UE4 Strengths w/ Maya 2014 Vs Blender 2.70a

Hello… From the start I want to make it clear that I do not intend for this to be another “which program is better” post. What I’m hoping to hear in this topic is the specific strengths each program has when working with UE4. Because I’m an amateur artist (I only know the basics I had to get by in the past, mostly working with pre-made models) but now have my hands on a copy of Maya 2014, and obviously Blender is free so I have that too. I’m currently preparing to study and take notes developing a pipeline in to UE4, so I’m hoping to mix the strengths of each program together as optimally as possible.

Obviously UE4 has the ART tools, I’m guessing that will make Maya superior to Blender for rigging/animation?

From what I hear, Blender has a better modeler package. I also seen some people saying the Blender material system is more similar to UE4’s material system… Is this true?

Aside from that, I’m not too familiar with the specific differences of each program. So I would appreciate it if anyone could share what they feel is the best strengths of each of the programs when working with UE4, so I know the specific features of each program I need to spend the most time on. I’m hoping to have answers for every step of the pipeline of making a model to animating it and bringing it in to UE4, so any UE-friendly advice is welcome!

(PS - The one art program I have the most experience with, and actually love to use, is ZBrush. But that seems to be more focused on organic modeling and texturing, just mentioning that in case it could help anyone give me some better feedback)


I have both installed and kind of know how to use them, i’m not an expert though.

ART is really nice but in the end all it does is speed up your rigging/animation workflow. In blender you would have to recycle armatures (rigs) or use Rigify plugin to speed up the process. Personally i use blender because i don’t mind it, once you learn how to do it, it’s pretty fast.

Blender, in my opinion, is indeed better for polygon manipulation and since it’s based on modifiers it gives you a greater control. Maya on the other hand tends to be a bit destructive and simple tools are a bit more hidden and hard to get to. In the end you get the same resaults with both programs.

One thing you have to keep in mind about Blender vs Maya is that:
Blender is keybind focused, that means that you will have to learn a lot of them to model. This can really speed up your workflow if you learn them and are already used to keybinds.
Maya is focused on marking menus, that means you will have to left click a lot in combination to other keyboard keys or you good use drop down menus but those tend to take up a lot of space

Animation is a little tiny bit better in maya because it gives you more control over keyframes but the dope sheet editor is horrible.
Blender on the other hand has a good animation workflow, nothing great, but it works very well. Dope sheet is really good in blender :stuck_out_tongue:

As for material system in blender, is indeed similar to UE4 and maya has something like that too if you really want to connect nodes with wires :stuck_out_tongue: It’s also one of those hidden things in maya.
But it doesn’t really matter, what ever you learn to use will give you the same resaults in pretty much the same time.

The most important thing about both is that Maya like all other Autodesk software has a very good FBX exporter and it’s very well integrated with UE4. (remember to export with FBX 2013 version)
With blender, for now, you have to do some workarounds to export models and animations but since UE4 and Blender are open source i hope soon enough some one will come up with a fix of some kind.

For the processing of learning, Blender has a lot of documentation, and video tutorials for free or very small amount of money. Maya is a bit more expensive to learn but you can also find very good tutorials for free, more advanced stuff is paid for though.

Since you work with Zbrush one thing you should know about blender is that gets a bit unstable with very large polycount. Maya on the other hand does a great job on that.

It all depends on your personal preference and how you like to work.

Thanks for the response!

Okay so from that I got that Blender is better for low poly modeling, the difference in keybinds vs menus, material systems can be similar, but the rest I sorta feel reads as conflicting and a little confusing lol.

You said ART speeds up the rigging/animation workflow, but you use blender anyway and I’m not sure why. Animations slightly better in Maya but Blender has a better sheet editor… And Maya exports FBX better for better integration and you need to do a workaround to export, but you use blender anyway?

Might just be me but I’m a bit confused by that, sorry! lol

it’s basically personal preference in most cases, some people like using program x against program y, myself when i tried maya years ago i hated it, i loved Gmax (free version of max back then) now i use blender because i can’t afford max.

each program is a little different on how they do things and how they set up the ui, some say this or that is better but it comes down to the person who uses it and weather they understand the in’s and out’s of that feature.

not much help i know but its rally down to what you are comfortable with

I am a maya user for ten years and i have to see, this post is very funny.

