The only school i went to for modeling was the "School of hard knocks" I started with 3dsmax 2.5 back in 1999. I use 2010 now, and i STILL dont know everything yet. My XSI knowledge is limited to just what is needed to import a ship into Sins. I know a little bit of lightwave. I tossed maya the 1st time i used it. It took me 3 weeks just to figure out how to zoom the camera in maya. I dont have months or years worth of time to learn new modeling programs. I used 3dsmax for over 10 years, and will model in no other program. I am also pretty handy in photoshop.
I do things the "hard way" one poly at a time, or one section at a time. Simply because i have more control over the end result. It is long, and tedious, but the job gets done right (most of the time). I used polycruncher, and max's own optimizer, and didnt like how they chopped the models up. More like mutilated them. I only use in program optimizers for very low poly/low detail LOD meshes.
Would you like to help optimize some models SivCorp? I still dont have exact counts on all of the sins meshes yet, but the structures, and NPC craft seem to be the ones that need some reduction the most. I would like to see the trade ships at 1000 tri's if possible.. 1500 max. Orbital structures no higher than 3k. Less if at all possible. Starbases at 5k or under. I know it can be done. Especially with the advent starbase. I got a few tricks in mind for that one. I just dont have the time right now to do any kind of modeling with the hours of my RL job. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.