As a Maya artist leaning Blender....

Hello people.

I’m a new Blender user. I am a student which has been learning Computer Graphics for almost 4 years now.

I have been using Autodesk Maya for 3 years (learnt it at school) and I still have 2 years of university works and assignments to strengthen my Maya knowledge. Learned a bit of XSI too but that’s another story.

You can check out my student short here, nothing fancy, even though I won a prize for it:

And here’s rigging reel which features squash stretch, ik-fk switch,etc.

I’ve posted these so you evaluate my level of knowledge.

In the CG industry, I wanna work primarily as an Animator and maybe have that little Riggin and python knowledge as an extra.

A few months ago, I thought that it was time for me to learn a new software, one not just be dependent on that ONE master software. Since I wanted to move away from Autodesk, I looked up for Houdini and MODO. They are both great software however neither of them offers a free student educational license like Maya and Max

Then I took the initiative to look back for Blender which I hadn’t considered since like I was high school so I didnt know anything about 2.5 and up.

I was thrilled to discover everything had changed, from the UI, the logic and the possibilities.
I quickly donwload it and started playing around and lerning it from April.

At the start, I played around the Sculpt tools, which in my opinion are alot better than what Maya AND Mudbox had to offer solely due to the Dynotopo feature (awesome add really).:slight_smile:

Quickly, the test grew to be out a whole character which I am going to animate (If i manage to get there) in a few weeks.

The modeling is not that great, but since I focus more and animation, my big work will start when I’ll start animating.

I think that for someone who’ been learning the software for one month, that’s a nice progress:

What do you think?

Since I wanna work in the game industry, she is optimized for game engine , so no fancy hair simulation or rig using deformers and such.

Anyway, I gotta give props to the developpers really for the modelling tools, the good logic behind the shortkeys (I thought marking menu was unbeatable and Blender proved me wrong), I am actually now ALOT faster in Modelling than I am in Maya (3 years of Maya vs. one month of Blender).

So I’m not here to compare softwares or anything but just to state I’m getting a little scared while I’m progressing.

Especially for…


I wanted to ask a few questions at the rigging forum but sorry but that forum is simply dead. Though, that’s okay, I rarely ever get answers from forum when I have technical questions regarding a software.

Since Maya has a huge rigging base of users, whenever I had trouble a fast little google search gave me answers quickly.

I’ve been doing the same to learn Blender and as it seems there’s lot of information for Modelling, rendering, compositing, texturing and lighting, it seems that good professionnal tips for Animations and Rigging are pretty rare sincerely.

I’m getting scared because while I was progressing well through the modeling part, it seems like I won’t be able to rig properly my character like I used to do it from Maya due to the lack of good tutorials out there

Maybe I am wrong but it seems like Blender doesnt have:

AN Expression editor?

Set driven keys?

Custom attributes to animate parts of a rig?

Bone orientation?

How are these called within the software (do they even exist)?

I really wanted to have a solid animated character using the software and a good rigs eases that.

I know long post for a really short message but I thought posting these pictures would make you guys to consider this post seriously.

Thank you.

Moved from “General Forums > Blender and CG Discussions” to “Support > Animation and Rigging”

To answer some of your questions:

Taking these one at a time:

  • Expression editor - There is not an explicit expression editor, no. However, most complex associations can be handled with constraints and drivers (the latter of which supports Python expressions). You can also do some fun thing with straight Python and the Blender Python API as well.
  • Set driven keys - These are going to be drivers in Blender
  • Custom attributes - Any datablock in Blender can have custom properties; those properties can be animated and used to drive other properties. There’s no channel box, so some Python UI is necessary if you want to have controls (sliders and what-not) in the interface.
  • Bone orientation - You can set bone orientation in Edit mode using Ctrl+N. Or are you meaning something else?

Blond, hey welcome back to Blender. I think the reason why there might be less rigging content for Blender online is well because it is the hardest and most time consuming discipline compared to making stills only.

Besides what Fweeb already mentioned I am curious how far the new animation nodes (animate many properties in Blender via a node network) could be useful for you as well.

PS I am an old Maya user but focused only on modeling.

‘‘Blond, hey welcome back to Blender. I think the reason why there might be less rigging content for Blender online is well because it is the hardest and most time consuming discipline compared to making stills only.’’

Argh, not very nice to hear since If it doesnt move, it’s not interestin in my eyes…

Bone orientation - in addition to Ctrl+N mentioned by Fweeb, there’s also ctrl+R to “roll” the bone around its’ Y axis, or you can set the roll directly in the properties region. You can’t arbitrarily choose bone’s axes though, Y always points along the bone.

Welcome @Blond!

For a comprehensive explanation of everything related rigging I think nothing beats this training DVD: Humane Rigging

The basic concepts are covered too in several Blendercookie tutorials, and many of them are free.

Also, when it comes to drivers, check this out Mastering Drivers

I hope this can get you started :slight_smile:

Oh hey… that’s a pretty handy hotkey! Never used that one before. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi Blond et bienvenue sur le forum!

I’m also using Maya and Blender for rigging and animation.
It’s funny because when I worked on Maya, I missed some function of blender and when I came back on Blender, I missed some function of Maya… but, I think I actually prefer… (my own POV)… Blender.

As it was said, Expression could be done by scripted driver which I use… a lot!

you can also reorient the bones by using Ctrl+R or put the rotation in the propertie pannel (all of that in EditMode)
Another thing that I discovered and changed my life with rigging in blender is when you do an IK setup, usually there is a pop that appear from the Edit to Pose mode, which means that you will have some problem in case you are doing IK/FK switch… the way to solve that is to get the best position in Pose Mode, then you do Ctrl+A and so Apply Pose as Rest Pose, this will modify your edit pose to match this pose.

One thing that is very different from Maya with Rigging, is the way to freeze transformation. In Maya, it’s used quite a lot to add controls to your rig. In Blender all of the controls should be in fact bones that could take the shape of curves using the custom shape. When they are set in edit mode, this pose will be their default Location,Rotation,Scale of (0,0,0 ; 0,0,0 ; 1,1,1) in pose mode.

One thing that I wasn’t able to do in Blender yet is to reverse the controls from Left to Right. like shoulder and arm FK so that when you select both in maya and rotate them you can achieve a symmetrical pose. But in blender it’s easy to copy and mirror a pose, so you have to find the way to love each! :wink:

Enjoy blender!
Hope it helps!


btw for rigging tutorial, there are nice free ones on CGcookies.

Thank you all for the help and the kind comments.

MAthias, can you post the links please?

I’ve noticed one fo the major problem with common Blnder tutorials is that (especially on youtueb) they are made by simple hobbyist which don’t really seem to know what they are doing.

Heh, I’ll be getting a mention in 4th edition? :smiley:

here is the general website of cgcookies

and for rigging

:slight_smile: enjoy!


I’m starting to feel hope for this project. These looks like some pretty grounded and solid tutorials.

Also worth mentioning, regarding you looking into Houdini and Modo, that there is a free non-commercial version of Houdini. I’m mucking around with that now, particularly for it’s awesome cloth results…

Blender still my main gig though. I certainly second your thoughts on modelling, Maya feels so clumsy for us Blender hotkeyers. :slight_smile: