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I have a 3d model with opaque and transparent parts that has a light bulb in it. (A lamp) I would like to be able to see what shadows are cast onto the planes below and above it(floor and ceiling) AND I would like to see how the projected shapes change as I distort the object. As I am not familiar with the abilities of the numerous softwares (sketchup, cinema4D, rhinoceros, etc) does anyone know what a noob like me could use?

Ease of use is most important. I tried blender and was blown away by the interface. Windows preferred but I do have an old macbook pro with an nvidia card.

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    Welcome aquagremlin! Do you have any OS preferences or requirements? What about cost/gratis? Please update your question with these details so we can help you better. Thanks! Feb 4 '20 at 5:22
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I was going to say Blender in a comment but you've mentioned it already.

Ease of use is most important. I tried blender and was blown away by the interface.

Blender can also be run almost completely with Python, if you are comfortable with Python then you almost never need to use the GUI or touch a mouse, which I also find intimidating.

update: I checked your SO profile and you're quite active in Python, so that answers that.

Check out Blender Stack Exchange where there's tons of help and Q&A (60k posts) available.

I believe that POV-Ray and Rhinoceros are also scriptable, but Blender's Python basis makes it extremely powerful. In fact even the GUI is Python, you can use your mouse to hover over every button for example and see the Python method that the button calls.

If you decide describe your first exercise (scripting and rendering a 3D structure) in a Blender SE question and you don't get an answer right away then ping me here and I'll see if I can help.

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    I settled on sketchup but thank you for your suggestion. Scripting a real time interface for python is too much overhead. Feb 7 '20 at 3:15
  • @aquagremlin That's great! You can always post a short answer that mentions why it addressed your requirements and click "accept", it helps the site stats slightly.
    – uhoh
    Feb 7 '20 at 4:38

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