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Blender 2.8 vs Maya LT

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    Blender 2.8 vs Maya LT

    This isn't one of those "I'm starting to learn modeling which program should I use". I've used Maya LT rather extensively and have long held the belief that it is the superior software (which seems to be the general consensus, but of course to each their own). However, after playing around in Blender 2.8, I'm beginning to wonder if that is the case.

    My main issue with blender was based on three things.

    1. The UI was disgusting. I would explain it as imagining you were modeling on a cluttered desk. Even though the cluttered desk doesn't impact you directly, it still causes quite a lot of frustration no matter how used to it you get. Some people can work in a cluttered desk (or perhaps thrive off it), which is why Blender's UI doesn't bother some people. Maya's UI is still probably less cluttered than Blender 2.8, but it's quite tolerable.

    2. Blender's viewport had a rather poor display. It was not very kind to the eye - looked very outdated. The viewport is now far superior to Maya or really any other 3D viewport I've ever used.

    3. The hotkeys in Blender are ridiculous. This wasn't really rectified in 2.8 but I addressed it by literally going line by line in user preferences. Basically just removing half of them and remapping the others. I still prefer Maya's "right-click to do everything", but maybe someone will make a super piemenu for Blender in the future.

    - Maya LT is rather affordable so even though Blender 2.8 is free, I don't think the price is a valid comparison.

    What I'd really like to know is the specifics. What tools does Maya have that Blender doesn't and vice versa for game content? Polygon Modeling tools seem to be a bit more complete in Blender (though 3DS Max still takes the cake), unwrapping seems to be a bit faster in Maya. I haven't gotten far enough into animations to really judge either. Can Blender match Maya's rigging and animation system? I know Maya LT has some animation features taken out of it... Sculpting and Painting tools don't really matter because Substance and Zbrush going to be preferable.

    Not really interested in "Blender is better" or "Maya is better" comments but rather what are the pro's and cons of both from your perspective? Personally I feel that they are quite similar these days, but maybe I'm missing something?

    Main reason I'm asking is because I'm looking at starting to make animations and once you set up the rig in Maya or Blender you're kind of stuck with it for good or you won't be able to edit old animations or your rig (assuming it even imports properly).

    I'm a 3DS Max baby but I've tooled around in Maya before but it was mostly for school. I'm going to rant for most of this.

    My take is, Blender feels like hot garbage on a first look. You really have to dive in and (what you said) undo practically all of the prebound hotkeys and set up your own. There are a few simple actions with the mouse that work in the viewport and a handful of some other menus, but you end up losing that functionality in the UV window (double-click, marquee selection, etc) because those actions do not smartly translate across the interface. Also because there are multiple hotkey entries that are labeled the same but are contextually used differently, makes setting up specific hotkeys a nightmare.

    I've done a lot of animation in 3DS Max, being able to translate any behavior that I've needed from 3DS Max's animation over to Blender has been mostly easy. There are a few hiccups that I wish the Blender community or documentation had issued as a need-to-know. Biggest and dumbest (easiest to fix) is that when you start weighting(skinning) a model, MAKE SURE to tick the "auto-normalize" tickbox in the brush panel. If you don't, every bone will weight itself in the worst manner. That switch *should* be on by default, so make sure you are saving a startup file to hold that option *on* for you. So much future headaches to be had. The other thing is Blender will try to advertise "control bones" as the propper method of setting up rig animation controls. Do Not Buy That Trash. You can make all the same controls out of splines/objects as you could in 3DS Max and arbitrarily assign them to each bone's constraints. Last thing is posing a rigged mesh will only export your T-pose until you do some weird operation where you double-stack your skin modifier, apply the desired pose to the skeleton (it's in the context menu next to the mode dropdown (bottom-left of the viewport)), then apply one of the skin modifiers. For context, I was trying to rebuild the VR hands that you might have seen in a few vr demos, I needed them to be posed around an Oculus Rift controller but they kept exporting in a flat pose.

    I have not yet built blendshapes; that's actually the next thing to do on my list.

    Basically Blender works great if you can make the effort to literally translate your skillset. I have a big dumb notepad that I constantly reference just for Blender operations that make little to no sense coming from 3DS Max.

    One other note for hotkeys, run a search in the user-preferences > inputs window (hotkeys) for "call menu". Make sure you look through all of those menus (most are contextual so you won't see them unless you're currently in the right mode (i.e. object mode, edit mode, pose mode, etc)) and save/right down all the ones that look like they have desirable tools. I do a lot of modelling, so I'll just say, almost all the Mesh call menus are desirable. Most of the options that appear in any of the call menus are not found anywhere else in the Blender interface.

    I'm looking at starting to make animations and once you set up the rig in Maya or Blender you're kind of stuck with it for good or you won't be able to edit old animations
    Actually, you can edit the animations and re-export to replace the animations you've already brought into unreal, without stepping on the rig. Just make sure you target the skeleton in the import options. When you edit the skeleton hierarchy (adding/removing bones, renaming bones), that's when your work gets busy.
    Last edited by NotSoAccurateNo1; 10-30-2018, 07:50 PM.


