Full feature comparison of Blender and other programs

I’m doing a chart for a comprehensive comparsion between the majority of popular and useful 3d tools for animating, modeling etc.


The first tab is an overview, subsequent tabs are for in depth comparisons.

Please download the chart, and for programs that you are familiar with, for each feature set give an overall score (5 being the best 0 being the worst, or NA if unsupported). Each feature set has its own page for a more in depth evaluation. After you have edited the spreadsheet, please email it to me LetterRip AT gmail dot com, and I will merge it with other peoples updates and then upload the most recent version to the website. You are encouraged to add missing programs, feature sets, etc.


This chart has a couple of purposes

  1. To provide potential endusers an awareness of how good blender really is - (you mean blender can do that?) - in this way it can function as a ‘marketing tool’. (Ie the user can quickly find whether blender meets their needs or if it can fulfill a part of their needs).

  2. To provide developers ideas for things that other programs support that blender doesn’t.

If a feature is something that blender doesn’t support, I would appreciate it if you can do a screenshot of the feature as implemented in another program, or email me a link to an image, video, flash, etc. of the feature in another program.

Once things start to get filled in, I’ll export it in a format that can be directly viewable at the wiki.


I’ve uploaded an excel version of the file, and a pdf version as well. Also I’ve fixed some minor errors.




Here are the current overview categories, then each category has an in depth comparison

Modeling - Polygon Modeling, Box Modeling, Nurbs, Metaball, Sculpt Tools, Splines, Patches, Implied surface modeling,

Texturing - Brush support, Alphamap support, Layer/channel support, Presets, Animated Textures, Volumetric Textures, Procedural Textures, Image Projection, Tiling, UV mapping

Animation - Rigging, Motion Capture, Pose Libraries, Animation Libraries, Prebuilt Rigs, Synthetic Motion

Lighting and Rendering - Built in/Native Render, Speed, Accuracy, Feature set, Shader Support, Ease of Use, Licensing, Live Preview/Incremental Update, RIB support, External NonRIB? support

Simulation - Crowds, Cloth, Fluids, Fire and Flame, Smoke, Solid Physics, Soft body Physics, Hair and Fur, Ocean and Waves

Wizards - Heads, People, Cars, Animals, Terrain, Plants and Trees, Creatures, Architecture, Hair and Fur*, Cloth*

Scripting - Programming, Macro

Game Engine

Interoperability - Import tools, Export tools, Cross Platform, Embedding

Interface - Gizmo’s, Collapsible Pallets, Key bindings Configurable, Mouse bindings Configurable, Help System, Tutorials

Price Standalone

Price With common addons


I’ll give this a go and fill it in as best I can tonight after work, but I can only comment on a 3 or 4 columns there. Hope it’ll be enough…

Also, do you wish to compare the apps ‘out of the box’ without propietary addons? (ie Maya and MASSIVE, 3DMax 6 without reactor/smoke etc)

You said to email it to you? How about asking people to use the same subject, like “3d census” or similar to help sort your email?


(PS nice Sculpt Mesh btw!)

Hi Ben,

That is a good suggestion regarding the subject line, but I don’t think it will matter too much since I tend to not recieve any email with attachments of this sort. So I can spot them just by attachment…

Regarding the scoring - I had planned to have two scores one without plugins and one with native plugins only (as opposed to stand alone apps…).

So a score of 2,5 would mean without the plugin it scores a 2 with a plug it scores a 5. You can use whatever seperator you want. Perhaps include a text file with mention of the plugin?

Possibly the first score can include free native plugins (thus Blender could get ‘native’ scores from makehuman, lsystem, blender people, and sculpt mesh for instance).


what is the purpose of this blender vs $$$?

there have been enough threads about this VS and most ended nowhere.

i like modeling in blender in polygon mode but when it needs more deeper work its time for maya.

just my two cent.

Hmmm … I stated the purpose at the beginning

This chart has a couple of purposes

  1. To provide potential endusers an awareness of how good blender really is - (you mean blender can do that?) - in this way it can function as a ‘marketing tool’. (Ie the user can quickly find whether blender meets their needs or if it can fulfill a part of their needs).

  2. To provide developers ideas for things that other programs support that blender doesn’t.

As to your statement,

there have been enough threads about this VS and most ended nowhere.

This effort is both systematic and comprehensive, the threads I’ve seen have been largely disjoint and subjective in nature. This is a tool for end users and developers. Once this effort is completed, if someone asks how blender (or any other 3d software) compares to another, you can just point them to the chart.


it’s not a vs. thread. it is about improving blender (as you may know the next release stands for “animation”). LetterRip already announced this in the mailing lists; it is about porting cool features from other programs to blender. this is not to show which program has the most goodies, it’s about which program has a useful goodie, that could be ported to blender.

I think for it to be really accurate it would be needed to be done with people that :

a) would have real deep knwoledge of the software he is comparing with blender.

b) would have equivalent knwoledge in same areas in Blender.

c) had the time and will to do a hard worked comparison :wink:

This imho , is extremly hard to find. ppl tend to be practical, and mainly focus in one package. I am a kind of paranoic guy that use anything that reach my hands or which I purchase (have purchased loads of packages(dp3d, zb, xsi, Unwrap3d, amorphium , etc), I don’t use my money in other things ) and use fully, deeply free tools like Metasequoia and Wings3d.

