A couple of things I’d like to point out here. First, I want to agree that blender isn’t as fully featured or as fleshed out as the bigger apps. But when you show me a clip by ILM as a reason for why blender isn’t capable enough… well…
The Maya you all know is NOT the Maya that ILM uses. ILM has written so many custom tools and has SO MANY programmers maintaining it all, that the comparison is pretty much worthless. It can be argued that if the same amount of resources were poured into blender, then blender could definitely produce that shot. Oh, and let’s not forget that this shot was made by a large group of some of the BEST artists in the industry. What if those artists and programmers decided to produce that shot using blender?
Additionally, that shot wasn’t made in JUST maya. Maya likely touched it, but it almost assuredly went through a whole pipeline of tools. I’m just guessing here, but maya for modeling and staging, probably some proprietary destruction sims, rendered in renderman or arnold and comped in NUKE.
Why do we always hold blender up to EVERY OTHER COMMERCIAL APP AT ONCE and say “blender can’t do this all by itself so it’s not a good production tool”?
In all honesty, the only thing that holds blender back from being a solid production tool in a pipeline is not it’s toolset, but it’s I/O. I would use blender for a large percentage of my work if I could get it to play better with maya. But the good news is that this is happening. FBX import is getting actively developed by a core developer. Alembic is likely to see development soon. The future is looking bright indeed!