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Chances of working with 3DS Max vs Maya in the industry?

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polycounter lvl 8
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Selaznog polycounter lvl 8
Basically the title. I've been hearing from a lot of people that 3DS Max is a lot more common than Maya in the game industry.

The problem is, I absolutely cannot STAND 3DS Max.

I remember my first few days learning ZBrush, and I despised the controls. However, I learned to enjoy the program and now I'm very comfortable with it.

Learning UDK was a pain also, but I'm more comfortable in that now too.

3DS Max though...jeez. The program feels heavy, unprofessional and old. The tools are randomly placed everywhere with little to no organization, and that's what kills it for me. It's like rather than having dropdowns of categorized tools, everything is just right out there in the open, and you have to go fishing for a certain tool.

Now, I probably just feel this way because Maya has been my only 3D program before that. Then again, I still remember my first day opening Maya in high school. It was so user friendly and not intimidating at all. The menus really made sense to me, and in mere hours I was becoming a whiz at the camera controls. I was 14 then. Now I'm 20, and it's been weeks and I still haven't mustered the strength to complete any 3DS Max assignments


I know some people use Max religiously and I applaud you, because to me that is an extraordinary feat :D


But anyways, sorry for the rant. I suppose everyone gets frustrated when trying to switch to a new 3D package. I'm just bitter.



So, how many of you have worked in a studio where they use Maya?


I'm kind of beginning to worry a lot because if a company needs me to use 3DS Max, I'm screwed. I do not like the program one bit, and if my job requires me to model in it all day, then what's the point, seeing as pay for 3D artists is so shitty. It would just become another job I don't look forward to, and that defeats the purpose for me. I don't mind $10-15 an hour if I go to work doing something that I love, and it's improving my abilities.

I hope I'm just being bitter and stubborn and all this will come to pass.

Replies

  • firestarter
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    firestarter polycounter lvl 15
    You're better equipped with a grasp of both. If you're having trouble breaking barriers at 20, you may want to think of another field of work in all honesty.
  • MikeF
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    MikeF polycounter lvl 16
    cant really comment on the ratio of maya v.s max but are you really only getting jobs that pay 10-15/hr?

    pay isnt great in the industry for the most part, but damn, thats a huge lowball. Starbucks pays more around here
  • Selaznog
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    Selaznog polycounter lvl 8
    I'm still in school, so I haven't worked in 3D yet. But 10-15 is the average for junior positions, from what I hear.

    @firestarter: I'd consider another field of work, however I did spend 30k$ on school so I'd rather not do something else, or I'll feel like I wasted a lot of money. Plus, I have a passion for environment modeling and painted texturing.
  • Vio
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    Vio polycounter lvl 6
    Whatt??? Max is like the best 3d modelling software I'v ever come across. I don't see how it could be unprofessional when its been tweaked by the artists for years into the format it is now. Its a product of years of feedback from 3d modellers. Dam you should have seen it when it was new lol

    The only thing I can't defend about Max or any Autodesk is how they assume students and new talent are going to be employed as soon as they finish their education. They don't consider the gap between education and employment like for example Epic do with UDK, allowing free service until you make 60K. What really is unprofessional is how they kind of encourage piracy

    I'v personally always seen Maya as great for the animation industry while Max is great for the games industry.
  • Selaznog
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    Selaznog polycounter lvl 8
    Okay, I was a little harsh with my opinions. I realize Max is an incredible program because if it wasn't, then it wouldn't be around.

    For me though, I feel like I'm trying to make jet engine with the assistance of a borderline autistic monkey. Again though, that is simply my personal opinion.
  • firestarter
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    firestarter polycounter lvl 15
    Selaznog, you really should get to grips with Max then, as an enviro artist you are far more likely to be required to use it. Maya is slightly more advantageous for character artists on account of Mayas animation. At least that is what I have observed.

