Blender or Maya?

I have a student licensed copy of Autodesk (with Maya). My intent is to eventually be a one-man show indie game developer. My C++ has come a long way; I still have a long way to go to be sufficiently competent to handle all the programming side of even a simple game.

However, I’m starting to think a bit about graphics creation. It seems like my best course of action is to learn to use Maya, create assets in Maya (using my student licensed version). Then, sometime prior to distributing a commercial product, upgrade Maya to a professional license (thus making my assets “distributable”), and skip complications of using Blender products in UE4 altogether.

However, I’m not certain if Maya assets created with a student version are EVER upgradable to distributable version (I’m inquiring with Autodesk on this).

If not for the fact that using Blender created assets with UE4 seems a bit “tricky,” I would just skip bothering with Maya at all. But maybe the difficulties of using Blender created assets with UE4 is not as difficult as it seems?

Blender may have some flaws but it has gotten much better lately when it comes to handling export. The first time you do things in Blender it will not be as smooth as Maya but in the long run I think you would not regret learning Blender instead of Maya.

When it comes to creating a mesh Blender is just as good as Maya (even better than Maya in my opinion). When it comes to Rigging there can be some weird stuff especially when importing existing rigs into Blender from fbx made in Max or Maya, but a lot of indies do everything in Blender.

Thank you PS7! Hopefully I will hear from Autodesk shortly. If they tell me “cannot do that” with respect to upgrading student assets to distributable version, your answer will guide my course.

Well, I did get some answers over at Autodesk forums and to summarize:

There has never been a clear YES or NO answer from autodesk on the legalities of “upgrading” assets created in a student licensed version of Maya to a pro licensed version. To quote Mark.Lancaster whose response I accepted as a “solution”

In the past anything created with a free student license had to be recreated again from scratch in a
commercial license so the database of the file was correct. However some have claimed since
Autodesk has removed the watermark that you can take data created from these versions
and use them in a commercial license without issue. However there’s terminology still lingering
around in the end user license agreement that disputes that or could be interpreted
you still have to recreate the information from scratch. Anyhow we are only users here and have
no legal answer for you. But when it comes to the free educational software and the
data that was created from it…Always error on the caution side and redo it from scratch in your
commercial license

So basically, I have two choices: 1. use Blender and deal with the export issues; 2. use Maya and recreate any assets I make with student license once I get pro license . . .

Still undecided to be honest.

As a Maya user, my advice is RUN TO BLENDER. Maya and the rest of all Autodesk products are moving towards a very expensive and ugly license sytem that will break everything very soon. People is leaving, and Blender will increase popularity in the upcoming years. It’s free, it’s all-in-one, it is full of possibilities and everything that is researched is implemented in less than a month.

And by the way, Autodesk, after closing Stingray engine after two years, decided to improve connections with Unity. So as a UE user… it would be great to move to something different like Blender or any other.

Thanks darkgaze!

Downloading Blender 2.7.9 Now!

So another response from an Autodesk rep to my query at their forums about “Upgrading from Student to Pro”

When transitioning from student to commercial version you will reactivate to change the license information first.

Then, when using files created in a student version they need to be saved in the commercial version. You would
save your files in the commercial version & save source files linked in the commercial version as well. Otherwise
you will receive a warning at some point indicating that a student version was used.
. . .
Natasha Laureiro
Community & Social Media Support Specialist

Glad I asked about this at this early stage of beginning to learn graphics production, as I now I have a clear set of constraints to guide how to go forward.

  1. Use student Maya, import assets to UE4 without issue, and upgrade my subscription and my assets when I am nearing “ready for prime time” status.

  2. Use Blender and deal with the file reformatting issues.

I also want to fill in a bit more information regarding the more general question about which software to learn. I’ve seen this question so many times, in fact, I have also asked this question previously in my own “learning phase”.

So, if we consider the licensing issues to be nonexistent, and just try to compare the different solutions that are out there (3DsMax, Maya, Blender, ZBrush, MODO, Cinema4d, Houdini). You will soon find out that hey, they can all pretty much do most of everything. Of course, some are better at certain things than the others, but in the end, it all comes down to small preferences to be honest.

So here is my tip for you, if you have the opportunity to use both Maya and Blender, do it. You will find that your understanding of how to do things will increase by a large amount. You can obviously keep one of the softwares as your main program, but constantly try to learn new things in the other. Why is this important then? Well, I’ve learnt that sticking to one of the softwares can also make you get stuck in old habits, never really trying to improve workflow, how to tackle problems in a different way and so on. Also, finding tutorials for one software for every single thing you want to make can be really difficult, so being able to switch between programs can be a lifesaver sometimes.

Secondly, if you want to continue working with 3D, maybe at a studio with a couple of employees, or even at a really big company, having a wider range of programs at your disposal is a huge advantage. This will have given you more insights into the world of 3D and will definitely make you stand out. And hey you just doubled the amount of jobs you can apply for :smiley:

Lastly, saying that Autodesk is going to go under in the near future is, according to me, very naive and is not at all correct. The bigger companies are still and will continue to use Autodesk products in the future. Why? Because they are by far the most “complete” line of products and have cross-functionality like no other. I would still consider Maya and 3DsMax to be superior to Blender, and to add on top of that being able to use Autodesks other programs, such as Alias, VRed, MotionBuilder, is something you really cant find with other companies.

TL;DR Use whatever program will work out for you according to the licensing issues, but alway consider to have at least one secondary program that you learn new things in. Believe me, it really helps.
Cheers!

Thank you Nofyt!