I have questions about Blender in a production environment

Hey everyone,

I have a few questions about Blender in a production environment - Games and CGI movies.

I am currently in the evaluation phase of looking at 3D package for a game development startup. I am currently working with a few people that have a past experience with Autodesk products (Max and Maya). I have a few questions about how blender handles things compared to these other packages.

Here are my questions -

  1. I know that Max handles everything on the backend with the render stack and Maya handles things through MEL/Python. How does blender handle everything on the backend?
  2. We currently use Topogun for re topology work. Does blender have any built in topology tools?
  3. Are the UI / hotkeys customize-able? We have people who have backgrounds with Maya and Max. We want to ease the transition for them.

Anyway - These are a handful of our questions. I will post more in the morning.

Thank you for your time,


  1. Not sure what you mean by backend. You can use python to do pretty much anything, the API is very extensive since it’s what blender uses internally to glue together all its C codebase.
  2. The snapping tools in conjunction with some modifiers allow you to use the standard modelling tools to do manual retopo quite comfortably, but there is no special retopology mode or autoretopology. The F2 and Contour retopology addons are also very useful.
  3. The hotkeys are. In fact there are built-in Maya and Max presets. The UI not so much, except via addons. I also remember an addon written by a Max user a while ago that made Blender behave more like Max in modelling. Can’t remember the name since I don’t use it myself.

That addon would be of great use to our team. If anyone can let us know where it is we would be grateful :slight_smile:

There are a few professionals using Blender who might provide some better information, but I use it in a game development environment and can speak to my experiences.

I’m not exactly sure what you are asking here. Blender can be scripted quite extensively using Python and most operations can be accessed through it. However, it doesn’t work the same way as the render stack or Maya’s command interface. You’ll need to be a bit more specific about what you are after here.

Like Topogun? No, it hasn’t got anything like that yet.

There is the Contours Retopology Tool for sale (though if you’re cheap there is their github for it, as Blender addons must, at this time, be GPL compatible). Also there are features of Blender which make retopology easier (snapping to surface, CTRL+Click edge/polygon creation, etc). However if you’re after the speed & functionality offered by Topogun, Blender isn’t quite there yet (though a dedicated effort pulling together various addons could get close).

Yes, it is possible. It will, however, take some effort to get it to work properly. Do not rely on the left vs right mouse button select setting (as it is buggy and inconsistent in areas). If, however, you get a close Maya approximation (perhaps after the pie menus are actually released) - I would be very interested in seeing/using it.

Look forward to them and feel free to hit me up via PM or email if you want information outside the thread.

If there are specific tools/UI features your used to having, then its not that big of a deal to add in a handful of productivity enhancements (own toolbar, menus, buttons, keybindings)… even some overlays on the viewport if you really want.

As for all-out making Blender mimic another application, thats a different story since you really need to become expert at many details to make all the modifications required. Maybe its worth doing if you have 100’s of users and a team of devs… but in most cases I’d suggest to stick to Blender defaults (with tweaked preferences), just extending Blender in areas which are obvious pain-points for migration from your existing setup.

(This is general advice, since you ask general questions, in each specific instance - my advice would vary depending on details since some areas in Blender are better suited to customizing then others).

Of course this isn’t all-or-nothing, You can start with a small set of customizations and extend & expand on them as needed.

Here is a very good and recent video on retopology with Cédric Lepiller (and his addon):

I was coming too from 3ds max and Maya. And After 1 years of experience I can tell the tools are so powerful (Sculpting, Uvs, modeling, GPU rendering, simulations, compositing…) that I even don’t want to hear about a 3ds max anymore…

However I have to warn you, I chose to use the maya’s shortcuts in the blender preferences. And there are a looots of missing shortcuts. So with the time I built my own but it takes times sometimes.

Glad to have you on boat :smiley:

Wow, that retopology addon looks really promising!

Is there an English version of this video? My French is horrible and tuned more to the Quebecois accent.

Blender is a very capable tool for game development. I’m a game artist with 7 years of experience, 11 years maya user, and after having tweaked blender for a couple of weeks to make it behave more like maya (so I don’t twist my brain when I have to use maya at work), but still keeping what makes blender cool, I just made my first little modeling project this week end, and it went very very smoothly. After just 2 days of modeling in it, I actually like modeling in Blender more than in maya…

There are very cool tools, a knife/cut that works, a modifier stack, great retopology tools, handy texture paint and sculpting tools that don’t break your workflow by having to export and move to another software. And also, I got no crashes at all, after 8 hours of modeling in the same scene (that would never happen in maya). One thing I miss from maya are the marking menus, and guess what, they arrive in Blender in a week or so.

There is just one thing I don’t like in Blender: UV unwrapping. Really, it’s not great having to switch on and off sync selection. And the UV unwrapping that never stops unwrapping and moving your islands as soon as you mark a seam… couldn’t find how to get rid of that. Also you can’t clear a seam in the UV view, only in the 3d view? No easy straighten UV tool either. I would say it’s okay for organic geometry, but for stuff that need to be a bit more controlled, straight, etc, you might want to use another software…

Another thing I like with Blender is that when I find something annoying, I just google it, and most of the time I find an addon that fixes my issues, or at least a decent workaround. The community is big and helpful.

Thx for the link of my video :wink: Indeed, you have now english subtitles, not good, but enough to understand I think ^^
I hope everyone will see that blender is a really powerfull software for modeling, sculptg, uv’s etc.

But people souldn’t have to transform blender in a 3dsmax or maya version, you should learn blender with blender tools and UI.
It is really easy, I learned it in 2-3 days with the good tutorials.

The problem isn’t to learn it, it’s to keep working on maya on an everyday basis. Also, I’m sorry if I will hurt some blender fans, but the shortcuts layout is not smart in my opinion. Ok, it’s easy to remember, you think about what you want and use the first letter as a shortcut, but so many important shortcuts require you to let the mouse go to perform it, or just to move your left hand to the other side of the keyboard (Alt+M, Ctrl+L, Ctrl+I…). I prefered to change all that, sorry :stuck_out_tongue: But I love and kept X to delete, for instance :wink: