Blender and Maya


I find myself in an interesting position. I have maya student version and obviously I have blender as well. Now I learnt 3D stuff using maya. However, I really like blender in general.

So instead of one of them lame which is better questions I would like to ask everyone who has used both application to list the features in maya that blender does not have and vice versa.

The aim is not to dis an app but so I can better understand the limitations of both apps and so I can build a workflow around both apps.

So far:

Maya has:

Muscle system
1,2,3 buttons for smoothness
Node based editing history

Blender has:
Awesome sculpt tool (think I like it more than mudbox… but thats another story)


I don’t really have any knowledge of Maya but, Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, Ctrl+3… change subsurf in Blender. Is this similar to Maya’ smoothing?

I don’t know maya much, but I don’t think maya has:
Perfect UV unwrapping
Texture Paint
Sequence editor
Logic editor
un-overlapping interface.

What exactly does a muscle system do :eek:

Stuff like that


I studied and thought both.

Blender has many good aspects but has a very limited render engine which can render non realistic styles well but has no ability to even compete with realistic results coming from VRay, MentalRay.

Now the most important question you need to ask yourself is where should your students be when they are graduating.

Those short-commings are in my point of view the biggest bottle neck of Blender and a no go for a company / designer who needs realistic work.

Blender might have here and there a good competition or a cutting edge but in the overall great scheme I came to the conclusion that it is not suitable to be used as a main tool for teaching CG when you aim are to bring your students into high ranking animation jobs.


Blender has in contrast to Maya a very good compositing system.
So in case you do not have AE or any other compositing system you could teach your students about this area with Blender.

Mesh modeling in Blender is going in my opinion faster than in Maya.
Via OBJ the unwrapped and UV textured mesh can easily be exported.

This could also be quite nice when using fluids and bringing that over into Maya.

Few students used Blender for modeling but did the animation then in Maya since it offers more possibilities and studios like BlueSky or others don’t really care about Blender.

Sculpting in Blender is also a nice thing, when you do not have access to mudbox or zbrush, but it is not the same. You cannot reach the same fine resolution, however this might change with the current unlimited clay branch.

Also to keep in mind Blender CAN bake normal maps and you can retopo / rescult a low res version which again you can bring into Maya for animation and rendering.

I would simply use Maya as the main foundation and utilize Blender as an additional software which can add parts to the workflow difficult or not possible with Maya. At the end software diversity and understanding the concepts will be very valuable to the students.

At the end it all depends on the outcome and the need.
Blender can serve many aspects and does not make a commercial software needed.

Specific other areas like photo-realistic rendering etc a commercial software is just required and Blender cannot do it.

I used Blender personally on many interactive projects from jewelry design, product design, to augmented reality design. But I just used parts of it that fit my need and used other software for other needs they were better for.

Plus since 2.5 is reaching it’s finale stage exporter to GI engines pop up now which renders Blender to be a kick-butt foundation. You cannot animate with it as freely as with Maya - but if that is not a need/concern, than Blender is awesome for providing 3d content and rendering it out into OSS engines or commercial such as VRAY.

Buy everything at wholesale price only over USD50(wholesale price total).www.karrylady.com

Man what a kick as rendering of that shoe karry?
Is that an OSS shoe?

i love maya’s hypergraph and node based materials a lot!

The reasons I prefer Blender are it’s quick, hotkey-based workflow, it’s non-destructive modifier system and the fact that it’s open-source. What Cekuhnen didn’t mention is that you can very well use Blender with an external renderer (both free (Luxrender) and commercial (Vray, Octane)). I haven’t used Maya much yet (mainly because I hate all of it’s menus and submenus), but I think since you master both you could just use whichever program you feel most comfortable with.

Thanks for the responces.

Cekuhnen: Thanks for that really detailed responce. My first post must not have been clear I am not a teacher or a pro in anyway. I got autodesk student box thing when I was at uni and obviously I have blender.

nate8nate: Thanks for the tip just what I was looking for.

