As a longtime Maya user, my perspective may be a bit different than most here. I’ve gotten used to some features there and making the transition to Blender has me searching for better ways to do certain things.
One of the top things on my list would be the text tool. In Maya, there was a significant upgrade in 2018. It is possible to do many types of bevels and the UI is easy and quick with a font preview. I would like to see a Text tool in Blender like this. Right now, the bevel options are extremely limited; there is no obvious way to change the bevel from concave to convex, etc. or to draw a profile curve for the bevel, the way the Bevel Modifier works. And applying the Bevel Modifier to text produces nasty results. Some development work there would help those of us who do a lot of animated logo work.
The camera. I still can’t tell which way it’s pointing. It doesn’t look like a camera at all, and that gets confusing in some scenes. Could we get a more ‘camera’-looking camera icon?
And along that vein of thought, the process of making a camera look at and follow an object is not intuitive and I find that after watching a tutorial on how to do this complicated process, I’ve forgotten it a day later. In Maya, simply choosing an option and dragging out a pointer from the camera icon does the trick. Adding a similar feature in Blender would be fabulous.
I know I’m going to find more items to suggest, as I get into using the program. I’ve been playing with it for about 2 weeks now and can do some very basic stuff. Playing with a lot of test scenes I downloaded and am blown away by the realism it can produce. For some reason, my Maya renders don’t look this real.
EVEE’s speed is stunning and the level of fidelity to a full offline render is amazing. I used to think Maya’s Viewport 2.0 was impressive, but EVEE can do refraction and reflections in realtime.
The fact that Cycles can render using GPU is another big huge advantage over Maya, whose renders still run on CPU. I used to suggest over on the AutoDesk forums that they use GPU to take advantage of those 3000+ cores, but they would tell me that you can’t do that kind of calculation on GPUs. Fast forward to Blender and we are rendering on GPU at break-neck speeds.
Oh, one last thing I remembered… accuracy of raytracing. For two decades, I’ve been testing various 3D software’s ability to correctly render a reflected beam of light. So far, only Mental Ray could pass the “flashlight test”. I’d place a parabolic object, set to mirror like shader and place an omni light at it’s locii. Many renderers, dating back to Caligari trueSpace 2.x failed to produce a beam onto a matt surface in front of the reflector.
With the introduction of Arnold renderer in Maya, this ability was lost. I also found that Cycles does not render a beam. It could be possible that I am not setting up the demo correctly. Perhaps others could chime in with ideas.
In conclusion, despite a few areas lacking, Blender is almost ‘too good to be true’, with it’s realistic realtime rendering, some fantastic modeling tools and efficient coding. I can see it overtaking other commercial 3D programs in a few years. We’ve come so far since 1987, with Wavefront Technologies Preview software running on SGI Iris and Sun SPARCstations. Then in the early 90s, I played with 3D Studio and Pixar Typestry, followed by 1995’s introduction of Caligari trueSpace. By the early 2000’s, I standardized on Maya and there I’ve been til now.