Any tips for a new user migrating from Maya to Blender?

Hi guys,

I’m a long time professional user/owner of Lightwave and Maya but I can’t keep spending money on upgrades just to keep up with the features ‘arms race’. So that’s it, for once and all I’m diving into Blender.
I’ve bought the Essential Blender book and am going through it. I like [very much] what I see so far. I’m not sure if you guys who have only used Blender, realise how ‘cutting edge’ Blender’s feature list is?

I’m just posting really, to see if there are any other users in a similar position to myself. And to see if there are any tricks or hints to get into the user interface of Blender faster (I’m impatient to use all the great features :eyebrowlift:)?

To kick things off, so far the snapping in Blender seems a bit ‘clunky’ to me as it’s a two part process (cursor to selection -> other object to cursor) In maya I can hold down the ‘v’ key for vertex snap as I move selections around and it snaps to the vert I’m nearest to.
Does Blender have something like this? Or do I have to use the 3D cursor?

No knowledge of Maya, but I’m sure you will use the Blender Manual.

You can snap selections to vertices by clicking this button:

And then when moving a selection hold down ctrl to snap it to other vertices.

Edit: I don’t have the official blender 2.46 all I have is svn so if this is not in the official version It will be in 2.47 that will be released soon.

I was jumped into 3d world with Maya. it was my first 3d experience. but after one year I just realized that it TOO complicated for a beginner. Many confusing UI layouts and menus . I found it a very professional and complicated tool which fit the requirements of a Hollywood sized studios With millions of dolors budget an thousands of artists and developers. Not fore a single one how wants to learn 3D.
Of course first time i worked with Blender, it seemed very strange and NONE familiar with Maya interface , but just spend 2 month read online documents , tutorials and videos to get familiar with it , and once it happens you NEVER back to maya or lightwave. This i can promise. because many of famous blender artists was the Maya or Max or Lightwave users before they switch to Blender.

There are Video Tutorials too.

well yes and no, there is no dragweld or target weld I believe this was called in max, but there are quite a few options for snapping and welding/merging that works just as fast if not faster, you just need to select the right one for the right job.

I suppose you allready know about the snapping menu (shiftS), the 3D cursor and setting pivot points and orientation? (ctrl+space, alt+space) all accesable on the header.
When in editmode, you can snap to the grid by using the ctrl button when you drag, or use clean even numbers when scaling or rotating.
You can press shift-tab to change to a kind of vertex snap mode. (the magnet icon on the header) which will snap your selection to a vertex in median or vertex closest to it, and some other options.
You can select and do a merge to first or last selected with alt+M.
You can do loop and ring selections, and add and remove rings and loops on the fly.
you can lasso, box and paint select, select/deselect all at once, and remove doubles will remove every double vertex within your specified fallof and selection.

you can hide part of a mesh, you can hide part of a view, you can go into local view, blablahblah

you can use hotkeys and numbers to do pretty much all your editing as well, works quite fast when you get the hang of it. lock axis, different orientations, pivots etc, all accesable through hotkeys. But you could also find it in menu’s, headers, and use the gizmo/maipulator if you like.

and there’s tons and tons more.

Oh and welcome! :slight_smile:

Welcome Bliz,
I’m afraid there are just to many neat features to list them all here. I would recommend reading release-logs, wiki and of course sift your way through this forum. :wink:

Oh yes there is, Mesh>AutoMerge Editing. When enabled it will merge/weld when ever you do a vertex snap (as explained by scabootssca).

Hi BLitz

welcome to Blender. I am ah was in the same boat.

Blenders UI is different and sometimes not as logical / consistent than Maya.

in edit mode press “w” and you will get many special menus.

with space bar and you will see many menu items similar to Mayas head up display for modeling and adding mesh.

Sometimes tools are spread of the interface - but once you learned where they are
you will see mesh modeling in Maya is much slower.

And the unwrapper is decent anyway.


welcome, hope to see some nice renders from a maya pro using blender.

Hi and welcome. I have the Essential Blender book and it is pretty good. I think I got stuck only once or twice and I think they forgot to include a file or two on the disc.

There is the book online which I believe have the corrections in case you get stuck. Seeings as you already have 3D knowledge I think the best advice I can give you is to start a project and post it in the Works in Progress section. If you get stuck or have a question someone here can help you out. I find I learn best when I try something and it messes up and I have to fix it; It makes me remember it for the next time that issue comes up. Good luck and happy blendering.

Yeah, that’s 2.47 only.

Documentation and two videos are already in the wiki though:


You’ll learn to get Blender to do what you want, in fact you may enjoy the unofficial builds more because they have things like the GSoC stuff and GLSL for the 3D view.

Maya huh? Siggraph convert? Well, to add to ur collection, I might add, Essential Blender was made before Peach open movie, so u might get “bounce tumble and splash” i don’t have it but it’s good.

I’m a long time Maya user as well. I almost gave up on Maya after a week in 1998. (I couldn’t get my head around the component selection mask) But now I love it. I got introduced to Blender a few years ago by one of it’s developers. It was frustrating at first but now like Maya I love it. Snapping in Blender 2.47 or Apricot is much improved.

A few Blender tips

  1. point your cursor at a window to get focus (no clicking involved)
  2. there is an invisible preferences window :wink: Point your cursor at the crack just under the main menu and drag down! I hope in future you an get to this with edit–>help :wink:
  3. the panels/text is zoomable. Press numpad + and minus. Very useful.

have fun!

Maybe someone should write a tutorial/introduction to blender for commercial 3d package users :D. Something Maya Artists Guide to Blending :smiley:

Not a bad idea, I’ve been thinking of something along these lines. Hell I don’t know the first thing about maya except for a trial of version 3 waaaaaaay back, but there are a lot of things about selecting/modeling that seems to confuse a lot of newbies and people transfering from other apps alike. On cgtalk I used to make lists, and quote and requote them over and over because they were so commonly asked.

a list with all the way to select stuff
a list snapping, editmode, objectmode ctrl-tab, vertex/edge/face ctrl-tab
a list with view and navigation options
a list with snapping options
a list with pivot point and orientation options
a list with often used editing operation (merge, collapse, bridge, extrude, make sharp etc etc)


Well golly you are right, learned something new. How long has that been there? It would be more obvious as a toggle on/of feature in the header near the magnet icon though (with hotkey!) But scabootssca didn’t talk about merging though, just snapping.

I haved used Maya5PLE, its a good software. But Blender is best because its free and day by day its growing better and better. If you know Maya, Just start with Outliner, its same.

Automerge was added in Blender 2.46, it’s mentioned in the release-log but only by name. I had the exact same thought about a icon and hotkey when I first became aware of this feature.

Hey Bliz , i used to play with max , actually i even did a one year peofessional couse for max , at the end of the course i was a bit Discouraged , it was too difficult some things , in blender everything is easy, and fast.

I think the best thing you can do is post a post about you wanting to meet one day with somebody to teach you blender, is the fastest way.

Im sure anyone will want to teach you ;D

If these have not already been mentioned there are excellent free video tutorials at these sites: