Similarity to Maya/3DS

OK, you’ll have to forgive me for this question, but how similar is Blender to Maya or 3ds? I have a book teaching me (from ground-up) how to utilize 3ds, but will it screw me up if I loosely base my learning of Blender on that book? Thanks in advance.

I’ve been using Blender for over a year, and love the interface and workflow. Recently I’ve tried my hand at 3DS (demo download) and can’t get over how slow and inefficient (mouse driven) the interface is. Max and Maya might have more automatic features and such, but the final material is totally artist dependant.
I hate clicking mouse buttons when keyboard shortcuts are available.

I’m completely green as far as 3d art goes and I’ve just started to muck around in Blender… however, I’ll throw this out there and if I’m off-base I’m sure someone will say so.

If you already have a book on 3ds then you could probably learn a great deal from it.

I am (was) a programmer. Often it is asked if knowing <such and such> language will help to learn <some such> language.

Programming is an art. It’s an art that is rendered through syntax and the use of logic. If you learn the fundamentals of programming and truly understand what you need the CPU to accomplish to give you your desired end, then the biggest hurdle to jumping to a new language is learning the syntax that language uses to make that happen and what its particular limitations are.

I feel that 3d art generation is much the same. If your book teaches some of the fundamental aspects of 3d design and rendering then you should, with some patience, be able to translate that to a particular application that you may have. It may take some elbow grease, but obviously it can be done as can be seen by some of the Blender galleries online.

If that book teaches you some light and colour theory and lighting techniques, some of the common terms used throughout 3d applications (such as vertices, faces, etc) and how they combine and compliment each other to create the amazing work you see on this site and others then keep on reading.

When you can, in your head, understand the fundamentals of creating impressive 3d models and environments then most of the work involved is done in your head before you ever touch an application. You just use the given app to execute what you have in your head as to how things should be created.

It is my impression that the best 3d artists have learned to look at objects in a completely different manner than most other people. They break it apart into its basic components and shapes noticing textures and reflections and are able to, relatively quickly, build a given object or scene in their mind almost as second nature.

Certainly a book that is specific to your application would be helpful, but surely there is some value in a well-written, comprehensive book regarding 3d art as well.

Good luck with it. I’m excited to be learning Blender as well… slow and steady, but learning nonetheless.

i distracted myself from the original thought I had that I was going to post. 3D is 3D. Vertices, polygons, edges, etc are the same across the board. Once you learn the theory of extruding, revolving, tracing, creasing, bending, etc, the tool you use is up to you and your wallet. My wallet is slim, so I choose blender.

I started out using 3ds max (& reading max-specific books), but now use blender exclusively. So from my experience, here’s the answer:

Read the book, but read blender-specific docs (avaiable online) at the same time. As you cover various topics in the book, search for related info that will help you to translate/expand what you learn.

If you know that blender will be your only/primary 3D app, focus on using that tool & you’ll become proficient much faster. But don’t limit youself . . . keep learning from whatever quality resouces are availble to you.

Thanks guys…I’m abit strapped for cash (meaning $0), so blender seemed the way to go. A’ight, I’m set!

Hi all

Just to put my bit in…

3D is most certainly 3D, and it is mostly math in its most basic form. What people do with that math to make a 3D app, and what people do with that app to make ART is where the differences lie.

I started out with Anim8or, then tried MAX, then learnt MAYA (via the PLE), and then decided to give Blander a go. The biggest problem I found is the vast differences in terminology for the same thing between apps- it really is a head ache! Thats why app specific docs are a must.

I will say this though, in my opinion (which isn’t very high of MAX), nothing can substitute an in depth learning of the fundamentals of 3D- cause they never change. I would recomend Maya for this, because it is 100% extensible and customisable, in terms if functionality. My 18 months learning maya enables me to do things in blender (when I find the equivalent function name!) quickly and effieciently without learning a whole new suite of functions and methods, mainly because I never found something that couldn’t be done in maya due to its huge toolset.

Blender is wonderful, both funtionally and philisophically, and unless you’ve got at least US$ 2,000, you can’t make much stuff with maya- but the archetecture is excellent for learning 3D. Plus- I’m a node addict!!!

If there are any die-hard Max fans here, please don’t take offence- this is just my opinion, and I don’t want to start a Maya vs Max battle- there are enough of them on !!!


I would agree with what has been said so far. You will need to use Blender reference materials for interface-specific things (like how to use the shaders), but can learn a great deal from, say, a 3DS tutorial.

Personally, I have found in the past that the 3DS and similar tutorials out there are often up to a very high standard which makes them a great resource. There are also a great many of them. It is very satisfying, I find, to be running happily through a tutorial that was written for a multi-thousand dollar program, but using Blender :slight_smile:

Good luck and have fun!