Blender vs Maya

I have just read a post about open source software competing against the big commercial players and as I used to use Maya, but now use Blender, I wanted people to point out what major differences there really are.

From my first impressions of Blender, I am overwhelmed by how much it can do. NURBs, polys, subds, animated textures, blobbies/metas etc. I haven’t seen things like paint effects and particle effects yet but because of Blender’s plugin architecture, I’m sure they could be added if they’re not there. I couldn’t find very many plugins for Blender online, though. Is there a database or set of links to plugins somewhere?

I’ve nearly completely switched everything I do over to open-source: MS Office (junk) -> open office, Photoshop -> Gimp, Maya 5 -> Blender. The thing I think I like most is that Blender has v few bugs I can see. Maya has some interface bugs (loads actually) - I can’t even type in CV coordinates manually as maya crashes, I have to use MEL (I much prefer the more standard Python - I hate proprietary stuff). Plugins are insanely difficult to compile for Mac lower than Maya 6 and you have to pay $$$$ to upgrade. It takes ages to load and the interface is just not as intuitive as Blender. Even the Maya UV editor makes me want to punch my screen.

Has anyone else switched to open-source stuff from commercial? What have your experiences been?

Frequently, people point to an established player (like Maya) and observe that studios have not “wholesale converted their operations to” something like Blender. “Ergo,” they conclude, “Blender must not really be any good.” Not so.

Studios adopt the best-of-breed product available at the time they start a project, then use them literally for many years thereafter… in the same project! It is unwise to switch horses in mid-stream, and a feature film might be six years in rendering. Once a new project is started, again it’s economical to “stick with the devil you know.” So there’s a lot of momentum there, and a lot of that is financially based.

Independents, who tend to do much smaller projects and a lot more of them, are much more nimble than the feature-studios can be, and also more cost-conscious. I suspect that you’ll see a lot of them using Blender now, and ever-more-so as time goes on. (But they might well hold onto licenses for other products, so that when customer-X wants to build on a previous project, the same tool used for his first effort can be used again. “Converting” anything usually doesn’t pay.)

And I don’t really think that it’s a question of “product quality” anymore, nor “settling for second-best.” Blender rulez! :wink: And the open-source philosophy is really hitting home by proving just how rapidly, and how completely, Blender can change. “If there’s a bug, you can actually fix it.” That means a lot.

Yeah, I don’t think I’d ever want to use Maya again. I used to have it open all the time but I’ve just gotten so fed up with it’s quirks, I haven’t touched it for about a month. One other thing I absolutely adore in Blender is the linear zooming with the scroll-wheel. In Maya you have to do alt-rmb or something and it does a sort of exponential zoom (not mouse acceleration based but scene based) where I could be zooming fast through the scene but then it suddenly halts to a snails pace as I approach an object, meaning I have to violently move the mouse (quick way to RSI) and then it zips off again. Even Blender’s ctr-mmb isn’t nearly as bad - in fact it’s not bad at all but I prefer the scroll-wheel.

And you’re absolutely right, the fact that Blender is open-source, any bugs are (or at least can be) fixed quickly and easily. With Maya, my only chance to get it fixed is to wait on Alias getting an update. I’ve also been to their forum and their customer service sucks. There are people in there running about like headless chickens. But here for example, I can get help in a matter of hours.

and gimp 2.0 is almost as good as photoshop!(Excpet it needs more filters) :wink:

Gimp could also be more stable for WIN, especially when using the plugin(cant remember the name of it just now) that puts all of the gimp windows into one window so that it acts more like photoshop.

I cant say that ive ever used a peice of open-source software, aside from Blender, that ive liked as much as the commercial software I’ve used before it. Gimp, in particular feels clunky because it opens everything in seperate windows instead of combining them, and the plugin that ‘fixes’ this problem causes The Gimp to become unstable.

What I really wish they would do is just hard code that feature into the gimp…sigh…


Gimp, in particular feels clunky because it opens everything in seperate windows

Yeah, I know what you mean. The first time I’ve used Gimp I became so annoyed with that, and I just wanted to gave up on it. :expressionless:

I know people who’ve used MAX and have read numerous books on using it…

The point I want to make is that alot of people feel that blender has a learning curve or they think that it’s a difficult program. This however is not really true because I 've heard alot of those people say that after playing with blender for 3 months, they could accomplish more with blender than they could with MAX after numerous books and almost a year of frustration …

Maybe that was because they had the theory in their head from the books, but in any way… it proves again that blender is an amazing application… and once you know the ins and outs of 3D design… you can do anything wih it…


Well I started with Maya and I heard that it had a steep learning curve and I would have agreed at the time but I probably would have thought that of any 3d software. Now that I know the principles, most 3D software is intuitive. The tutorials for Blender are a bit better I think, though and I feel Blender’s controls are more powerful than Maya’s (in the sense that I can do what I want more quickly with all the hotkeys etc).

