Embarassing newbie question...

514.4 In reply to 514.1 
As for modeling, different packages offer different toolsets for the surfaces us modelers use. As you learn how to use these surfaces, like Polygon, Subdivision, NURBS, and Solids, you will begin to think of them almost as a traditional artist would think of materials. For example, if I were to make a non-digital model I would have to stop and consider which parts would be sculpted from polymer clay, cut from plastic, carved from wood, or bent from wire. As a Photoshop and Illustrator user you may want to paint something using Photoshop brushes to create an object with a soft and painterly look, or you may want to use bezier curves in Illustrator to create an object with smooth, precise curves and gradient colors. This is akin to deciding whether to SubD or NURBS tools for a particular model.

If you model with Polygon or Subdivision surfaces you will most likely encounter a workflow based on sculpting, which is great for creating organic creatures and living things. However, as your model gets more detailed the number of vertices you have to deal with goes up dramatically and the types of tools designed to manipulate high numbers of vertices, like brushes and deformers, although well suited to organic modeling, are not well suited to hard-surface modeling.

This is where MoI comes in for me, hard-surface modeling. I would not attempt to model a human with NURBS and Solids, but would for a building, vehicle, or any other props. My main 3D app has a NURBS toolset, but does not even deal with Solids modeling techniques. Some apps like Lightwave and Modo do not have any NURBS tools at all. Also, I find the drafting or vector style drawing approach of MoI for modeling to be much better suited to creating hard surface models.

MoI has the best NURBS/Solids to Polygon conversion tools I have seen, and I have been trying out a lot of NURBS/Solids modeling application demos the past few weeks. This is important because a lot of people use a primary app as their animation and rendering tool, for you that would be Carrara, but they use many "satellite" apps for content creation. For example Poly/SubD modelers like to use apps like Silo, Modo, ZBrush, Mudbox, and Bodypaint for modeling, detailing, and texturing. Now modelers have another tool to consider, MoI.

My advice wold be to try out MoI, the beta is free. As an Illustrator user you may like the curves based workflow a lot. Create something simple like a vase based on a revolved curve. Get it into Carrara and follow a rendering tutorial to get that image created and post it up here for us to see! You have to get that first project out of the way.