    It's not difficult, just do it.
  • Octo
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    Octo polycounter lvl 14
    I'm in the opposite situation...been using max for 12 years, and most studios here (Stockholm) use Maya, which i very much dislike when it comes to modeling/unwrapping.
    I'm starting to get used to it but it's still frustrating to use.
  • xvampire
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    xvampire polycounter lvl 12
    whatever works for you to make a good looking 3d art that hit top row. in some website.
  • confracto
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    confracto polycounter lvl 9
    I've been using 3d studio since before they added that whole 'max' thing.
    I also started using maya in ver 1, and at the time, maya was way better. since then, a lot of the neat ui things maya did have been incorporated into max, and I've really not seen much change in maya that I liked.

    then again, I use a tablet instead of a mouse for both, and I find maya to require a lot more weird mouse clicking that I find strenuous and unnecessary.

    maya's animation tools are better, but I find I really like max's stack for procedural modelling that is really lacking in maya (like symmetry). I also like maya's uv system better, tho, the default tools in both are a bit lacking.

    you should at least have some idea how to use both.
  • katana
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    katana polycounter lvl 13
    I used Maya for about 8 years, then switched to Max about 2-3 years ago for the modeling. I prefer max for that reason alone, however perhaps the biggest issue is just trying to teach your fingers to respond to pan,roll and zoom....

    beyond that, as has already been pointed out, knowing both is the best option...just push through the difficulty.
  • SurlyBird
    You have to know both Max and Maya if you want to be viable in the games industry. It's just that simple. You don't have to like Max, but I would ix-nay on the atred-hay if you apply at a studio that has invested heavily in a Max-centric pipeline. If a studio has invested many thousands of dollars in a particular application, they aren't going to change things for your benefit. They'll likely just hire the guy who doesn't have a problem using their tools.

    It's not just a money thing, either (although that's a big part of it with fixed budgets and licensing hoops that have to be negotiated). Many games have specialized tools/exporters/legacy code requiring a particular application chosen years before you arrive. Adding new tools to the pipeline shouldn't, in theory, be a big deal (hey, an .obj is an .obj, after all), but in practice, there are always things that prove troublesome.

    Everyone gravitates to software for different reasons. I used Max on one project for five years. Then used Maya on another for six. I love and hate both applications equally. Neither are Nirvana, but then no software has all the answers. I prefer Softimage/XSI, Modo, Blender and other, less known applications, but they aren't industry-standard tools, for the most part. In a perfect world, I'd get to use the tools I like, but I don't live in that world.

    If you are lucky, a studio may allow you to use a non-standard tool after you are hired, ship some things and show you are a valuable part of the team. Management may embrace the "happy cows make sweeter milk" philosophy if you can make a good case for why you work better, are more efficient, and can affect the bottom line if they'll only give you Maya or some other application. That's if you're lucky. If you're not, you just have to adapt or look for a studio that uses what you prefer.
  • blankslatejoe
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    blankslatejoe polycounter lvl 14
    Well, I don't know if this is entirely accurate, but I've seen a lot more of max on the the east coast and midwest, but a lot of guys i know from the westcoast seem to be maya based. It's not 100% mind you, but maybe there's a geographic breakdown.

    Either way, I started out on max and loved it for modeling due to its speed for organic modeling, but switched to maya and have been using it for the past 4-5 years. I would agree with most that it's a slower modeling tool, and its workflow seems to encourage worse modeling habits than Max's workflow did. I also felt like unwrapping was much faster in max.

    However the snapping and alignment tools are way more intuitive in maya, so for modular environment stuff I think I'd prefer maya. (I'm comparing to the Max of 2008 or so, mind you). I also find it the UV-editor-as-a-selection-window to be incredibly handy when it comes to complex selections...I dunno if Max ever implemented that.
  • Selaznog
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    Selaznog polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks guys, this is really good to know. Sorry for sounding so whiny. I do want to get into this industry so I will give Max another shot.

    Somewhat unrelated, but would it be wise then to have a max project as well as a maya project in my demo reel, to show that I can use both? I find it very hard to figure out the barrier between being specialized (showing consistency) and being more varied, so I can fill the spot of more studios.

    In a similar way, I was having a tough time deciding what two pieces to have on my reel. Two hand painted, or one hand painted and one realistic? If I do both hand painted, then it will show a specialization but if I do realistic too then there are more companies that can hire me.


