ever done.

That being said, the onus is on you to learn. There are resources at your disposal and people willing to help, but no one can turn those light bulbs on for you.

We've been producing some beginner tutorials in the past few weeks/months. If you go to the videos page on strata.com and check the "beginner videos" tab, you'll see a number of entries on modeling, texturing, animation, etc.


Julie at Strata has been hard at work putting together seminars, demonstrations and tutorials. For the beginner, these videos really are great resources, and we(I) need to do a better job of making sure that new users are aware of and exposed to this material. We try to get as much learning and inspirational material in front of folks through the regular Strata bulletin as we can.

If you aren't on the bulletin list, you can sign up here:


The service we're using now to deliver the bulletin has a very simple system for opting out if you find it doesn't suit you.

There are also tutorial sites out there for Design 3D:



I know Derek (Simply Strata) and Luc (StrataTutorials) have done a lot of work producing tutorials that get brand new users on the right track.

There are training resources for sale in the Strata store.

Chris Tyler's excellent "Art & Science of Strata 3D", which was likely included with your purchase of Strata Design 3D CX version 5 and above:



Chris has also produced a DVD training series:



There are always the forums here as well, but you have to approach them humbly. The questions you have when you're starting out are likely to be repeated, a lot, and it's very frustrating to answer questions repeatedly when it's clear that the people asking haven't already researched the topic on their own.

No veteran user here is obligated to teach anyone else the software. Helping others learn is a golden nugget of charitable service that just seems to thrive in some people. When it's 5 AM and your project is late and you're simply stuck on one stupid little thing, you don't want these people to be tired of you or assume that you haven't done any research for yourself.

Always read the manual first. I recommend reading the manual for any application that you have. Reading is falling more and more out of fashion lately, but the people that wrote the application spent a lot of time documenting it. The manual is just that: a documentation of the application features. If you're having trouble with a specific feature, at the very least, read that page or two so you know how it works. It may not always have the specific information you need, but it should be searched before Google when you're stumped.

Search the forums for specific issues that you have. If you're just starting out, it's likely that your questions have been asked and answered many times.


(remember to enable "archived posts" as well, as topics that haven't been active for more than 3 months or so are archived to provide faster service to the active forums.)

Check the support site:


Just in case the issue you're running into is actually a bug (hey, it happens), there's likely to be a workaround listed there.

At the end of the day, though, learning any software is your responsibility. Becoming a 3D designer in any market is a skill and an asset. It can mean increased earning potential and new employment opportunities. Primarily, it means expanding your creative options.

No one else has a greater stake in your education then you do, and no developer takes responsibility for your education. Ford won't teach you how to drive if you buy a car, and Home Depot won't teach you how to rewire your house when you buy a light switch. Software is a tool, like any other, and learning how to use it effectively is a personal investment that has to be considered just as seriously as software features or the purchase price.

I hope you press through and rise to the challenge of learning how to use Design 3D CX. I know I have a bias, but I believe that Design 3D CX 6 is easily the most straight-forward and familiar application on the market, especially for those with experience with Adobe's general application conventions.

To me, learning how to turn your ideas into fully realized 3D objects is satisfying in a way that few other things are. It isn't for everyone, of course. It takes a certain type of person to build an object polygon-by-polygon rather than just searching for clip art and stock photos.

The value of anything is directly related to the effort and skill it took to produce it. When you push your way up the learning curve, and you finally start to deliver the results you want, the personal satisfaction and community commentary will definitely be worth it.

Good Luck!

Michael Luscombe

Infrequent Poster

3 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2011 :  07:24:08  Show Profile
thankyou :)

this is great. I am new to strata. I previously have been using swift 3D for all my vector 3D requirements. Going through Strata's interface and features, i feel that it is a much more advanced and soffisticated package than Swift 3D.

I just wish strata had an inbuilt vector export like it's counterpart does. That would have been awesome :)

thanks for the tutorial links.

"You will neither know hell or heaven, for they live in the same island."
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1 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2011 :  23:44:54  Show Profile  Visit lied's Homepage
I really like what you say, I use CINEMA 4D has been difficult to learn


Haru Daichi
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1 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2014 :  01:08:26  Show Profile
Nice post. I like it. Thanks for sharing these information. Keep it up.


Edited by - eshall on 10/21/2014 04:12:21
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202 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2017 :  07:39:23  Show Profile  Visit powersolo's Homepage
My experience is that working in 3d is either a career or a tool. Ive used it as an tool. Either way, you still have to find a little inspiration to compel you to keep going to the next level. The inspiration for me comes from within, by learning something that makes my tool more useful. Model and render, model and render. Sometimes it's not that simple. You have to break from the norms and think of different ways to get what you need from your tools. What can I find to make my next 3d attempt usable? Practice what I know and add a new technique to make it better. Find a 3d application that works more like I think. Find new ways of doing common tasks. Youtube has given me an abundance of inspiration and knowledge that keeps me learning by doing. 3d is my tool, not my life. But enjoy learning more and going to the next plateau. Give yourself goals and keep a record of them. Make them memorable and you will grow.
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1 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2017 :  01:27:32  Show Profile  Visit MosesVandenberg's Homepage
Thank you for this post!
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8 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2018 :  06:50:47  Show Profile
"Good post. I am new 'n i am interested in 4d."

So am I. :)

Edited by - NeilWaller on 03/20/2018 06:51:20
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2 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2018 :  11:33:41  Show Profile  Visit Zeroghost's Homepage
How about old Strata users?
I started using Strata 3D in the 90's and own old versions I created assets in I want to bring forward. SE doesn't support animations. Drat!

Garret Moore
Digital Media & Illustration
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