For example, I have used Max at jobs, but…well I can only compare the fatures I needed to handle there. And which I have used in Blender.

Anyway, of all the features I could ask for Blender, the only one I really miss strongly is joint pinning. (and that one is in both Max Character Studio , and Softimage XSI, Mirai, and surely in Maya ) All the remaining, I can live with how they are or if they aren’t at all…Specially this is what any indie game maker will find when try to use Blender for just the char animation thing.

I would not be able to do a full comparison. Don’t know how many more people are like me, that use only each package in what really shines in his/her own workflow(mine is crazy, but is very comfortable/flexible for me). So full comparisons are tougher to be made.

Not hijacking the thread, just mentioning my opinion in the idea.

Other than that, I think is good idea, mainly for give new(which my be old in other packages) ideas to developers.

Overall, I think Blender is getting really good , lately.

well the VS threads are basicly pretty much the same only with different words. if i should compare blender with maya i need hours for maya to finish.
it is just impossible to get the feature list ballanced. thats ok so for me anyway. blender is blender.

i was not criticing anybody just throwing in my concern.
doesnt mean i am right.



I think for it to be really accurate it would be needed to be done with people that

Not neccessary. An individual can make a useful contribution to this list with awareness of only a single feature of a single program.

The scores are just general guidelines and are’soft’ at this point. Once the feature lists are filled in then they can start to be more solidly based (ie modeler foo only has x% of the common feature set for this class of modelers).

For instance there are three or four tools that I’ve examined their mesh sculpting tools. I’ll do a feature list, ie most support mirroring but not all support arbitrary or radial mirroring, etc. Some support alphamasks, others don’t.

So in the mesh sculpting tool category we’d have an objective basis for comparing ZBrush, Amophium, MaxSculpt, Maya Artisan Tools, Mesh Surgery, Sculpt Mesh, etc.

Even if an individual only posted features of a single one of the sculpting tools above, other individuals could come and fill in information on other tools.


I see, then. It’s a great idea. As each can give their input of, for example, how certain feature excells in certain software (while even the tool can be garbage in other aspects)

I may help there. I have been a bit paranoid for a lot of years on doing this search and use of almost a “feature-per-software”…
I could give my input on how much in love am I for certain feature in certain tool. Of course, I could bebiased but I can try to only speak of what I know well. For example, I usually just open my Truespace 4.3 (purchased) for doing booleans. But as usually I find other similar ways in wings, they seem to be the best booleans, but haven’t checked it really deep.

I downloaded those charts, and while I have an excell viewer, I don’t have MS Excell, nor any thing -i’m afraid- that opens the other format.

I could make a plain txt or just a post with a list of features that I think they really shine on what they do and how they do it. I’ll sure forget a lot, but could put at least some that come in mind.

I wait till you say me if that’d be valid, and where or how I do it. :slight_smile:

" (as you may know the next release stands for “animation”)."

HEY! How did I miss that!

Well, joint pinning may come then, at last… Indeed, I can make a comparison (I made even videos) between character studio(video made), xsi, Art Of Illusion (video made) diferent approachs…Undecided between xsi and AOI pinning aproahcs, both are quite good…

Hmm…I could say several things about character animation…

Chimera, I like a lot your points.

" it is about porting cool features from other programs to blender"

EXACTLY. That’s what I mean when I have got part in those threads. I have helped years with some well known 3d tools sharewware authors. And the help was often…"hey, did you see how that feature is done by x package?..they copied it from Y package, that already was in z…Well, I yet think x is the best implementation, but would become better with this and this " :slight_smile: hehe.

I am not in love with any package, but with the feature of a package. Seems that is the aim in this purposal, which imho is th ecelverest. As I have been carefully watchingin years, is what all houses are making ! :slight_smile:

Great idea! I am looking forward to the results, not just to see what Blender can do but also what the other packages can do as well. Hopefully you will get enough usefull input.

You can download openoffice for free


Which reads and edits both the open office format and can read and edit excel and other MS Office files.

But, if you like I will create a text version of the file and you can edit that. Would you like a text file that contains only the modeling tools that you are interested in?


you seem to just barely poke at the surface of my opinion

you can’t have a comparison based on features alone, and that some applications are better at some things than others

you have to have intimate knowledge of using all of the applications for several hours every day in a production environment using all features of all the programs [animation, texturing, uv mapping, rigging, modeling…] in order to make a truly informed decision

[no human can do that]

sure, features make a difference, but it isn’t really a “comprehensive guide” to the differences between applications.

kay, enough ranting. I’d personally rather read something that compares the different applications, then perhaps several things written by several people comparing different features and workflows. the latter would requre pretty much that the people judging had focused on just those two applications that they could make an informed decision.

[unfortunately, there are usually forces outside of the application which could lean the decision one way or the other]

you can’t have a comparison based on features alone, and that some applications are better at some things than others

Yes, but if you need features x,y,z and programs q,r,s don’t have them, then you can largely eliminate them from consideration. Similarly if you find out that program m and n have the features you need, then you can add them to your list of software to consider.