    Obviously this demo reel for my school isn't the final one I'll ever do. I just want to make sure it's good and that I stand a chance in this competitive industry.
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Mainly a Maya user here, love it but I definitely feel the Modeling toolset in Max is stronger - graphite tools are great :)
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    Don't let new software intimidate you because, vet or junior, you'll always be learning something. Get pissed, swear, hit something, but push yourself through a project with it and you'll find it's like rolling a giant snowball down hill. Once it picks up speed...
  • Bigjohn
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    Bigjohn polycounter lvl 9
    Seems to be some studios using Modo now too. That definitely throws a wrench in the whole Max vs Maya thing.

    My attitude personally is that I know the theory, and I'll adapt to whatever the hell kind of pipeline the studio has. So far that attitude has been working for me, but I haven't had to face anything major (If I got to a studio that uses Softimage+Mudbox+Gimp instead of the regular Max+zBrush+Photoshop that would definitely throw me for a loop)
  • R3D
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    R3D greentooth
    Depends where, I was using XSI on my last project (not in games though) in Vancouver, it seems to be mostly Maya, with some Modo or Houdini on the side, theres maybe 2-5 studios here that use Max fulltime.
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 16
    I've always worked in house at places that use Maya. Not by choice, just by happenstance.

    Freelancing though I use whatever they tell me.

    I could honestly care less what softwares they use. I care more about the art then the tech at this point. Tech can be learned/taught very quickly. I've seen people get up to speed in Maya in under 2 weeks. Same could be said for Max. Understanding both is fine. But at the end of the day it's the same concepts and really about the art.

    It's like saying you only play golf with Ping clubs. Who cares? It really doesn't matter at the end of the day. Tiger Woods could play golf with a lead pipe and probably still be near the top. Have that attitude I would say.
  • PaulP
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    PaulP polycounter lvl 9
    When I was at uni I started off by learning Maya. Then for my honours project I switched to 3ds Max just because I thought it would be useful to know. Its a bit weird at first to get used to after using Maya, but after a while you realise the programs are incredibly similar. Now I can switch between Max and Maya no problem. You can always start your work pipeline in Max, and if you start to really struggle just bring it into Maya to finish it off.

    For your demo real, I'd suggest the hand painted and realistic. Then if you get an interview you can specialize your portfolio for the specific job.
  • Vio
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    Vio polycounter lvl 6
    I find there are a lot of needless differences on these programs. I kind of wish there was a hybrid that made the best of both worlds. That old trap between maya having space as maximize viewport translating to lock viewport in max it as perfect example of a pointless difference that throws a lot of the students/first timers off.
  • katana
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    katana polycounter lvl 13
    And knowing both makes learning Modo that much easier...
  • Jason Young
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    Jason Young polycounter lvl 10
    Selaznog wrote: »
    Somewhat unrelated, but would it be wise then to have a max project as well as a maya project in my demo reel, to show that I can use both? I find it very hard to figure out the barrier between being specialized (showing consistency) and being more varied, so I can fill the spot of more studios.

    I wouldn't worry about having different projects that use each program. Use what you're comfortable with and make sure you know the other program well enough to get a job using it. I use maya on all my personal projects and have used max at both game jobs I've had. It's come up in interviews before, but assuring them I know max seems to have been fine. Just make sure you're actually comfortable using it. :)
    Selaznog wrote: »
    In a similar way, I was having a tough time deciding what two pieces to have on my reel. Two hand painted, or one hand painted and one realistic? If I do both hand painted, then it will show a specialization but if I do realistic too then there are more companies that can hire me.

    You should have more than 2 pieces in your reel/portfolio. Specialize in the type of work you do(characters, environments, props, etc), but I think having different styles and subject matter is a good way to go.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 16
    10-15 is a bit low man, don't settle for that.

    I had to learn Max for my first job, I downloaded the 30 day trial and learned how to use it during my art test, it took about 2 nights of watching the 3d buzz max fundamentals video
  • xk0be
    Just get used to Max dude. Forget that maya existed and just grind through it, in a few days you'll get the hang of max and learn its good things (like, how are you not freaking out at how awesome the modifiers are?!) and you'll be missing that when you go back to maya. Just forget maya exists, thats the easiest way to switch imo. Learn it from scratch.

    A better suggestion than just saying hurr just do it- get the maya navigation in max. I think its a plugin just on creativecrash or something. It will make it feel a little bit more like home.
  • passerby
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    passerby polycounter lvl 10
    it shouldn't matter, what is important is core modeling skills, and the ability to quickly learn and adapt. once you got that switching between packages is a breeze.
  • nufftalon
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    nufftalon polycounter lvl 7
    I took the time to set shortcuts in max so I don't have to waste digging through menus once you set shortcuts for as much as you can I mean bridging, and swift loop, and even setting to show and hide end results in your modifier stack.. You will love the program. If you don't work with shortcuts your rising for a fall

    if I had to learn maya for a possible job then heck yeah I would learn it. There's enough free resources to learn a program. A program is just a program you as an artist have to make sure you conquer whatever program your working in.
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm interpolator
    Leave fanboyism and "I don't like ..." attitudes behind when it comes to the tools we use. It will make you a more professional and more versatile artist.

    3ds max, just like maya is a tool and both have weaknesses and strengths. Forget seeing just the differences and weaknesses. Instead look at areas where those tools excel and embrace them. Keep a playful attitude when exploring new features and don't take setbacks too hard. It'll get easier the more you know about the new package.

    Changing software packages is something most artists will do at least once in their career. The more open you're towards this idea, the easier it will be for you.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    I personally enjoy modeling in softimage the most out of any apps I've tried, I'd like to give modo and others a try as well... but I think it is important to be willing and look forward to trying something new. I originally learned 3d in maya, used it for about 3 years, but I've barely touched is since. Recently I actually tried it again for something brief, and I enjoy it more than I remembered, but of course it'd take a few weeks to get up to speed. But if that's what the project required that is what I'd use.

    I also had to use 3ds max for an internship, the first time I used that app. And I started to see what some of it's advantages are. I currently I do most of my modeling in softimage, but I like to bake and play with materials in 3ds. If I ever was applying at a studio or doing an art test at a studio, I'd make sure I was currently trying refresh myself with their application of choice and be honest about my background in each app.
  • xvampire
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    xvampire polycounter lvl 12
    me2 really like softimage personally, m button means Magic,:3

    but 3ds max has some advantage too, material ID, and smoothing group management is huge advantage in 3dsmax.
    to learn new software I keep hotkey and button customization to minimum or none ( default setting).
  • PhattyEwok
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    PhattyEwok polycounter lvl 9
    It's funny how you think Max has unorganized menus and tools cause I feel the exact same way about Maya. I'm always pulling my hair out when I open it.

    Anyways from what I hear from a lot of people is that if you got the chops most studios will give you the time to learn a new package anyways. Until you get that job though might as well push yourself through as much industry standard packages as possible. It never hurts to at least have a basic understanding right?
  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 12
    It's just a tool, really. I had growing pains with 3DS Max, but it goes away.
  • Mark Dygert
    I think the biggest hurdle is the bias you seem to be bringing. Drop that and learn the tools for what they are and you should be fine. The industry is anything but fixed in concrete and never changing. There always seems to be something new to learn, some new set of tools to master and some interesting apps to explore.

    A genuine curiosity and mind for exploration and adventure seem serve a lot of successful and happy people in (and out of) the industry pretty well. Honestly it sounds like you're one new tool away from burning out.
    "WHAT! I HAVE TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW!"
    <tea kettle whistle> <lid clattering>
    I started out with Maya, switched to Max because that is what most of the industry was using back then it was pretty much all max no maya except in film. Now its become a little less important and studios are even starting to offer up both. Even through it is easier to maintain and author tools if only one or the other is used.

    I jump back and forth pretty regularly but I lean toward max for most things (except animation). Mostly because that is what we use at work (6+years) and I've taken a lot of time to get used to max even dug into maxscript which has been very helpful. But I wouldn't mind jumping back to Maya and bringing my Maya knowledge up to the same level.

    Whatever one lacks, has probably has been scripted, by people who regularly cross over and see the best of both worlds. These people want the best in whatever tool they are using. The idiots that stick to their camp with their flags held high, deserve the slow backwards workflows they so vehemently cling to. "But there is only one way to do it!?" Wrong, there is always a better way and maybe its up to you to find it.
  • LMP
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    LMP polycounter
    I learned mostly with Maya, I had 1 class on Max. And, I'm glad I did.

