I'm starting an indie project and I'm thinking about leveraging Blender in place of Maya. I'd be using it to model assets, animate characters, render concepts, and export into Unreal.
I have close to 20 years of experience with Maya, but Blender's come a long way. Has anyone used it in their pipeline? What issues have you run into? Where does it shine?
Ok, so I'm openly a Blender-nut but if you have 20 years on Maya, why change? Assuming your experience with it has been at least a reasonably pleasant one you'll be in a world of hurt changing from one 3D app to another while trying to do all of that.
Blender has a performance issue with more complex scenes: many polys and/or many objects, that's about the only problem with it I can think of. Apart from that it's just rather non-standard in how its laid out and the basic usability, coming from Maya. I figure it will take a lot of getting used to, of time spent re-configuring, looking for the right addon - perhaps writing your own, composing angry forum posts complaining that feature X does not exactly behave like the one you know and so on.
20 years in another program is a lot of muscle memory to fight against.
Agreed with thomasp, if I may add, those performance issues come especially while being in edit mode.(actively editing vertices,edges,polys) Sculpt mode and object mode can handle heaps more data.
Another pain point compared to other programs is the Texture Baking, bake from high to lowpoly inside Blender when baking onto a 4k texture or 8k texture. But I generally try to use other programs for Texture painting/baking.
On the + side, loading in large files with obj into Blender is multithreaded and really quick.
If time allows, it might be advisable to slowly transition for aspects where your used Maya version might be lacking or you want to use a cool feature from Blender.
It´s of course better to think of any new tool in your pipeline as a completely new program and not fighting it at every shortcut/workflow...
Once you Link your Github account with your Epic Games account, you can download the official BlenderTools addon from Epic Games, which is regularly updated.
That official addon allows a one click solution for sending assets from Blender to Unreal.
It also offers a retargeting system for Rigify.
Blender works well for environment assets in my experience: Stable, divers toolset for blockouts, pbr preview and modifier stack. I use an addon for batch exporting. It's true that the performance dips when scenes get heavy. In that case splitting scenes and using file linking often helps.
Didn't create skeletal meshes for UE often, but when I did, I found the process to be more smooth with Maya, particularly when working with the unreal skeleton. Seems it was created with Maya in mind, so bone orientations are different in Blender, making it inconvenient to work with the skeleton directly.
I'm currently using blender to do some animation for Unreal 5. I normally use Maya and have experience animating with 3dsmax and motion builder.
here's an example of some blender created animations:
It works pretty well. I'm using the auto-rig pro addon and I've found it pretty easy. There's also lots of tutorials to explain how to do things if you need to learn something new. Blender has all the features I'd expect for a full production animation pipeline.
I didn't know about the official unreal tools mentioned above - they look pretty good too.
I used max and maya for 20 years and moved over to blender. suits me fine and there is nothng I feel that
I could do easier in either max or maya
I had a couple of years of max behind me, made the change to blender 1 year ago. No regrets =). I still miss how some modifiers work in 3ds max over Blender, but thats just about it. Blenders Bend (simple deforms) tools are terrible.
simple deform works fine, just use an empty for the Axis,origin
Hi :) Blender and Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) can work very well together. Blender is a powerful 3D modeling software that can be used to create assets for UE5. UE5, on the other hand, is a solid game engine capable of handling complex scenes and animations. There are several ways to import Blender assets into UE5. One common method is to use the FBX file format, which is a widely supported format for 3D models. UE5 also supports direct import of Blender files via the Datasmith plugin.
I'm adding tutorials to help you learn how to use Blender and UE5 effectively.