I don't have any experience with Maya, but from what I understand,
it's a very powerful program for what it does, but also very complex
to learn. I use Rhino and ArtCAM, two very different softwares, but
the combination meets my needs in terms of CAD jewelry design. ArtCAM
JewelSmith's modeling strategies are unconventional, but once you
become familiar with the tools and discover what you can do with
them, it's a pretty amazing program, easier and faster than anything
else for certain projects...I'm sure when you first saw Maya, it was
like peering into another world, the virtual world of 3D animation. I
can't comment on JewelCad because I've never really explored it.
However, I also find ZBrush very interesting, but upon first glance,
it also looks daunting... someone once mentioned that navigating the
interface is like wrestling with a bag of badgers, but that may have
been an exaggeration! It's what you're used to, that determines your
comfortability with a program. I've hesitated to get into ZBrush,
primarily because it has no measuring tools that I know of. How is
Maya, for accuracy of dimension?
I recently bought Silo, which will have displacement painting in the
next version, which I'm hoping will function like ZBrush but the
advantage would be that it's in a full 3D environnment.
So, I'll be able to import a Rhino model and give it a texture in
Silo, but I don't see it as a practical program to build a base
model. Perhaps in a few versions down the road...
It's true that the algorithms for CAD have been around for a while,
but perhaps a significant market potential has lagged behind in the
jewelry industry until somewhat recently. Otherwise, you'd think that
the developers of Maya or 3ds Max would have built jewelry plugins
long before other 3D software developers created CAD programs for