    I've now got a job out here in Montreal, they only use Max at game companies out here. My wife's an animator, never used Max before these last few months only Maya, and only ever mainly focused on "film animation". She's currently working up a game animation demo reel using just Max.
  • JacqueChoi
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    JacqueChoi polycounter
    My first program, was 3D Studio R4 for DOS (showing my age)

    My second program I learned was Alias Wavefront Power Animator 7.0 for UNIX on an SGI

    My third program was 3DS Max (Which I have used professionally since), and worked in a studio that used Maya for 4 years..


    What I noticed were, there were MANY people who championed NURBS modelling or Polygon modelling, and they refused to learn the other. This goes for Bryce Modellers, Lightwave, Truespace, SoftImage, Corel Paint/Draw, Painter, Organica Blog Modelling, Various voxel modelling programs, etc.

    I know guys that refuse to learn Zbrush or Mudbox. The common theme is that none of them are currently working in the industry anymore.




    What EVERYONE is saying is; Don't be one of those guys that 'champion' a single program. It's complacent, and not many people last for very long in this century in any industry being complacent.


    A big part of working in this century is being adaptable.

    My dad was laid off (near retirement age), when he couldn't make the jump from Autocad 4 for DOS, to Autocad 7 for Windows. He still gets upset when he talks to my engineering friends who use NEWER programs like Solidworks, QCad, or Form Z.



    Heck, I can easily see Mari overtaking Photoshop in the next 5 years.
  • AlexLeighton
    Learn em all. What I've done to force myself to learn Maya and Blender is install only one on my laptop, download some tutorials and go away for a week with a little project I want to do. Sort of like going to a foreign country to learn a language, if you have no other option, you will adapt and succeed, and hopefully if you keep an open mind you'll see more pros than cons in the new software you're learning. I'm still best with Max, and that's probably what I'll use for the forseeable future, but now at least I know I could switch to Maya or Blender whenever I want to.
  • Bigjohn
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    Bigjohn polycounter lvl 9
    What I don't understand is that it should be clear that these new programs bring huge advantages. Something like zBrush? Jesus, I saw the potential right away. And I thank god that there's now a way to sculpt in 3D as opposed to just polymodeling.

    Now they're talking about Mari, or something like it, being popular and I personally can't wait. Ptex or something, I don't know, but one of those things where the entire workflow is to paint directly on the model sounds great.

    Maybe next they'll have something where you think of a shape and the computer builds it...
  • JoeCyriac
    Yep. Learn them all. A new skill is never wasted. I've always used Maya and Softimage (man, that M tool) but I'm learning Max now because I've moved to Canada and a lot of studios here use Max as their primary tool. Personally, I think this is one of the cooler things about this industry. There's always some new software or tech that's waiting to be explored. You don't need to master all of them at once, but a working knowledge is always useful. You never know when it'll come in handy.
  • PredatorGSR
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    PredatorGSR polycounter lvl 7
    When a company offers to pay you a good salary to make art, you'll learn to use whatever program they want you to use. That comes with the territory of being a professional artist. I went from a Maya company to a Max company and it wasn't bad at all. You'll be learning new tools throughout your career, and if you don't, you'll be unemployed before too long.
  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 10
    It depends on the studio as always. I agree with everyone here, if you can be familiar with Max it will greatly help your chances of getting hired. But if your portfolio is fantastic you'll possibly be given an opportunity. I am a Maya artist and now that I'm back in the workforce I have the time to learn Max. Once I have a place to live...

    I know at Sony Bend, they offered both. You had to do all your level work/engine work in Maya though. Max was just for modeling and texturing.

    Just take it real slow. Make a barrel. Then another one. Perhaps one more. Baby steps FTW!!
  • spartanx118
    Your feeling's about max are the same as my feeling about maya. Maya makes me sick, it's feels heavy, disorganized and very not user friendly, epsecially the user interface, uhgg it's just horrible,... but in the end it's just personal preference, well actually it's just because you used maya first.
  • JohnnyRaptor
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    JohnnyRaptor polycounter lvl 11
    i would say about 50/50 chance either or
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Both Max and Maya suck bigtime at first, but...

