I get this question often so by popular demand, here is a listing of almost everything that makes WoodMarvels.com possible.
3D Modeling Software
Every model on WoodMarvels.com was built using Autodesks 3D Studio Max version 6. This is a version that is a few years old but it does the job tasked to it wonderfully. I do plan on upgrading to the latest once I convert everything to a 64 bit operating system but for now, 32 bit XP works nicely for everything. Don’t fix what isn’t broken 😉
Actual work takes from a few hours to a few days depending on the complexity of the model while animation rendering takes anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks depending on the level of complexity, lighting and length required to best show the assembly. For instance, the latest design we converted into 3D for one of our featured designers, Utzi, took a little over a week working 24 / 7 rendering on a dual-core system. There is a lot of stuff I would love to add to animations but waiting a month or two for the rendering to complete isn’t in the cards.
While our Medieval Castle Walls took almost two weeks!
Video Editing Software
I use Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio 8.0 Platinum to do all the overlays and video compression. I have used a number of editing programs in the past from AVID to Final Cut but I have to say that Sony is far ahead of them regarding entry level power and value. In the future, I plan on upgrading to Vegas Pro once I migrate to a 64bit OS. Buy Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 Software
Music Production Software
I use Sony’s ACID Music Studio 7 for all the music production, this is added into Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio 8.0 before doing the final export. In the future, I plan on upgrading to ACID Pro once I migrate to a 64bit OS. Buy Sony’s ACID Music Studio 7 software.
All of our blueprint and step-by-step assembly guides are made using Scribus which is free desktop publishing software. I have used everything from PageMaker to Quark but to be honest, this software is just as good for my purposes.
Laser Cutting: Ponoko.com
I can’t say enough amazing things about Ponoko, their attention to detail and customer service is astounding! All our files are exported from 3DS Max as AI files which are then imported into Adobe Illustrator and cut by their laser cutters. Buy Adobe Illustrator CS4. Feel free to visit Ponoko for all your laser cutting needs!
Ponoko is also responsible for many advances in my own design philosophies, such as adding burned edges to our products (which is a wonderful way to add contrast btw) and streamlining global manufacturing and shipping logistics.
E-Commerce Software: Magento
Magento is an incredible piece of software, not only for the value (it’s free) but how easy it is to use! I have used just about every cart system out there and Magento is leaps and bounds ahead of them! Visit Magento.
Blogging Platform: WordPress
I have tried many different blogging platforms in the past but by far the best I have ever used is WordPress. The ease of use, integration with third party widgets and the cost (it’s free too) makes it a winner! Visit WordPress.
All the work seen on WoodMarvels.com is produced using a two year old HP laptop, DV9030US with an NViDIA GeForce Go 7600, dual 120GB hard drives and 2GB of ram. It has dual-core Intel processors that get warm enough while rendering to warm-up my entire place even in the dead of winter!
I am seriously eyeing a custom built HP HDX 18t Premium Series with quad Intel processors, 1GB graphics card, 4GB Ram, 1TB HD and 64 bit Vista. Although Amazon also offers a very good deal HEWLETT PCKARD HP Pavilion HDX 18t. Moving to this requires purchasing all new software to run off a 64 bit system so total cost of migration won’t be cheap (software costs will be far more than hardware in my case). Upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 in less than a year is also another headache I want to avoid so I am holding back my purchase until dual-quad processors (or octa-cores) become available with solid state hard drives along with Windows 7 which should all be available in the Fall of 2009 but if HP wants to sponsor WoodMarvels.com, I would jump at the opportunity!
I really want to bring-in some real cool endings to all the animations produced here but due to hardware limitations (did I mention I am playing with less than 10GB free space at the moment on my laptop), some of what I really want to do is on the back-burner but will keep doing the best I can with what I got. The reason for a laptop? Easy, I travel the world and run my entire operation remotely. So far, my favorite ending is the one I made for my Amazing Train, as mentioned previously, the Full Armor Gear Tank had an amazing ending but waiting a month in rendering time just isn’t time I can afford at the moment to spend 😉