What do people think about Lightwave? I can’t stand it. The interface is so rubbish and there’s 2 separate apps for modelling and animating - how much of a workflow killer is that!

obviously Maya is the more powerful tool !!

but for small projects - blender is much faster ! it has a super workflow and you can do thinks with a few steps, whilst in Maya you have to open up submenus and do half a dozen clicks before you get there…

but in the end it really does not matter what kind of software you use, as long as you are comfortable with it

comparing always is difficult, it?s a matter of taste and needs
if you?re a farmer you don?t want a Porsche
if you?re a yuppie you would not go for the pick-up

big studios don?t care for the odd buck more or less, ass long as the output is right, Maya is industry standard for bigger projects, because it?s reliable and has a powerful renderman exporter, another industry standard
things might change when blender finally has a powerful renderman exporter( it?s in the works I think)
blender is good for some video work, stills, have not heard of it being used at big productions, but take a look at the amount of cg-artists involved there, they might have used it for the odd frame/scene

ok blender is buggy, but normally with closing and opening blender it?s fixed
and yeah:
Maya is 30 grant
blender is a 30 sec download :smiley:

I prefer blender, even so I try not to loose workflow with Maya

at the speed blender is developing now, it will be THE artist tool when it gets to version 3.0!!!

as to open-source tools:
as long as you get the same results…
gimp rocks…pshop is at 1500$
oodraw is cool…freehand sets you 1000$ back
scribus works…quark comes not for free

but again:
if you need professional tools, because you need professional output you don?t care spending a couple of grants on software, just as a plumber needs a van and tools, because you?ll get the money back!!
it?s an investment

as for now, most of us here don?t do cg work as a way of making a living
so we use blender because it?s free and it suits our needs
it?s a hobby (even so we see us making shrek3 all alone), it might be for presentations at university, at work, etc. it?s definately not for a 300million$ production (as for now)
(XSI, Maya, max, Houdini, and every other professional tool out there have free learning or valuation versions…so go ahead have a try and see that all of them only cock coffee with water…even so they promise the world) :wink: :wink: :wink:

wow…i got carried away

this can be explained very simple:

Lets assume Maya got a functionaility of 10000 points (random evaluation number) but costs 5000$

This means you get two points of functionality per buck (10000/5000). Some might call this efficiency factor.

Now lets apply this to Blender.

Blender might only have 1000 points but its … guess what … for free.
And 1000/0 is still not defined in mathematics ^^

So in terms of financial efficiency Blender is the non-plus-ultra out there.

Another thing is the exploiting factor. It’s much more probable to exploit 50% of Blender functionality than 10% of Maya.

Whats the point of a programm which you already waste 1 year for to see every menu?

As long as you don’t have to do real professional stuff like commercial animations, Blender is the better choice.

Just look at some stuff of @ndy, which was made with Blender but can compete with most “professional software generated” work out there.

The most expensive part of any project is labor. That’s right, you are expensive! A copy of Maya for an animator to use might cost $5,000, but that animator (including salary, benefits, and overhead) might cost more than $5,000 the first month of employment; and that all over again every single month thereafter.

The fact that a Blender license is free is … wonderful. But what makes it rock is the fact that it does the job, certainly for video work. The fact that it’s constantly being changed and improved and fixed is even better.

I heard a couple of people saying that Maya is the industry standard and that it should be used for high end CG stuff and Blender for hobby work. Does that mean that Blender is not capable of producing similar quality output to the best of the likes of Maya? I would have thought that with Blender being open source that it would at least have a larger developer base than Maya so most of the same functionality should be there.

Also, Blender is mainly just a 3D modeller. The output quality mostly depends on the quality of the renderer. I’m sure that if someone writes a script to export Blender scenes to mental ray that the quality of the output would be identical to what Maya can produce.

Actually, I didn’t realise how good mental ray was until I checked this link out:
go to the gallery and see what it’s been used on.

But as impressive as that is, I bet Blender with POV-Ray could do just as good. You have to remember that a lot of the high-end stuff is tweaked with complex compositing pipelines to make the images ultra-realistic. Like someone already said, because Blender is open-source, its development progress will be much faster than Maya’s and one day it will rule them all.

Alias has full time R&D people working on new features. People with a lot of diplomas and expertise (and high salary). The number of full time coders for blender can be counted on one hand.

Also, Blender is mainly just a 3D modeller.

Wrong. From the start and to this day, Blender has always been an all around package. Modelling, Animating, Rendering, Video sequencing. Pretty much all the steps of production (except for complete sound editing).


That is one thing that would be a BIG plus to add to the feature list. The abilitie to render sound along with an animation.

Alias has full time R&D people working on new features. People with a lot of diplomas and expertise (and high salary). The number of full time coders for blender can be counted on one hand.[/quote]
I, for one, hope that in the future this can be changed to:
the number of people developing blender cannot be counted on one hand.

base 2 works okay though
2^5 -1 = 31

Blender, Nothing is better :Z

Maybe blender will keep growing and growing and then in the end some company will try to buy blender… bye bye free 3d app!


Blender is GPL it could not be sold.

This can never change ???


read the GPL!