My 3D History
I graduated in 1993 2:1 in 3D Design, although nearly all of my 3D design efforts since then have been hobbyist. During my undergraduate studies I used CGAL a stone age 3D packages which started out as a completely command-line driven tool, then the design department upgraded to Microstation, which was a swish and powerful engineering-centric application. I was very briefly exposed to 3D Studio but it didn't draw my attention at the time - it wasn't yet running under Windows...
Years later, I installed a trial version of Caligari trueSpace and was absolutely won over by its intuitive and direct approach to modelling. It had an almost 'tactile' quality that made 3D modelling more like playing and less like entering a series of obscure keyboard inputs. I used a windfall cheque from the inland revenue to fund the purchase of the full version of trueSpace 2 and because a regular and enthusiastic user. I ended up being invited to the external user beta testing program which gave me the privilege of working directly with the development team through the development of truespace 3 and 4.
In 1998 I was contacted by a fellow trueSpace enthusiast who had ambitions on creating an animated science fiction movie - a wild and unrealistic ambition for a fellow enthusiast, but Krys dedicated himself to the challenges and eventually, backed with some venture capital was in the pre-production/ 'selling to a studio' phase of his Master Squadron project. I was invited along for the ride, contributing 3D models and ideas, in return for a 3DS Max 4 seat. So I learned the basics of 3DS Max - although only the parts I needed for concept development. Krys did all the heavy lifting and developed character modelling skills that were pretty much better than the industry standard at the time.
Alas, the process of getting a movie made is often endless - they say that the average movie takes 7 years from the original intent to its first screening - I had less time to contribute as my career developed in a different direction.
The world turned. I lost touch with Krys and my 3D output dried up for a while. Caligari closed its doors - very sad because I still think that trueSpace was the most intuitive and fun way to start learning 3D. At the time of Caligari's closing (2009), Blender was already established as a competing fully featured 3D tool - although in a far less refined form than you'll find it today.
I've carried on using 3DS Max, although I didn't switch to the subscription model, so I'm left with an impossibly high cost to upgrade to the current version.
Suddenly, a journey into Blender is looking increasingly worthwhile...