I use blender simply because i love keybinds and prefer them over marking menus even though this cripples a bit my workflow because i have to work around a few things like FBX export. Also my maya version is on student license so i can’t use it for anything commercial.

Why is that?

Being an experienced user I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

I do not how blender work soo I cannot help many, but the hidden tools :confused:. or the keybind :confused:, maya have a lot of keybinds.
Maya shaders use nodes too and the hipershade is not hidden.

About polygon manipulation “based on modifiers” versus “destructive and simple tools” ( I love this Bio90 :p.)
It is more a personal preference, in my case I dont like modifiers, i with simple tools is more easy modeling low poly. for uvwraping you can use a maya powertools pluging.

I dont know is blender is better that maya. Well, ok, it is free this a good point of course, but the reasons posting are too generic.

So the key factor are in my opinion.
-How you feel using the camera. I dont know if blender have the same orbital camera of maya.
-if you like more “based on modifiers” or “destructive and simple tools”.
-Simplicity to export

I agree, having used both proffesionally they both have their quirks but in the end Maya wins out every time.

I have changed and added so many keybinds to maya to make it quicker (especially UV’ing), I would rather stump up the cash for Maya LT on Steam than use blender (even though it’s free)

I’ve used both Maya (as well as several other Autodesk products) and Blender extensively on a variety of projects ranging from hard-surface modeling to organic modeling.

I personally prefer Blender because unlike Autodesk, Blender is “all-inclusive”. Not only does blender support polygon modeling, but it also has an amazing sculpting system that supports dynamic tessellation/topology (something that MudBox doesn’t even have). It also has a built-in post processing compositor (so no need for stuff like Adobe After Effects). Although the compositor doesn’t really affect asset creation, it’s really helpful when making rendered art because I can do everything in a single application. Not to mention that Blender also has 3D texture painting so I can paint the UV texture directly onto the model (somewhat along the lines of Substance Painter) so I don’t even need Photoshop.

I feel that the modifiers approach makes it a lot quicker to edit stuff on the fly. Do I want to mirror an object along the X+ axis, alright, just add a mirror modifier and set it to 1.0 on the X axis. No need to do a special duplicate. Do I want to create an array of objects that follows a curve? Just add a curve to the scene, shape it the way you want, add an array modifier to the object you want, set it to “fit curve” and select your curve. If you want to save it like that permanently, just click the apply button and array modifier is now permanent.

Exporting from blender is super easy. Blender has support for plugins written in Python just like Maya (actually in Blender the entire UI is written in Python so you can change the theme or add and remove buttons with just a little basic Python coding; no need to deal with shelves). So if you need to import/export from/to a file format that isn’t supported by default, just find a plugin or write one yourself.

I’m not sure what you mean by maya’s orbital camera, but blender has support for all the basic camera functions; oribit, pan, and zoom.

Also, the fact that you can press the space bar in the viewport and type in any command makes it a lot easier than having to search through the menus for the function or tool you are looking for.

Oh and did I mention that when using reference images with Blender, you don’t have to deal with image planes the way Maya does… Blender has built-in support for “invisible” image planes that don’t show up unless you are in the image’s respective orthographic view.

I might be biased towards Blender as I enjoy the open-sourceness of the project and that fact that the Blender Foundation has produced several short films done entirely in Blender (everything from modeling, to animating, to post-processing) without using 3rd-party tools like Photoshop or After Effects. Also, during the production and after the production of these films, Blender usually gets a whole but of new features and plugins originally developed to aid in the film’s creation. Not to mention that I occasionally do “bug-hunting” on Blender. :slight_smile:

I was also an user of Maya for some time. Since I couldn’t create commercial stuff with educational version, I have switched to Blender. After I learned the key bindings, I model 70% faster than in Maya. I like it more. Soon, Blender will also support NURBS. Being used to Maya, switching to Blender was pretty hard, because I was not used with camera controls. However, I succedeed to make the Blender camera controlls work like in Maya, as well as other habbit features, such as right clicking in edit mode to open edge/face/vertex dropdown menu. When pie menus will go out in 2.72, I will enhance the experience further. For now, you can doenload the config file from here:

    Take it, load it, and get a very close Maya experience in Blender.

This tools look very well, mahri726, if some day use blender sure I will use it.