    While you're moaning, other people are buttoning down, learning the software, and surpassing you. You really want to be that guy?
  • ExcessiveZero
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    ExcessiveZero polycounter lvl 6
    its not that bad, I am using maya more lately as I like its marking menus, but max is all pretty straight forward, and I like max's modifiers ffd and shell and bend, all better than the ways I need to do it in maya.

    no one software does everything perfect and you have to accept they are all perfect imperfections, and you can really end up liking software you never thought you would, the frustration you feel is never with the software but with yourself.
  • stabbington
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    stabbington polycounter lvl 7
    I started and still mainly use Max, did a few years in Lightwave professionally, then had to learn Softimage for a few gigs and now finally learning Maya and if there's one thing I've learned from all this, it's that nearly every complex computer program has some horrendous, archaic, broadly over-generalised, ill-thought or otherwise demented flaws with terribly integrated tools, inconsistent UI's, bad naming conventions, totally backwards approaches to workflows and the like.

    But... you can always learn to move past issues and rarely have to think about them after the nth encounter. The main thing is - they can all get the job done, and in some ways better than you might be used to!

    Maya at the moment is blowing my mind the amount of weird, confusing things I'm hitting but I know deep down that it's just the nature of getting used to a program and how it prefers me to approach tasks. Programs might differ wildly from how I've been used to doing them, or there's some feature that's been clumsily and glitchily crowbarred in to replace a decades old function, or I have to learn to overcome some strange flaw, avoid pressing certain buttons, or learn not to be reliant on some tool or shortcut I'm used to be using.

    It's definitely totally worth learning as many as you can, though, not least for the employability benefits. Approaches to problem-solving or getting through a task can be really expanded with experiencing a different program's approach to something.

    Anyway, just keep on pushing through until it becomes second nature! The frustration you're feeling now will be totally worth it in the end!
  • Mask_Salesman
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    Mask_Salesman polycounter lvl 11
    Well getting good at anything is hardwork. If you give up with every other app your not accustomed to, your limiting yourself a great deal bud.

    I'm happy to give a virtual slap to anyone who won't use Zbrush for this reason aswell. :P
  • [Deleted User]
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    [Deleted User] polycounter lvl 3
    A little unrelated, but I yet have to see a compositor that uses Nuke/Fusion, than he have to switch to After Effects to do the same job and everybody from management in the company survives this alive :D

    Once you go with nodes (and you will like them), you don't come back. And if you started from node based app, you will never/ever use anything other.

    Another thing that people don't mention, if you are a technical guy with deep understanding of application API, you will have also hard time switching to other application just like that.


    My advice, instead of learning another modeling package, learn programming, Unreal C++ API, Unity API. This should make you a person that is harder to replace.
  • passerby
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    passerby polycounter lvl 10
    This is not in all cases, i found it generally pretty easy to jump between the c++ api of unreal and the c# api of unity. Managed to learn enough unity in a day to make a working game actually.

    Though when it comes to the API and scripting interfaces of 3d packages, that is a different deal, since i work with the c++ API of Maya and it;s python interface, and find it really hard to work with max's api and scripting interface, since the too packages handle 3d data in very different ways.
  • RobeOmega
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    RobeOmega polycounter lvl 7
    I have mostly a Blender user for a while. I have just stuck to Blender on the assumption that the time that I could spend learning max, would be better spent on learning skills that can be applied to all 3d software.
  • Asyme
    Learn both or at least one and accept you might have to learn another package for a new job.

    That said if I had to pick one? I'd pick Maya. I'm not a maya fan and come from a long 3dsmax background mixed with Softimage. However friends at several of the bigger companies have all told me Autodesk are, essentially, asking them what they need Maya to do to allow the games market to focus entirely on it instead of Max. Recent updates seem to have pushed poly tools, UVing etc to the forefront while max has been largely ignored in these fields.

    Maybe it'll come to nothing but... I know it has those companies focused on Maya.
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Has anyone here recently transitioned over to Max from Maya? I learned Maya at uni but briefly used Max at a previous job, the modeling tools seem awesome. Just wondered how long it took someone coming from maya to max to adjust.
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