      First time when im change from max to blender, i have this problems too. Ugly, total different control, user panels etc.
      Now, after 1-2 year using, i realy like blender, better than max or maya.
      If you learn the logic behind the blender using, its a great FREE software, with great plugins.


        This is gonna be a hot topic now with Blender 2.8, so I thought I'd chime in.

        I am by no means an artist myself, but I do sometimes fill a technical artist role in that I handle FBX issues, work on automating artist workflow, etc.
        Maya has much better FBX support, and this makes my life a lot easier when it comes to working with files from it.
        However, I find Blender's scripting interface to be far more flexible than Maya's API.
        Both of them have Python bindings, which is very useful, but in Blender it is somewhat easier to modify the underlying data and replace it with whatever you like.
        I can't say I know enough to know exactly why this is, but it feels a lot like Maya wasn't really designed with heavy scripting in mind, whereas Blender works well with scripting by nature of the developers trying to keep all the data exposed and manipulable in general to facilitate an open environment.

        I think the artist experience is better in Maya, though this may change with Blender 2.8 Beta, and I'm excited to see where that leads.
        There is also a huge amount of potential in making a bridge between Blender's Uber and Unreal's shaders since Eevee's system is based on Unreal, though it doesn't aim for feature parity.

        Until Blender 2.8 matures, I would stick with Maya, but after that happens it's a good possibility that I'll switch to doing as much as I can in Blender.


          So I apologize for not being able to contribute anything to this discussion, because if I wrote this thread it would be the "newb looking to choose between maya,blender,3dsmax" topic. That being said due to it being free and the rework looking very nice I am probably going with Blender for now. My question is back to you CalamityDev and you NotSoAccurateNo1 when you both mentioned that the blender shortcuts are ****, would be able to give an example of what the most efficient hotkey set up would be?


            Blender 2.8 is a massive improvement from UI and UX perspective. For the most part it retains all of 2.79 functionality plus that Eevee goodness. I've had good success getting animation workflow up and running with Blender and UE4. There are still edge cases where it needs custom handling. Things like how to setup LODs for armatures need more clarity.
            UE4 Tutorials for 3rd person Blueprint project from scratch: Youtube Channel
            Use Blender 2.8 to make UE4 compatible animations: Blog


              I love Blender, especially Blender 2.8. It's a huge leap forward in visuals, interface and usability. Back in 2012-2013 I was still using Maya, before I began my transition to Blender and it wasn't easy because it's really different control concept. Very shortcut based instead of navigating through pie menus. Also you are not playing around with the pivots as much as in Maya, because you can do a lot by just dragging the mouse (e.g. E for Extrude and then dragging mouse to extrude out and click to apply). But once you got into it, you will love it! For me Blender feels a lot faster and lightweight than Maya, but still not lacks of all important functions you need for creating your 3d models. Also the community is great with a lot of free and cheap addons in the Blendermarket.

              Yes there are issues with FBX, particularly when exporting/importing skeletal fbx files, but there are working solutions to get the job done. I hope that other more open formats like glTF, which is also partly supported in UE4 now, will solve problems like that.


                Definitely glTF! Progress is now growing in giant strides, and for similar formats the future. It is known only to the developers of the UE 4 and Blender about what they communicated in a closed meeting. If the rest of the packages do not fall into this stream, they will definitely not be the best for them. Blender is a real product that flies even though it is free and is supported by people who really love it, and do not feed promises to fix it, and as a result you get the same package with the same errors, but then its buttons have become more beautiful. 3Dmax -> Maya -> C4D -> this unfortunately was my long journey Blender, knowing this before, I would have passed to the blender without thinking. Certainly, every product is good for its purpose. Max hodgepodge of redeemed products made by an engineer for engineers, Maya’s circular menus and the constant rustling of the mouse over the viewport, but there were much more pleasant memories than with Max. If you want to go my way ahead! I just share my opinion, the rest can with foaming at the mouth to prove that the product in which he has more experience is definitely better or just the studio and the organization pays for it. On average, to master the basics of one of the packages, you will need a week of time to understand what is closer and more pleasant for you to master.


                  i tried blender, i thought it was overhyped garbage.. it was rather convoluted, confusing not in the sense that i didnt know how to use it.. but in the sense of wtf is all this **** on my screen that isnt even remotely related to what i am trying to do?.. it felt like some free open source to be blunt.. and ive been using maya since.. however, i just noticed the new 2.8 and it has piqued my interest, as i type this i am installing blender 2.8 and i am going to give it a shot.. will it redeem blender? who knows, but im going to give blender another shot with 2.8


                    15 minutes into blender 2.8 im genuinely impressed, this looks and feels like a legitimate 3D modeling and animation software.. wow, night and day difference, good on you blender, im going to have to model, rig, and animate something soon to give it a real test


                      Originally posted by burntbyhellfire View Post
                      15 minutes into blender 2.8 im genuinely impressed
                      I agree. Blender 2.8 is a dramatic and huge improvement for new users over previous versions. I won't be buying any Autodesk products nor recommending them again, thanks to this new version of Blender. They finally got that less-than-ideal user interface replaced with something that people can much more easily adopt and learn on their own.