Or you might learn that combining programs m and n can give you the features you need that you thought you could only get with o.

This isn’t meant to answer the question which is best, or which should I choose, but to answer can foo be used to accomplish bar.

but it isn’t really a “comprehensive guide” to the differences between applications.

Which is probably why this wasn’t called the ‘comprehensive guide to differences between applications’.


“you seem to just barely poke at the surface of my opinion”

here I have a problem. English is not my language. Some expressions I don’t understand.

The fact is that i strongly disagree on the thought that a tool will make even coffee for you, and good coffee. That’s why I firstly don’t believe in just-I-use-one way of going, I just can think my self of a tool being better than the others if it constantly saved my neck in a production environment. That does not refrain me from knowing how much better would have been if this or that feature would have been as is in other packages.

Thinking a tool (ie: Blender) would cut it all for you, may bring a warm feeling, but is often not the best way to go.

max is imho the best tool for real time games, and even so, too often we where in the need of use other tools that were better in certain departments…

The main thing important, at least in production (and imho what works in production, at least helps in hobbies) is that a main tool is there to solve the majority of the issues/needs.

this happened with Max in 2 of the game companies I’ve been (the other was 2d, drawings, so , no max.)

Even so, I didn’t model organic models with it, but with Wings3d. And I’d have used Mirai if we have had it.

So, my point, I hope I have not messed it a lot, was that you can’t make really a full, honest and wise comparison of th ewhole thing. If that’s what you mean, I agree with that.

BUT…indeed, imho the key of getting the stuff done (wether is for achieving a nice model at home, or if for getting away from your neck the poisonous breath of your boss ) is…using each tool for what is best, quicker.

This way, I sometimes used my own purchased packages, free ones, or the ones at the company. I have allways done so , in companies , or at home, and seen great pros do the same.

ZBrush for normal maps, Wings or Mirai for organic modelling,Organica for metaballs… Ultimate Unwrap, Deep Uv or Max UVW editing window for Uvs, Painter or Open canvas for hand drawing stuff…

There was a need of sometimes model certain models which where quicker and more acurate with nurbs…there used to go my colleage, he uses Maya very well, and he was teh one to take care of that stuff…And so on.

Seeing how you have to give a demo for the publisher in 2 hours, u can’t play that much, and a working, quick and powerful tool is needed.

SOmetimes it’s been a thing of minutes… I remember sending a demo with almost seconds too late… really a pain to work so, anyway.

At home, much more relaxed, I see it’s the same…u do the stuff with what u see is easier, quiecker, mor eaccurate, depending on ur needs…you adapt your self, you learn lots of ways, and workflows.

Imho, indeed, all is about of workflows, in 2d and 3d. In the environments I’ve been, though, these workflows are not often shared…Often for lazyness.

So, I DO think ideal workflows, ideal features as how they work in certain softwares, is what make really a 2d/3d artist technically grow.

Of course, you end up sticking to a tool mainly , for being practical, as often the conversion will give much more work than what it worth to make stuff better in that other specific/dedicated tool…

But many other times it will worth to make a switch and get back later with the task done.

Hmmm…I think I may have understood badly , or…probaly letterip is interested, but I think (more reading you now) main Blender comunity, and perhaps developers also, is mainly about making it all with Blender. And there’s a right for each one to think it their own way, so…

BTW: I am afraid I don’t have a quick modem, and 65 megs for open office is too much…I don’t do anything that an office package do, so I don’t have it, neither the M$ one…Only have Word, as it came with the computer :slight_smile:
So, I wouldn’t be of much help there, either…
I have quite a spool now…have made a model and animating it now…they pay me…hehe. I mean, should not be posting this much here… I had already avoided it for a time, but vice is vice… :wink:

Anyway, I think the way that -not only blender- any package make huge advances, is…analyzing their problems, and looking how others came with solutions for same problems. 3d problems are all the same. You have lots of ways to face them.

So, I think the letterip idea, as I understood it, is quite good. I have noticed too many times that here the majority of people have not handled deeply other tool than Blender. SOme that have, I see how they’r quite have adifferent opinion about Max, etc…

Anyway, the comparisons per se, wont carry this anywhere…Now, teh comparisons on for example, how a feature is made, alone, yes that’s rather useful. In many cases is the key to improve.

I am learning XSI now, and may be coincidence but i see many analogies with Blender. I see other remindings of other packages in Blender, so it seems quite a number of developers have already taken these inspirations…

Actually, every package out there do so, and have a huge advantage over the ones which don’t…

So, I think a list of features, that shine in certain packages, explain how and why they specially shine compared on how (not to look an specific comparison here; I don’t really care much about the comparions, only when my own workflow finds the problem!) other tools usually make it.

An example : I love topology brush in Silo, but I prefer general workflow in Wings. In wings, I’d prefer it had some splines, a way to do booleans, and a better deal of non solid shapes…Does it means I’m trashing it? No, it’s my fav tool…is just I see things :slight_smile:

But well, I’d better get back to my animation task, hehe :wink: