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Max vs Maya - which to learn?

Poll Results: Which to learn?

 
  • 33% (4)
    3DS Max
  • 41% (5)
    Maya
  • 25% (3)
    Both are equally good choices
  • 0% (0)
    Another program (blender?)
12 Total Votes  
post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi. I'm in a huge dilemma - I have the option to learn one of those two major modelling/animation suites.

Which one should I go for?

I have some background with 3D with very old age applications, and also minor experience with Max (curiosity driven self-learning which got me nowhere ).

AFAIK Maya is more movie-effects oriented, 3DM is more game oriented.
But is there a big difference or just optimizations?.. I really don't know anything, so an advice will be very welcome.
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post #2 of 15
hey i am a student studying digital design so we use both of these. i'm only going to be a junior in college so i haven't exactly delved too much into it. this upcoming year will hold a lot more projects. ANYWAY...what i do understand from my teachers is that Maya is a good real world application and for employers looking, Maya looks better. Maya will help with animation of characters a whole lot, character rigging is way better and animation is way smoother for most things. I used Autodesk Mudbox to create a character and that was a great experience, i'm looking forward to using that more. it really depends on what you are going to be using it for. i'd love more information if you could give me some. good luck!
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post #3 of 15
Well it really depends on what you want to learn. I am strong in 3DS max and enjoy it. At my college they do offer a game design program which one instructor that I have for 3DS Max had mentioned to me that max is geared for archetuctial designs and Maya is for animations and is the main choice with companies. However, this is also a question of how much cash you have. Because both max and mayday are close to 3500. Also the big *** is that autodesk owns both Maya and max! Blender is flat right awesome, especially it being a free platform and does allow programming for animation. The overall question is if you plan to really get big with this then you need to learn the basics and if you know that then they all will come in time, you will just have to learn the interface.
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post #4 of 15
Both can be had for free for students under Autodesk's student licensing. But about animation. Is Maya really better? Max 2012's CAT is actually pretty decent for rigging and animation from what I can tell, though I'm not much of an animator.
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post #5 of 15
I teach Maya at the university level and I originally started with Max version 5 many years ago. What I found between using both Max and Maya is that hotkey wise, Maya is easier to pick up while Max (for me) seemed unconventional in the approach. They both have great tools, but each is different in how they can model things. I am personally a very structured person and I found Maya to fit more my taste. All I can say is try out the student versions of each software and crack open a beginner tutorial to try them out.

Personally I use Maya because of the rendering solution known as Illuminate Labs (now Autodesk) Turtle which is now found (finally!) in the Premium 2012 package. I do a lot of baking and it is a nice tool.

Honestly, try both or, watch some free video tutorials on youtube of someone going through the work flow to see if you can adjust to each.

The only piece of advise I can give is this: while each 3d modeling software you use will still give you polygons/surfaces/nurbs and nice renders, the methods in which they do each of those will vary. The end result will be the same.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I'll try to frequent this thread.

And just for the record, I teach game asset creation and have worked for a company that specialized in doing realtime urban 3D modeling and I used Maya and another piece of software. To say each is more tailored for a specific task isn't correct.
Edited by NITRO1250 - 8/8/11 at 7:31am
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post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NITRO1250 View Post
I teach Maya at the university level and I originally started with Max version 5 many years ago. What I found between using both Max and Maya is that hotkey wise, Maya is easier to pick up while Max (for me) seemed unconventional in the approach. They both have great tools, but each is different in how they can model things. I am personally a very structured person and I found Maya to fit more my taste. All I can say is try out the student versions of each software and crack open a beginner tutorial to try them out.

Personally I use Maya because of the rendering solution known as Illuminate Labs (now Autodesk) Turtle which is now found (finally!) in the Premium 2012 package. I do a lot of baking and it is a nice tool.

Honestly, try both or, watch some free video tutorials on youtube of someone going through the work flow to see if you can adjust to each.

The only piece of advise I can give is this: while each 3d modeling software you use will still give you polygons/surfaces/nurbs and nice renders, the methods in which they do each of those will vary. The end result will be the same.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I'll try to frequent this thread.

