Notes to self about re-learning Maya (ignore this)

The best thing about Blender is there isn’t a disgusting amount of ugly, unintuitive, unnecessary, poorly placed ICONS. Every damned thing in Maya seems to have an icon. Having a menu with text and checkboxes is much better, for example all of the visual customizations of the overlays in the 3d viewport. A few of these in Maya are good to have. The one good thing is they can show the state in the color of the icon. Blender could use that for the few icons it has, like “lock camera to view” should be clearly displayed somehow without needed to open the N panel to check it.

I do not miss having to click the arrows on move and scale widgets at all. G/R/S is heaven.

Being able to select-through objects in solid view always seems like a good idea as you’re making your own symmetrical model from scratch. But when you’re tweaking something complex someone else made, especially if it’s not symmetrical, it’s best to not have select-through unless you activate x-ray.

per-viewport view transform, gamma, and exposure is a nice thing to have.

in quad-view maya has too many stupid tiny icons in the header of 3d viewports. Blender has similar scenarios but you can always scroll the header side to side which is great.

It might be nice to have things like safe-action, safe-title, and resolution gate + mask (passparteux) more easily accessible in Blender without having to add a camera first. Per-camera output resolution really needs to be in Blender by default.

I rarely need a real “quad view”. I need to see front+back+perspective or top+bottom+perspective or perspective+right much more than I need to see front+right+top+perspective so I don’t really miss that at all. I also tend to want one or 2 of those really big and the other can be small and then put a uv editor in the corner and another one in the other corner set to view a reference image and another small one with the render preview and a light property panel pinned to 1 light and a regular properties panel and an outliner set to to only show lights that start with the letter B… etc… I like Blender.

The range of movement when using a widget for rotating or scaling down is so small, I don’t think I’ve ever used the scale widget in Blender and I’m certain I’ve never used the rotate widget. I couldn’t tolerate being forced to only use a scale widget. I’m watching this maya tutorial and they guy had to make multiple scale operations to shrink a cylinder down to the desired size.

I attempted to learn maya almost daily for several years… I thought I understood object “pivot points” and freezing transformations but apparently I don’t. I like how Blender always shows the “object origin” point. This guy just did a “freeze transformations” on a wheel that was nowhere near the world origin and that made the wheel translate values all go to zero but the move gizmo was still centered on the center of the wheel geometry and the wheel was still several yards away from the world origin. I’m confused.

I’ve had cats that I nicknamed Phong and Lambert… one died of old age.

I don’t think blender needs a “hypershade window” but it definitely needs a convenient way for us to see all materials in the scene and select a material and edit it without having to select an object that uses the material first. Editing materials on things that I’m using as collection instances is annoying.

I gave Blender a hard time about needing to “apply scale” in order for the bevel modifier and face inset tool and a few other things to behave as expected. It turns out Maya has a similar problem when doing UV projections.

People give Blender a hard time about the Middle mouse button… Maya’s usage of the middle moue button is even stranger in my opinion. Also, my left hand is really tired from having to press the ALT key so much. I remember in my early days with blender fearful that my hand would hurt from having to press the middle mouse button so much. It did, but after I got a mouse with a softer middle button I was fine.

Blender 2.79 might be “ugly” but it is for the most part a "better’ UI than maya in my experience ( 4 incomplete donut tutorials over 2 years versus 2003-ish to 2012-ish trying to get good at using Maya). Yes the limited ambiguous layer buttons were very bad and the “fake user” nonsense is illogical, but for a beginner, or someone who failed to make any real progress with Maya over a very long period of time, Blender 2.79 was really good.


The bend deformer in Maya, like in Blender, initially is unintuitive. You have to select the bend1Handle helper object and rotate it by -90º on the Z axis for it to behave sensible. You have to do the same thing in Blender but first you have to manually create a helper object and then tell the modifier to use that object. Then you can rotate the object, same as is necessary in Maya, and then you can bend things sensibly. Also the bend1Handle in Maya gives visual feedback relative to the bend settings while the “empty” objects in Blender give no visual feedback. This visual feedback on the helper object is extra useful if you happen to move either the helper or the bent object separate from each other.

“Grouping” in Maya (ctrl+g) automatically creates an invisible “object” and the selected objects become a child of that. If you don’t like invisible parents you can add a “Locator” object and use that as the parent. “Locator” in Maya and “Empty” in Blender seem to b exactly the same thing. All Blender needs is the option for Empties to be completely invisible and for them to be created automatically when you press CTRL+G. Maya auto-names the group parent object “group1” if you had objects selected. If you had nothing selected Maya names it “null1”.

In spite of all my prior experience with Maya, after making sense of Blender, the pivot points in Maya are confusing me.

