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Maya = Modeling?

Hey guys, this past Christmas my cousin picked me up a gnomon workshop dvd for character modeling. I'm super grateful and can't wait to start in on it in the next day or so. There is one problem though; The instructor on the dvd uses Maya. I use Max, but have seen this first hand: the amount of maya tutorials outnumber the Max tutorials in categories like Character modeling. Is there a specific reason for this? Is Max being phased out?

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  • CordellC
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    CordellC polycounter lvl 8
    Different sites sometimes cater to different software. Some are Maya centric while others are 3ds Max centric.

    3ds Max is the most used in game development (iirc) and Maya is generally the most used in the computer animation industry (or as the base for their own proprietary tools a la Pixar). It'll vary from company to company and some let their employees just use whatever is most comfortable. Once you learn one you can learn any, and all of them require equal amounts of artistic skill ;)

    Learn what you enjoy the most and you'll be fine. Most people here are using 3ds Max.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    3ds Max has been the most used 3d application in game studios for a while, but it's not uncommon to see studios using other applications. Maya tends to be more popular in other 3d industries.

    If you are just learning how to model, it will be very confusing how to apply Maya tools and interface to working in 3ds Max, but if you understand Max pretty well, you can apply most things from the tutorial. The work flow and available tools will be very similar between most 3d applications.
  • ExcessiveZero
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    ExcessiveZero polycounter lvl 6
    Hard to say, I think the industry is going more maya heavy, when I picked maya up last month I have started to see what's so favourable about it.

    Stuff like the proxy crease tool, the way you can keep stuff on the grid for UDK, and the viewport rendering makes me think maya can be more efficient than max, but then it seemingly lacks in a few other areas, like uvs, but I have been using uv layout lately so thats less of a concern.

    My experience with maya has been hard to get into, but now when I go back to max, I am missing more maya features then I am max in maya.
  • Cibo
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    Cibo polycounter lvl 6
    For Animation Maya is a standart but dont forget the Mel Script as a great plus. Many companys who use Maya have their own Scripts for her Pipeline.

    A negative point are the tools. In the older Versions the booleans are horrible and other tools are medicore. Sometimes its hard. But 2014, maybe, realtime Boolean intersection looks interesting. :\
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Max owns Maya in modeling tools hands down, its just more efficient I find (Maya user here, but renderable curve in Max rocks) although I've heard Maya's animation tools are superior :)
  • Sinking
    I used XSI before and it seems like Autodesk is transferring (stealing) some functionality from Softimage and putting it into Maya; basically the entire new "modeling toolkit" is part of what XSI had for years.

    I am supercomfortable with Maya, because it behaves almost like XSI and modeling is very fast. Whenever I watch a Max video I see people clicking on modifiers and browsing through menus, instead of modeling. I tried Max a few times and find it confusing when you come from any other application. I also use Mudbox, which has the same controls like Maya (or very similar ones), making it easy for me to pickup the pace. I used HeadusUV before, but find no reason to do so, because the unwrap tools in Maya work fine for me; I'm doing environments/hard surface though. Might be different with organic assets.

    Maya has the advantage of its cheap(er) LT version, while Max is still hardly affordable and cluttered with plugins I won't need. I think if you start modeling with Max and are comfortable with it, it's probably best to stay with it, but due to the similarities between XSI and Maya, I found it very easy to get into the program and have become faster than I've ever been with XSI. Personally, I think it is the greatest and easiest (professional) 3D software around, apart from Modo.

    There are lots of videos specific to the software you are using - even good, free ones. So I suggest just getting a character tutorial for the software you are using, in the future.
  • passerby
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    passerby polycounter lvl 10
    ya I find Maya great to work with, yes some tools lack a little, but its overall workflow is good, and it has a really good python interface for scripting.

    I just wish ad would give its UV tools some attention and modeling.

    in the end just don't worry about the 3d package it is the skills that matter not the software.
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    True. Modeling is modeling. If you understand how to add support geo and such, you can do it in any package. It's just a matter of learning the interface and hot keys.
  • ExcessiveZero
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    ExcessiveZero polycounter lvl 6
    WarrenM wrote: »
    True. Modeling is modeling. If you understand how to add support geo and such, you can do it in any package. It's just a matter of learning the interface and hot keys.

    yeah thats the real key, now the only mainstream package I haven't picked up is modo (if that is considered mainstream now I dunno) I am a personal advocate of cross learning software as it can give you a fundamentally deeper understanding of what you are doing and the mechanics in play.

    like I went to zbrush first and I was kind of sucky at it, went to mudbox got better at sculpting, went back to zbrush and was better at Zbrush from the bits I picked up with mudbox, these fundamentals can be learned on anything really, its all the same in theory.
  • Popeye9
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    Popeye9 polycounter lvl 13
    WarrenM wrote: »
    True. Modeling is modeling. If you understand how to add support geo and such, you can do it in any package. It's just a matter of learning the interface and hot keys.

