Blender in the professional world?

So, I go to an art school. I’m majoring in Media Arts & Animation. Might go into character modeling. Now, our school uses Maya, because it is (as of now) the industry standard. I can almost say I despise Maya with passion.

I asked my teacher if we could use alternate programs, and he said it could be done (he had 3DS in mind). That is, until I mentioned Blender. He said that it isn’t an industry standard, and it’d be better to stick with Maya.

As I understand, there are artists within professional companies that model in whatever program as long as they can import the model into the program used by the company, right? For instance, if a game company uses 3DS, an artist may model in Maya, and import into 3DS. That said, would any of you think it would be wise for one to work in Blender, and import into other programs? I know how to use Maya to model, but Blender is by far much superior in terms of workflow and efficiency.

I only talked with my instructor briefly about this, and I plan to try once more to convince him to let me model in Blender for my sanity. However, there may be pros and cons that I haven’t thought of, which is why I come to my fellow blender heads for advice.

So, advice?

EDIT: Please read Post 17 before responding!

Well, if you plan on convincing him, here are some professionals using it:
Thats an old list though.

I think blender was also used for the animatics in spiderman 2.

Alternatively, you could tell him about,
a feature move made using blender.

Try doing a couple of google searches, you can probably find some
professionals using it there.

That being said, blender really isn’t an industry standard, rather
something that is, from time to time, used in the industry.

The bottom line is, it will be quite hard for you, to use
a package that you despise.

Most things you learn in a 3D package, you can use just as well
in another package, but that could be an argument for both Blender
and Maya i guess :D.

And when you finish art school the same question will arise when trying to get a job, you can bet that blender won’t be taking the place of Maya or Max in the majority of companies out there. They’ll have investment in commercial software already and will have invested in how they use it within that company.

Learn Maya and blender, no problem learning more than one way to ‘skin’ a cat. Then when you can show that blender is capable of exporting your rigged characters into Maya or Max and back again, ie talk fluently between apps you may have a decent proper illustration of blenders ability to fit into a commercial setup, than some tired old links to try and prove blenders worth.

+1. Your teacher isn’t saying Blender is bad, or that it isn’t used at all professionally, but is stating the fact that, as a percentage chance of you finding a job out of school, Max and Maya own much more market share than Blender, and your chances are much better with either or both of those two.

I using Blender in my job for 4-5 years. We use XSI, Max, Ligthwave, and I use Blender, but exporting all my works into these programs.
I can use Max and LW in basic level, XSI in mid level.

At my work (a TV station in Oz) I’ve switched to Blender from MAX. They were dubious at first but now it’s just another tool in the belt. As long as they get their pixels, they’re happy.

I’m happy to say that a recent position at the company got advertised and one of the “advantages” was knowledge of Blender. There are some mainly Blender studios popping up now too.

What will impress an interviewer is your artistic and technical skills, and a knowledge of several 3d programs will be an advantage.

The 3d job market is much more competitive than it used to be. Human resources (HR) folk as a result tend to be much more brutal when it comes to culling CVs and showreels. If you apply to a maya based studio, and you don’t have maya on your reel, then your reel goes in the bin. Simple. No, it shouldn’t be that way, but that’s how it is.

Everyone has their preferred software, but by the same token just about any industry 3d person knows enough maya to get by. As stated earlier, its currently the standard.

Furthermore, being dogmatic with statements like ‘I despise maya’ isn’t going to help you get work. There’s still no one app that can do everything, so you’re expected to be able to pickup whatever tool available and run with it. Today that might be maya and photoshop. Tomorrow it’ll be mudbox and zbrush. Day after nuke and after effects.

So yes, by all means learn blender, do your work in it, be amazing, but don’t cut short your job opportunities by refusing to learn other software. When you start your own animation studio though, by all means make it blender only. But then you’ll be faced with finding blender animators in a sea of maya users… :slight_smile:

Furthermore, if you choose for your course to model in blender and animate in maya, really make sure you test your pipeline before committing. Move an n-gonned model out of maya and into blender, then back again. Objects with holes in them, objects with non-manifold edges. Make sure that when you do the import/export that you can blendshape a copy of the mesh to itself, that it can be replaced in a skincluster without major fuss… ie, make sure blender won’t throw a spanner in the works.

So sad. :frowning: No one knows the real potential of this software.Cuz none have the key to unlocking it. (Also show him the gallery)

Blender is to professional standards. Matt Ebb works with it for Kraft and other professional companies. I’ve made models of MP3 players for SanDisk. Check out the “Lighthouse” short. It proved that Blender can play well with 3DMax and big-name production studios, banks and insurance companies.

What they are telling you is that when you go out to get a job. They will ask you if you know 3dMax or Maya. If you say no, they won’t hire you. This is not “Is Blender up to pro standards?” but “Is Blender PERCEIVED to be up to pro standards?”

The answer to the first question is yes. The answer to the second question is no.

As things move on and Blender improves and it gets used in more pro outfits, this will change, but it hasn’t at the moment.