I have a freshly created cube at [0,0,0]. I hold D and move the pivot point several hundred meters away from the geometry. The location is still [0,0,0]. I have to “bake pivot” for the moved pivot to be truly applied into the object. It seems these un-baked pivot relocations are saved as a part of the move tool data or something. This move-tool-pivot data seems to be stored per-object. It’s like a custom pivot point and not actually an object “origin” like in Blender. I have not found a way to show both this custom pivot point along with the actual object “origin”.

Panels… 3d viewport > Panels (last menu item) > Panel > Graph Editor. It feels like customizing the UI is either an after-thought or a second class citizen. This type of thing is V.I.P. Celebrity in the Blender UI. I wonder if this is a side effect of how the most basic adjustements of Maya’s UI would crash the hell out of it back in the day. “If they don’t mess with the windows, they won’t crash it, yeah…”

I sort of prefer the reduced clutter of having workspaces in a menu in Maya (lord knows they need to reduce clutter wherever they can) and my first thought is to wish for the same in Blender but then I remember all the times I renamed, reorganize, and reduced the workspace tabs in Blender for a specific communicative reason. So I prefer Blender as it is but I do wish I could drag/drop the tabs to reorganize.

Blender does not need any more damned icons. Plain text menu items and the search features are much more usable. There are a few icons that could use some extra shortcuts in a right-click menu on them but that’s it. There’s all manner of crap icons in Maya that are just clutter. I do miss the ease of use of the shelf in Maya but I do not miss all these damned icons.

The aiSkyDomeLight is an actual object in the scene. This is very useful for adjusting the angle of HDRI lighting. To get something similar in Blender you need to create a sphere and apply a material and scale it up. In my experience in Blender this approach causes a hell of a lot of noise that you don’t get with a regular background shader in the real World material. To get this amout of light angle customizability with the World shader requires just as many steps if not more.

…And now I can’t follow this intro to Maya tutorial any further because all the Arnold render stuff is not in my Maya…

persp, top, front, and side are actual cameras that exist in the default scene.

I have maya installed but Arnold is not automatically available. I opened the Plug-in Manager window and found mtoa.mll and clicked Loaded and got this error: “C:/Program Files/Autodesk/Maya2020/scripts/others/pluginWin.mel line 317: initializePluginfunction failed (mtoa)”

I clicked autoload and restarted maya and saw the same error when the Maya window opened along with this other one:

“// Warning: file: C:/Program Files /Autodesk/Maya2020/scripts/others/supportRendereres.mel line 67: The renderer “arnold” used by this scene, is not currently available. The “mayaSoftware” renderer will be used intead…”

I downloaded the actual Arnold installer and when trying to install it failed with these messages:

pitreg.exe - System Error - The code execution cannot proceed because VCRUNTIME140_1.dll was not found. Reinstalling the program may fix this problem.

LicensingUpdater.exe - System Error - The code execution cannot proceed because VCRUNTIME140_1.dll was not found. Reinstalling the program may fix this problem.

And now when I try to run Maya I get this error:

maya.exe - System Error - The code execution cannot proceed because VCRUNTIME140_1.dll was not found. Reinstalling the program may fix this problem.

This makes 3 years in a row I’ve installed Maya in January and by February I wasn’t able to use it for some fucking reason.

For some reason the first time the Maya installer installs Maya, it does not install Arnold. The 2nd time I ran the Maya installer thinking it would re-install Maya without me having to “uninstall” it first, it only offered to “install arnold”.

So I did that and tried to run Maya again. Got the same fatal error.

Uninstalled Maya.

You will need to install (vc_redist.x64 2015) (I think Maya is 64 architecture?). You can download it from Microsoft website that’s the package that have that file, and it usually installs somewhere inside your windows directory not in Maya installation directory. It should be bundled with Maya if it is a dependency, but apparently they didn’t bundle it…

Oh it’s more complicated than that. Every other autodesk thing I install via it’s stand-alone installer messes up a different visual c++ redist install. Had to uninstall all of them (which means I have to reinstall all my Steam games later) then reinstall the 1 Maya installer, then run the maya installer a 2nd time because it didn’t actually place the files needed for Arnold the first time, then go to the list of installed visual c++ redist and click uninstall but don’t actually uninstall, instead choose to repair them.

THEN after that I have a working install of Maya (and Firfox works again and Greenshot works again and another few programs that were all crying about VCRUNTIME140_1.dll) BUT I still didn’t have Arnold! Had to do more crap involving Python installs and environment variables and system paths before Arnold would work.

Just did this tutorial:

As much as people brag about Maya’s everything-nodes being non-destructive, there sure is a lot of totally destructive modeling tutorials. My Blender version is all editable modifiers but I did have a hard time matching the shape of the nonlinear flare deform.

:scream: Will, that sucks!!. Why are using Maya again? :crazy_face:. Just joking off course don’t want to ruin your thread with off-topic.

I found a hard drive I haven’t touched in over 6 years and it had some of my old Maya files and I wanted to look at them.