    So true! Wish more people would adopt this attitude:)
  • Cibo
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    Cibo polycounter lvl 6
    You can do it in every package thats true, but sometimes Max offers a shortcut.
    When you look some Max tuts and use this workflow in maya you can become desperate.
  • Laughing_Bun
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    Laughing_Bun polycounter lvl 14
    I think the whole "modeling is modeling" mentality is pretty annoying and naive. Everything you do on the computer is a mathematical calculation. If there are tools that allow you do that faster, with more control and flexibility, that tool IS better. Sure any modeling software allows me to push and pull points in space. But in order to create the most complex and clean shapes, that requires well crafted computer operations. I use Maya at work, but for me I feel like Max has superior modeling tools. Not a Modo user, but I feel like it speaks really strongly to my point. Yes great work can be done with different tools, But the tools Absolutely 100% mattter.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    If one tool was substantially better and faster in all situations, I could see that argument. But some people say they work faster in Maya, others say they work faster in 3ds Max, some use Modo. Or a studio/person might have tools and plug ins so Maya might be faster for their needs. All these 3d programs are very flexible. To a lot of people they are just tools, they will change, and they sometimes will be better at some things, I feel the best approach is knowing many tools. The fundamentals of modeling will always be the same, but some tools are more efficient. I wouldn't say it matters if you use Max or Maya, but if you are completely comfortable with one, why not try the other.
  • Laughing_Bun
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    Laughing_Bun polycounter lvl 14
    I completely agree. My main point is that debates about tools like this aren't frivolous. It's actually a very important aspect of what we do.
  • Jonas Ronnegard
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    Jonas Ronnegard Polycount Sponsor
    Having used both softwares for many years for both personal and professional use I'd say that 3dsmax wins in modeling, maya is better out of the box with better basic shortcuts and movement controls, and a working snap tool. after setting up hot keys and perfecting your workflow 3dsmax is a beast, and it's hard to not find a really fast way of doing something that seems complicated.

    everything that involves uv layout i would say Maya wins, a lot because of uvw being stuck as a modifier, It's like going to heaven switching over to the constant uv window of Maya, and yes i do use textools.

    also many do say that 3dsmax has better uv unwrap tools, but even after many years I can't make 3dsmax be as predictable as Maya, In Maya I would be able to unwrap every piece of a mesh with unfold and knowing i would get a perfect result before pushing the button, with 3dsmax it still feels like a bit of a gamble.

    Can't really say that much about animation, but some of the place I have worked for have been using Maya for animation even though the main software being used for 3D has been 3dsmax, so I guess that has to mean something.

    be aware that I currently use 3dsmax as my main software for professional use at the moment, so I might have missed stuff from newer Maya versions or just forgot stuff I loved or hated about it.
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    I completely agree. My main point is that debates about tools like this aren't frivolous. It's actually a very important aspect of what we do.
    I agree they aren't frivolous BUT context is required to make a decision that's worthwhile or above arbitrary. For example, is there a script available that makes your specific art pipeline easier in Maya over Max? Then use Maya. Or a Seneca script that makes Modo a better choice for you because you really need it and Max/Maya don't have an equivalent? Then use Modo.

    If all things are equal then I stand by my "modeling is modeling" comment.
  • Brygelsmack
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    Brygelsmack polycounter lvl 8
    I don't know any studios in Sweden using Max, there are probably a few but most seem to use Maya. It might be a result of educations choosing to teach Maya these days.
  • DEElekgolo
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    DEElekgolo interpolator
    you mean you guys dont write objs in notepad
  • sadaharu
    It's a fact that 3DS has a more developed and robust modeling tools but for some reason i simply can't get my head around it.
    Maya 2014 and up with modeling toolkit really jumped a leap in modeling. It doesn't have anything ground breaking in there but the way you can utilize it in practice once you really learn all it's shift+crtl+left/middle/right click and assign some custom shortcuts, modeling workflow gets really really great! The best, in my opinion and i tried C4D, 3ds, and Modo.

    It seems that Maya has nice future in modeling, when compared to previous versions.
    That one guy on last Maya Expert Challenge said Maya now finally has it's own separate modeling team, before such team wasn't there! ...and that is way we see a lots of additions and improvements on modeling in Maya 2014.
    It cool their approach to it and how he said they are working on resolving all the issues in existing tools and integrating NEX as much as possible before moving on, as he said: "new shiny things"!

