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Maya to Blender 2.8 learning curve. How steep is it ?

polycounter lvl 6
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GlowingPotato polycounter lvl 6
Hi guys,
I started learning Maya 8 years ago, self taught.

I began my career working at publicity agencies doing renders for cosmetics using mental ray (PITA).
Today I'm in the game industry (4 years now) as a generalist, doing almost everything (modeling, rigging, animating (poorly), texturing).
I'm very familiar with Maya features, bugs, workarounds and tools. But zero knowledge about Blender.

I would like to know from others who migrated to Blender, how hard is it? How good or bad are the common tools for rigging and modeling (compared to Maya)?
It takes years to master software like Maya. I'am afraid to invest the necessary time in Blender, don't know if it will pay off.

Can you guys, who made the swap, share a little bit on how was it? Where/how should I start learning again ?



  • Andreicus
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    Andreicus polycounter lvl 3
    Theory, tools and workflows are more or less the same for every software. Modeling is still modeling, animation is still animation, artistic and technical theory is always the same.
    I have been using Maya for over 5 years and i'm currently trying out Blender 2.8 but in these years i also tryed basically all the softwares out there: Cinema 4D, Modo, Houdini even Lightwave.

    Only 3 things were changing in every software: interface, hotkeys and quality of the tools but after a couple of weeks you are already good to go with the new software if you know what you are doing as an artist and you have mastered your first main software.

    Now for Blender i can say that compared to Maya it lacks in the UVs department ( Unfold in Maya is very very good and fast ), maybe animation ( i'm not an animator ) and the gizmo is weird.
    But it has some features that Maya doesn't have like Dyntopo for sculpting ( like Sculptris Pro in Zbrush ), modifiers stack like 3ds max, no problems with history and so on.

    You can also get tons of plugins for Blender that add advanced features for a maximum of 40 € for each one.
    Ex. Dyntopo Plus is around 10 € and it adds masks functionality to sculpting so you can do a mesh extract based on the masks like in ZBrush.
    There is also DecalMachine and other booleans plugin.

    In Blender 2.8 the devs have added an industry standard keymap that is similar to Maya for general workflow and modeling and Zbrush for sculpting. You can find it in the preferences menu.

    Anyway the best solution is to download it and try it out to see if you like it or not.
  • TheGabmeister
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    TheGabmeister greentooth
    Haven't tested Blender 2.8 but will try it out once the stable version is released later this month. I use Maya and Blender 2.79 at work, but mostly Blender due to personal preferences.

    Andrea's comments above are spot on. One thing I'd like to add is that you don't necessarily need to "migrate" to another software. You can use Blender as another tool on your arsenal and keep Maya as your primary modeling app.

    In my case, I started with Blender around 3 years ago. A year later, I began studying Max, Maya, and Modo just to see how they did things differently. What's interesting is that I ended up copying some shortcuts from Max and Maya and transferring them to Blender. I think it's a great way to discover different workflows by learning different apps.
  • Poly_Nut
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    Poly_Nut triangle
    I switch a few month ago from 3ds max and all i can tell you is that it took me around 3 month to be back up to speed with every aspect of my production need in game development.

    Modeling is second to none in Blender and i thought 3ds max was fast but Blender coupled with a 3d mouse+ wacom and the paid addon pie menu editor make it a very elegant and fast modeling solution.

    I don't know if Maya have spline like in 3ds max but in Blender they are very weak compared to max spline tools but a guy is making an addon that add these functionalities it's call bsmax and it is bringing lot of 3ds max features like standard primitives, spline tools, align tool, mirror tool, quad menu and many others. He also made a keymap specially for maya so maybe it's will be worth for you.

    Particle system are also weak in Blender but they still can be use efficiently with a few workaround, the one thing i really like is the stability while modeling, doing the same kind of work in max crash often and in Blender i can work hours without a single crash. I did test with the most recent version of max and 10 min in i ctd.

    The addons are amazing for Blender free and paid one, if you are using UE4 and want to keep your sanity for import/export animation pipeline then grab auto-rig pro. Like to customize the UI and bend it completely to your needs then get pie menu editor and if you miss geometry painting like in 3ds max get asset sketcher.
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