So there is something like a 3d cursor in Maya. You can go into vert selection mode, select some verts on a finger, activate the scale tool and then hold a key and move the pivot point from the center of the selected verts down to the base of the finger and scale from there. That’s literally what I’d do with the 3D Cursor in Blender. In some cases it is nicer to have the move tool arrows on that pivot in Maya rather than guesstimating where you click to put the 3D cursor. But in most cases I can thin of right now I strongly prefer having the visible 3D Cursor that stays put so you can use it several times with different objects instead of having to adjust the pivot point each time. Also you can get the move-tool precision if you make an empty and just position that wherever you want with the move tool and use… ok short version is you can do more and better things with more steps in Blender. If you understand those steps and enjoy having those steps as options you like Blender better.

I’m still amazed by how much I’ve forgotten about Maya even though I used it for like 10 years and how much I learned in my first year with Blender.

Modeling this simple shape in maya today:

I do recall snapping in Maya (x=grid c=curve/edge v=verts) being very nice. Now the single click to align an objects origin to a face, vert or edge is new to me and is very very nice. Blender should consider somehow reducing the number of steps to do the same thing. Blender should probably embrace the x,c,v,d hotkeys from Maya.

I cannot find any kind of edge loop cutting tool. Selecting edges and using connect tool instead. I recall the connect tool from back in the day, it’s like a much better version of J in Blender but it doesn’t have a hotkey.

I do like the shift+move widget arrow to extrude, wish it did the non-manifold thing.

I really miss the menu you get for deleting things in Blender.

I very much miss the hotkeys for vert/edge/face and the hotkeys for toggling between solid and wireframe viewport. The marking menus still feel, look, and ARE glitchy as hell.

I found “insert edge loop”. It wasn’t in the modeling toolkit panel icons. It was in the shift+right-click menu and the main menu, I just overlooked it.

SSAO and AA in viewport is inferior to Blender.

Every object has a “notes” field. I desperately need this in Blender.

The viewport viewing angle can be rendered without needing to add an actual camera object and the horrible amount of tweaking necessary to get the camera to actually match the viewport in Blender.

I like having an actual skydome light object within the scene… I’m not sure why yet.

Use the Multi-cut tool (you need to press CTRL when using it to get into loop mode)

I very much miss the hotkeys for vert/edge/face

Me too, so I created these as custom keys

Question: why do you want to use Maya for modelling? That’s an oof, yikes and eeewww for me.
I learned Blender to not have to model in Maya.
When it comes to animating its the other way around though. :laughing:

I used … opened Maya daily for like a decade. After making a lot of progress with Blender I wanted to go back and try again.

Fair enough, I am in the same boat, but I like I mentioned I concentrate more on animation and other things like grooming, lighting rendering etc.
I had tremendous fear and feelings of insecurity when starting to learn Maya over a decade ago. Opening it daily and doing some stuff is/was a good strategy to get familiar with the UI and workflow and loose those feelings.
I did something to my brain, like an increased affinity for learning and more confidence in my ability to overcome obstacles.
I would recommend this strategy to anybody.

More or less this is the story it boils down to every sort of subject.

In the beginning is supposed to be fun and games until 10 years fly away and you wonder “why the heck I am not at master level yet”.

Only the last few years I discovered the importance of the philosophy “get serious or go home”. If only I knew this back then I would have done 100 times more productions.

In the beginning is like you struggle to understand even the most basic thing, and after along time in the future is like you struggle to understand how to do the most complex thing. And you always struggle.

But now all of the struggle is in terms of management and efficiency, not a thing of learning.

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there’s a shortcut to align selection to view, I think it’s ctrl+alt+0

I know ctrl+alt+0 . I does not give an exact match.

To get an almost exact match I have to dig deep into the outliner’s blender file mode and find the dimensions of the 3d viewport I want to match. Then set the scene output dimensions to that value, then ctrl+alt+0 then adjust the camera focal length and/or move it back in local Z and/or tweak the sensor size. At every step I’m constantly switching back and forth between the viewport viewing angle and camera view to see how well they match.

Oh yes that’s right. What it does is align the camera to the view, it’s just orientation information that’s transferred. Focal length and sensor ratio are indeed left out. Looks like a pretty low-hanging fruit tbh ! It could use the viewport focal length ? although I guess that’s only valid for perspective cameras, other models such as fisheye need more information. And the sensor size, hmmm… don’t think it makes sense to derive it from the viewport, since it can be any size, right ? I know I wouldn’t want it to be included in “align camera to view”. Just tried and… it’s not an operator is it ? there’s no “last operator” popup for it. ?

In terms of workflow I’d recommend locking the camera to view first thing, so that you never have to do this back and forth.

You can do this in blender without using a camera, in the view menu there is the option “viewport render image” that does what its name suggests. The only thing you have to tweak is the output resolution as it uses the resolution + aspect ratio that is set in your output properties.
The other thing you have to do is hide the overlays if you want a clean render.
I just realised that this only works for eevee, sorry.