I am a sold-out Blender user, but - due to certain circumstances - had to go on a Maya course. (NOTE: this thread is not a Blender-Maya comparison, nor trying to slate other software: I am just giving a few [objective?] impressions).
I’ve been on a near-full-time 3-month Maya course, so I suspect I can speak with some experience (maybe not as a boffin). I was really looking forward to the chance to at last find out what all the Maya disciples were on about… and was even afraid that I would lose my loyalty towards Blender.
Firstly, Maya’s GUI is so vast and illogical that you don’t know where to find what. Even the lecturers had trouble pointing me to some tools I needed. This vast GUI is it’s own downfall: it doesn’t allow you to do things simply and quickly. (Unless, of course, you personalise the GUI for yourself with a lot of hotkeys, etc. (meaning nobody else can use it like you). Of course, one gets this for free with Blender - and it is more logical/alphabetical.)
After getting over the initial mouse finger trouble, my experience was that modeling in Maya really sucks:
It takes so many keystrokes/movements to navigate between the various views
When you select single vertices and try to use the navigator/cube to change views, it sometimes refuses - which forces one to deselect everything before you can change views… but then you don’t know which vertices you had selected anymore…
All-in-all, modeling is REALLY slow in Maya - and a PAIN!I also experienced a few showstopper bugs(?) in Maya 2008:
Depending on whether I extruded FACES or EDGES, the resulting faces interpreted the SAME texture differently.
During skinning, we twice had problems with weight painting, where the paint would not “stick” when you move to a next bone (i.e. it reverted back to the previous weight).
After watching an official Maya training video where Maya crashed and the narrator commented “Maya just crashed”, this statement became a classic every time Maya crashed on one of the students (and I’m not talking complex scenes here). We started with Maya PLE - and it was the worst culprit - not a good showcase/intro to Maya!My personal impressions: I find Maya EXTREMELY cumbersome to use. I was hoping that this cost would come at great advantages, but I cannot help but wonder what all the fuss is that is being made about Maya??? Sure, maybe it has some fancy features which we did not cover, but why do the basics then have to suffer? I think I can do anything at least twice as fast in Blender.
OH, give me Blender ANY DAY!!! I can’t wait to get Maya behind my back!
Fortunately, Blender is catching up very quickly with packages like Maya - at least as far as features go. I just hope the speed of Blender’s pipeline never suffers under that.
(BTW, the reason I had to learn Maya was that I want to set up an animation school and studio for an organisation, but - before I am allowed to do it - I am required to attend their internal “3D animation” (= Maya) course, which is run once a year. The intention is that I am going to be expanding it to a one-year course, with BLENDER becoming the core of the course, as well as for the studio.)
Blender has been a SERIOUS 3D animation for a while now. I keep on saying that Blender is an undiscovered diamond - I intend punting it and helping it get discovered in my small way - and I hope Project Peach and Plumiferos go a long way towards that too.