And just for the record, I teach game asset creation and have worked for a company that specialized in doing realtime urban 3D modeling and I used Maya and another piece of software. To say each is more tailored for a specific task isn't correct.
Thank you for a very useful post!
I started with the Maya tutorials already. I think I also prefer Maya so far (i've done a little 3DS Max), because of the way its structured.

What I don't know is - what is the difference between the rendering solutions? You mentioned Turtle? Is that an alternative to mental ray, or I got something wrong?
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post #7 of 15
Turtle is more for texture baking, thus for realtime. It does lightmaps, surface transfers, etc very efficiently and far more superior than Mental Ray's rendering solution for doing Ambient Occlusion. The results are very noticeable. Been using it for a few years now.

If you are doing anything with surface transferring or ambient occlusion for game characters or high detail objects, it is in your best interest to do it in an external tool, such as Mudbox as you are sculpting the surface. Saves time in the pipeline. Mudbox is great because you can easily swap between Maya and Mudbox in 2012. Just something to think about for the future when you get more skill behind you.

I don't do much rendering for graphics but Mental Ray is very efficient when doing IBL (Image Based Lighting) using HDR skydomes. I love the features.

If you have any questions on Maya, I'd be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
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post #8 of 15
Really both are similar, the interface is different but they can accomplish the same goals and projects. I use autodesk maya and love it but you can't go wrong either way. Plus I expect that one day autodesk will merge those two programs together and make a single program.
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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fenderlove0` View Post
Really both are similar, the interface is different but they can accomplish the same goals and projects. I use autodesk maya and love it but you can't go wrong either way. Plus I expect that one day autodesk will merge those two programs together and make a single program.
Nah, I don't think so. Max vs Maya is a very profitable business model
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post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by fenderlove0` View Post
Really both are similar, the interface is different but they can accomplish the same goals and projects. I use autodesk maya and love it but you can't go wrong either way. Plus I expect that one day autodesk will merge those two programs together and make a single program.
A long time ago for like Max 4 or 5, there was an interface mod that would convert it to Maya along with all the hotkeys. It wouldn't surprise me if such a thing might exist someday for people wanting to use both pieces of software without having the pain of keeping track of multiple sets of keyboard shortcuts. I'd certainly love to see it happen

To add, even with today's job market, it might be a good idea to learn one piece of software to do a specific task and then learn the other. I'm in a different situation personally where it wouldn't really benefit me to learn Max right now, but I'm ambitious enough to pick it up again.

I will also add one thing tho: when I originally started with Max at age 17 (that was when I could afford to build my first computer that could actually run Max 5), it was so different that my brain couldn't really comprehend or make sense of the interface and navigation. Even the mouse controls were funky. I ended up getting frustrated a lot and would give up for a month before trying to learn again. Each time I tried, it didn't really get any better. It wasn't until I was 19 and in a media arts program that I had my first taste of Maya. Guess what? The controls were super easy to pick up and I immediately fell in love with it. From then on, I have used other pieces of software of varying complexity including the dreaded Presagis Creator that took like 4x longer to do something that Maya could do. Long story on that software.

My point is, I easily got frustrated with Max which set me back a bit on actually doing things in 3D. For 2 years prior to that, I read every book on Max in my local library to learn as much as I could before trying to work with it. Unfortunately, the hotkeys and mouse controls threw me off considerably. I just wish I would have started with Maya. I guess I got suckered into the whole "Autodesk" scene instead of looking at Alias (the original maker of Maya).

A few things I will say that I miss with Max since using Maya are:
-Modifiers panel (I miss that...)
-Lack of cool plugins and "max" scripts. Yes, there are nice Mel scripts, but there are a few that I really miss like the Russian Milkyway plugin that creates stars. There are a few others but I can't remember.
-I guess Brazil Render plugin. I don't know if that is still "cool" today as even mentioning that plugin might date me a bit.

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask. Picking a starting software is always difficult, but the thing to remember is to learn the names for things, learn a specific skill (eg, low poly modeling, UV or UVW texturing) and once mastered, then pick up another piece of software.
Edited by NITRO1250 - 8/9/11 at 8:36am
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