I’m thinking of dabbling in 3D modeling and was looking at Blender and Wings 3D. Blender looks more powerful; Wings easier to learn. Is this true? Does anyone have a recommendation for a newbie-friendly 3D Modeling program?
I’ve made a few models using Wings 3D, and I’d recommend it because the interface is easier to use.
If you use the Celestia 3D space simulator, you can import the models from Wings and animate them.
Wings doesn’t allow you to edit the texture, but you can create the UV map. I use Anim8or to apply new textures to the model before moving it to Celestia.
I think your assessment is just about right. Wings is easier to learn, but once you have learned it and you want to move on to a more powerful (and and still free) package Blender will still be there waiting to be learned. My advice would be to cut out the middle man and dive right into Blender. Thats what I did about a year ago and it only took me around a week and a half before I knew the ins and outs of the interface and it became reletively intuative.
A good place to start learning is this tutorial wiki book. It has tutorials from ‘just opened the program for the first time’ to ‘programming your own plugins’.
Plus the new hair and fluid simulation features coming in Blender 2.40 are positively juicy.