Its not going to hurt you to learn Maya or Max (well, Max’s interface is a bit of a nightmare, but anyway…) and you might just find that that they are pretty good apps and that they have a few things that fill in the gaps with your Blender experience. I love to model in Blender and send it to Maya for displacement and other Mental Ray goodies.

I used to model in Blender, and then export as OBJ and import that file into Maya. If its the modeling part of Maya you can’t stand, try that.

And as far as modeling goes, i think exporting formats are pretty interoperable, meaning a lot of modelers will use Z-brush or modo, and export that ( also as obj, usually ) into Maya for the rest of the production.

However, Maya/Max are still the standard for most of 3d, so your instructor wasn’t lying. I wouldn’t throw away an opportunity to learn it, at least entirely.

Plumi is a dead fish. :frowning:

The think he, he actually develops rendering features for Blender to get the job he needs done and then we can play with it.

The volumetrics being worked on has features implemented according to what he needs for his current project.

Say there are deadlines in the industry, and those deadlines can’t be met when modeling in Maya, say deadlines are the only true industry standard, and that he’s a fool then slap him, then tell him to wake up. If the export to Maya, is good it shouldn’t matter.

You make out the teacher is a fool, he’s simply trying to make sure the students time and money is well spent, and that the teacher’s knowledge is effectively used.

An art school level animation course isnt going to be about edge-loop flow for effective characters and camera composition. It’ll be learning the software and asking the teacher lots of questions about where to find button X. Being a maya specific course, the student won’t get much out of it if he insists on using blender.

I just visited Blizzcon this last weekend and I pulled the lead cinematics modeling artist, Fausto De Martini (, aside and questioned him about his thoughts on opensource software and it’s place in the industry. He said, “Like Blender? Blender is a very solid piece of software.” He also was very clear that, “It’s the tool behind the keyboard that is important.” Other then that, he said, “It does not hurt to learn more then one package. If a company is using maya/max in the pipeline, it won’t hurt you to say you know it, and after learning any 3d package, the others come easily.” He also made it clear that at Blizzard, the artists come first. They are the ones who control what software is being used and define what tools they need. If they felt that Blender was the best software to get the job done, they would use it, but at the moment they are already comfortable in maya/max. (They just switched pipeline from max to maya). They also use Houdini for particles and Nuke for compositing.


I am in the fantastic position of working for a primarily Blender studio. We also have other commercial 3D software, but Blender is just so much more efficient to work with. Myself and one of our other Artists originally come from the games industry, and have years of experience with 3DS Max, but now wouldn’t think twice about which package to use.

Sadly Maya and Max are industry standards, and that isn’t going to change any time soon. If you are seriously looking at a career in 3D art then I would follow your instructor’s advice and stick with Maya.

Thank you all so much for the replies. I certainly know that I need to know how to use blender, but as far as working on a time-intensive project, I figured it’d make more sense to model it in Blender. I can do nearly anything in Maya that I can do in Blender already… but Maya’s workflow just isn’t as good.

I spoke with the teacher, and he gave me the OK in using Blender. However, I’m using Blender primarily for my final project (which is modeling a high-res World of Warcraft character), but I will continue to use Maya for the smaller weekly projects just so I don’t completely lose touch with it. I may be installing Windows on my Mac sometime just to learn Max a bit… or maybe I’ll just play around with it at school.

@LiquidApe: Interesting, and I’m glad you shared that with me. I’m contemplating on whether I should model a Draenei or a human mage. I’ll be using the official WoW action figures as my reference, which I’m excited about getting.

Even though i support and use blender i imagine it would be better to learn maya and then maybe use blender for things.

I’ve used the same language before, but not anymore. Looking back it seems childish now. Put it simply, why put all your eggs in one basket? What’s the harm in learning another 3d? Most of the times our dislikes stem from laziness, impatience. I hated Lightwave with a passion. I preferred 3ds max because I like apps with complete GUI visuals, ie, icons and menus to click, right-click sensitivity, obvious workflows, the works. Hard-to-figure hotkeys, shortcuts, whatever you call them could come in later.

Blender is much like Lightwave’s UI and workflow, but I had to learn it because it’s free. I couldn’t afford to buy those expensive apps for a mere hobby. Blender is home now. LW or 3ds max or all the other 3d apps that I tried would have been home too had I continued learning them.

@Pixel Sage
Your teachers impression of blender is probably outdated and ill informed. From his perspective having you use a different package could be a problem since he wont be able to help you.

Find out if your course requirements are to provide work in Maya.
95% Likely they are not, since education outcomes usually aren’t biased towards specific software packages.

If your confident that you can use blender without the help of your teacher, just do it :-), let him know your prepared to get help online etc and not expect he deal with blender3d specific problems.

Your teacher cannot mark you down because of using different software.

I did this in my multimedia course, was not a popular decision with others but got a job out of it before the course finished, leading to working with blender full time.

If your talented and work well with others, you’ll have no trouble getting a job either.

PS - apply common sense :- ) - if your there are group projects or assignments that need features blender dosnt have, better use maya :confused: