If you had to choose...[3DS Max or Maya?]

Would you go with 3DS Max or Maya?

I’m considering (finally) purchasing one or the other, both bits of software are horrendously overpriced but they are the ‘industry standard’ so-to-speak, and the flexibility and availability of plug-ins, tutorials and support for both bits of software is more than I’ll get from most freeware packages. I also can’t handle Blender’s UI :wink:

I’m much happier modelling both in high and low poly in Max, though I find it’s optimization tools and unwrapping tools to be pretty basic. I’m using 2010 right now, but also have a copy of Maya 2012. The interface is pretty daunting, but i quite like the Fluid Simulation system they have too. I’ve also been told it’s much better for UV-Mapping, but haven’t got that far into a project yet (I’m still terrible at it, it’s my most hated task).

So, thoughts from experiened members on each side of the bench pls? Bear in mind my primary use is aimed for Unreal.

I would go with Maya. Since you already have 2012 you can probably work our some sort of discounted upgrade path to make the upgrade less painful. That or go with Maya LT (no python scripts though). I’m not a fan of 3DS Max. I find Maya significantly easier to use. Both will work fine for game development and with UE4, but a lot of studios use Maya as their primary tool.

There is no such thing as easy UV mapping really. Stick with Max if you are already familiar with it instead of spending time on getting used to Maya. Both are capable of doing the same things one way or the other.

I would also recommend you to use 3ds max, because somehow in my opinion it is much easier to use than maya :wink:

If you already master 3ds max, then there is nothing wrong in learning Maya. The important is to master at least one modeling/animation program.
Personally I prefer 3ds max.

I’ve used maya for a few years but have been using max at work for about a year, they are both very powerfull however if we are talking about price point only then I believe that the new Maya LT might be a good choice. Please don’t take my word for it but I remember seeing monthly, 6 monthly and yearly payment options which seemed very competitive.

I guess it comes down to your budget and what exactly you would like to use it for, if its indie dev on a budget then maya LT would be my choice.

You shouldn’t switch just because you were told UV-mapping is better in Maya. The lastest 3DS Max has everything you need for UVs.
I personally find the interface in Maya confusing, in few words 3ds Max you can finnish something faster.

Not to make things more complicated, but for UV-mapping, the latest version of UV Master in ZBrush is quite efficient now, and probably faster than both. However, if you’re not using ZBrush, please disregard. :o

Per the Max vs Maya debate, I’d recommend staying with Max if price isn’t an issue. Maya does have the Epic Character Rig Creator plug-in, which is a big plus for rigging/skinning/animation, but I find modeling easier in Max. In a perfect world, both!


I would recommend 3ds Max but that’s only because I’ve been using it since Max 3 so it’s more of a Dodge versus Ford thing with me but with the benefit of hindsight there has always been this “the grass is greener” battle going on with the two over the years as part of the ongoing Brand Wars.

Since both are free to try before you buy just install both and try each in turn for a couple of hours and see which of the two your most comfortable with.

Generally when I’m testing out a new app the first thing I do is to see how quickly I can get a handle on some of the basic functionality as to how I expect it to work.

In ether case between the two if it’s a selection being made as to usability with UE4 as to which is preferred as to making a choice then the problem is with UE4 and not which app choice to make.

3DS max is my preferred choice. Though I started with it so my opinion may be bias. :slight_smile:

What ever people start with is what the preferred choice will be, so recommending either software is a false way to go about things. Both are pretty much the same thing in terms of quality. Use one then stick with it. Eventually you will like using it.

I’ve been a max user since 2006, when i first got an educational version of Max 8, am currently on a student liscense of max 2012, which expires in July, so I too need to upgrade/switch programs, and since Autodesk does not allow the student versions of it’s software to be used for anything like game asset creation, I have no choice but to switch.

Personally, i’ve found modelling in max pretty easy to do, but from what i’ve heard, rigging and animating in Maya is easier with HumanIK for biped characters (unless you can get your hands on Motionbuilder, in which chase, you do all your animation in that), though i’m not really much of an animator (last time i did anything with a rig, it was a long time ago in collage, and was pretty crappy). The ONLY two things max has over maya is the CAT rigging system (which has full support for custom rigs and non-bipedal characters) and it’s material editor. I’ve always hated Maya’s Material editor, i don’t know why, i just never liked the look of it.

If pricing is an issue, then your only option (if you want to avoid the nightmare that is blender), is Maya LT, it’s about 1/4 the price of full maya, and is more specifically geared towards game devs (no simulation stuff, renderer or plugin support), the 2015 release will add in Mel scripting support and fix a few things they broke in 2014, and hopefully they’ll add python support in either an extension or the 2016 release (which should contain anything that was added in a 2015 extension). Hopefully they’ll also ad a “Send to Unreal” feature, like 2015’s “Send to Unity”, which allows for unlimited poly count FBX export directly into Unity projects, though i suppose there would be nothing stopping you from then just copying those FBX files into Unreal.

I would recommend AVOIDING the Rental License plans (the monthly, 3-monthly and yearly payment plans), as they will be more expensive in the long run (especially if you don’t go with Maya LT, full maya and Max are $200 a month for the basic rental plan), and if you stop paying them, You will LOSE access to the software, whereas, if you just pay for a yearly subscription, it’ll cost you less to stay up to date, and if you don’t renew it, you still get to keep the software at what ever version you’re at when the sub ends.

Be advised, that on February the 5th next year (or is it the 1st?) Autodesk will STOP providing Upgrade plans, so your only option then if you have a prior version and want to upgrade will be either get a full license plus subscription, or go the rental route.

Of course, if you’re on perpectual licenses for either software, then there is always the free FBX converter provided by Autodesk, and the latest FBX update for Maya 2012 should bring it up-to-date enough for it to work seamlessly with Unreal.

For anyone interested in Maya LT consider registering and voting for the “Send to Unreal” feature as they are likely to pick the ideas with the highest number of votes. I haven’t purchased Maya LT yet but am planning to soon. Voting is at

Roadkill is a great tool for UV mapping, it works with Max and Maya, and its free.

Does the Max script work in 2014 3ds max Shane?

and on the Maya LT front, they’re releasing a steam version next week (it’s going to use the 50$/month rental plan however), but they’re apparently upping the FBX poly limit to 135k, and integrating steam workshop support.

Yes it does.

I just love “marking menus” in Maya. Love working in full screen viewport and only remembering a dozen shortcuts(half of dozen if you exclude the modifiers and viewport controls).

Thanks guys, I should add that I’m primarily a VFX Artist.

I guess if I had to choose, I’d really want both. Maya for it’s fluid sims and rigging/animation, and max for it’s ease of modelling. Sigh. Guess I’ll have to choose one way or the other!

I’ve always used Maya, from a VFX artist background. Its a love-hate relationship.

If you want a good unwrapping solution, try headus UVLayout.