    Bottom line is...i'm looking forward to it that's for sure! :)
  • Mambo4
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    Mambo4 polycounter lvl 6
    I'm a tech artist who started in Maya and moved to Max.
    Out of the box modeling tools may be slightly better in Max, but when you are manipulating models with scripting , Max is revealed to be a kludgey mash up of legacy functionality. Maya is so much cleaner under the hood. Plus any significantly useful modeling tool can generally be found online as a mel script.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    DEElekgolo wrote: »
    you mean you guys dont write objs in notepad

    I once read a story about a japanese man that created a few 3d scenes vertex by vertex, basically just writing an obj from scratch. I can't find it though.
  • thepapercut
    Sorry for the delayed reply (Been fighting the flu these last few days). Thank you to everyone who replied; it's good to hear max isn't being phased out. I've been using max for about 2 years now, so I'm comfortable with all the tools and such. At this point I'm just mainly looking to establish a strong and proper workflow to building characters correctly (something this DVD looks to cover). It was though a lingering thought if it was time to learn a new program, but it seems for now I'm just going to push ahead with learning proper from and function of character modeling over learning maya. Big thanks to everyone who responded!
  • CordellC
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    CordellC polycounter lvl 8
    In that case, your time will definitely best be spent learning Zbrush or a similar sculpting application than a different modeling package.
  • ahtiandr
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    ahtiandr polycounter lvl 10
    If you want to be good at characters then the most important is anatomy. Max or maya does not matter that much. I used max many years then I was forced to learn maya at uni and the I got my first job and had to learn modo. It was painful to learn new software at start but after some time you will get it. However I am still strugling with anatomy and it slows me down.
  • passerby
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    passerby polycounter lvl 10
    meh who needs a 3d package, i got notepad

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    now thats a bitching cube, that took way to long to make.
  • thepapercut
    CordellC wrote: »
    In that case, your time will definitely best be spent learning Zbrush or a similar sculpting application than a different modeling package.
    Actually I'm planning on starting on Learning Zbrush before going back to university at the end of the month. Any tutorials you recommend?

    @ahtiandr: Thanks for your input and insight! Learning anatomy is one of my highest priorities.
    @passerby: That's a sexy cube.
  • Gazu
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    Gazu polycounter lvl 8
    Im modeling with Maya too because in my starting time as an 3D Artist it feeled more comfortable for me then max. I get a better workflow with Maya but suryl this varies from person to person.

    I got a question for these guys who are working in the industry:
    Can i use Maya, when a company uses max? ^^
    I mean, i could model the whole Mesh in Maya and then Import it at the end via FBX to Max.
    Where is the main problem? The Licence? Would it be possible to work on the Home Computer where Maya is licenced?

    I really dont want to switch from maya to max because i want to get better in maya and this would be just like a new start in 3D Modeling...the only difference is that i know what faces, vertices and edges are ;)

    But where is the Edge Loop tool. The Merge Vertices Tool. The Collapse Tool. This different Shortcuts aso...aso...

    Gazu
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    The main problem in that scenario is that the source art is now stored in various formats making it a guessing game when someone wants to access the original model. "Is that Maya? Crap. OK, let me install it, hang on..." And that's assuming you have floating licenses available. If not, they have to go to someone else's machine and get THEM to open it for them and ...ugh. :)

    It's easier if everyone uses the same program. That way scripts and knowledge can be shared and sending people files is easy.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Yep, in my experience usually the studio forces the same software on the majority of the art team.

    Some (rare) studios will allow the Leads to change the pipeline as needed. But most studios have invested time and money building a pipeline of tools for a particular set of software, and thus will be reluctant to change. Change still happens, just at a slower pace.

    Even in strict pipelines, certain artists will still use specific software, e.g. Concept Artists using Sketchup for quick modeling.

    Like mentioned above, best to learn multiple packages.

    It's hard to make generalizations about what software is best at what, or the most popular, but we've made a stab at it here:
    http://wiki.polycount.net/CategoryTools#Popularity
  • Bellsey
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    Bellsey polycounter lvl 5
    If you're talking about Maya and Max specifically, both have been used very extensively in games over the last 15+ years.
    So, I think people should avoid getting too hung up on which package is the most popular and widely used in games. Unless anyone has a complete picture of the industry, it's hard to make such a sweeping statement.
    Also, there are many factors, such as geographic location, education, user base and culture, to take into consideration.

    I'd only echo what others have already said, in that be prepared to adapt and learn a new package if you have to. No doubt, there are probably some studios who do allow a more open choice of software that their artists can use, personally I rarely see this.
  • sadaharu
    Beside new updates and additions to modeling tools I would really like for NURBS to also get more attention!
    It has been a while since some real updates on making surfaces in Maya. It would so great if those are more reliable and robust. No need for "Alias" type of complexity, but I guess Maya wouldn't mind more love in that section.
    I wonder what happened to T-splines that once was available as plugin in Maya and yet now when Autodesk acquired them it's only for Rhino! That would be so nice addition to Maya surface toolset.
  • Pegbird
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    Pegbird polycounter lvl 5
    Try them both and go with whichever one "clicks" with you the most. There are plenty of learning resources for both of them and they are both widely-used in the industry.
  • BradleyWascher
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    BradleyWascher polycounter lvl 10
    ^^Agreed. I learned 3ds max first and used it at my first two jobs. I loved 3ds max and had to switch to Maya. At first I though it was no good, but really 90% of it is preference and I got into the swing of things rather quickly and now prefer somethings inside of Maya (like the camera controls) over 3ds max.
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