I am not looking for which is best I am trying to identify which features blender has that maya does not and vice versa, so yeah:

Blender has:
video editing and compositing tools
game engine
non-overlapping interface

maya has:
set driven-keys (does blender have this?)

I think in the end I have to use both tools loads to really find the differences and which ones I prefer…
I do find the modeling workflow easier in blender.

But I do love blenders open source.

Just gotta learn to be a 3D artist find what I love in the commercial packages and put them into blender

it doesn’t matter what each has until you need it…

and it sounds like you don’t know what you need… what is this list for?

btw: “driven keys” are “drivers” in blender… and you forgot to mention sculpt… artisan doesn’t cut it in maya…

Mh! Might be one of the rare things i really prefer in Maya… Gosh! I don’t know how i can be so silly… but i still can’t grab the way Blender’s node system works!
Makes me feel sad!

Hit the nail on the head there.

The list was more for curiosity purpose. As I don’t much care which is “better”.

it all depends on the artist rather than the software used.
although i will admit that maya is more feature rich (and ultra slow to start up) but blender’s workflow is far superior because its more shortcut based (though 2.5x solves this somewhat)

best advice would be to try both and use whatever you feel is more comfortable.

but as you are asking this question in… use blender cuz blender FTW!! :evilgrin:

I learnt using digital tutors a while back using maya but keep trying blender

And I would like to get into development when I fully understand the software.

So yeah this list was not a which should i use it was more just what are the features out there that blender does not have and what does blender have that others don’t

ah for those saying Blender is superior because it is shortcut based, guess what Maya is,
and since ages can you customize Maya’s interface.

Blender is just getting to there.

I forgot that modifier system which is really good as some mentioned. It reminds me about 3DMax.
Blender’s modifier system range from modeling, to transformation, deformation, array, and dynamic functions.

Pretty terrific.

You can use external engines, however the exporters are not finished, and till that you cannot really use them.

However if you have MentalRay Maya has then a perfect node based material approach to generate your shaders - way more comprehensive than Blender.

Maya also excells at combining all 3 modeling tools, Polygon, Subdivision Surface, and NURBS.
In particular can you convert a Poly model, into a SubSurf model, and finally into a smooth and perfect NURBS model.

For modeling needs this is a dream since Blender as being only polygon is limited in that.
There are certain things NURBS just excels at.

Sinan Blender’s texture painting is very basic at best.
Compare it to 3d BodyPaint and you will see what it lacks.

One thing where OSS is very good at is enabling coders to add work.
Since the interface and API was improved many new add ons were added which are quite amazing.
Blender has now quite a rich tool set with self build script-tools.

As I said the best is to know more then one software and use a tool that fits to the need instead
of becoming a Maya or Blender evangelist and ignore better solutions.

Unless you can’t afford the better solutions then it’s preferable to just become bitter, oh so bitter.

I kid, I kid…

Outside of an education environment how many people can afford to spend ~$10k on a well rounded 3d modeling/rendering pipeline anyway? I know my cousin (who is now a 3d professional) had to use a bunch of unlicensed software to get good enough to even get into the fancy college that propelled his career on its way.

Seems rather chicken and egg to me. You have to have enough knowledge of the ‘professional’ packages to show you have the skills to be taught how to become a ‘professional user’ yet the price is out of reach of a non-professional… unless, of course, you qualify for a ‘student edition’ which is what your assembled portfolio (put together using either crippled or unlicensed apps) is for in the first place.


you have a good point - but Maya is not that expensive any more today.
And Maya also offers the PLE edition.

Plus Modo is a terrific modeling, texturing, painting, and rendering system.
It runs circles around Blender in comparison and is only 1k.

I wish students would just get software for free or all major companies would offer
a PLE license.

SolidWorks which is 5k plus is 99 / year and that is a good way to learn the software
so you can apply.

What college did he get into?