Some questions about Blender. (New user coming from Maya)

Im strictly talking about Blender core. I figure I should learn what Blender does have going for it without addons at first.
No addons. No 3rd party plugins. However if there IS a plugin that does something similar, feel free to mention it. I just want to know what I should and shouldnt bother with.

Does blender have similar re-topology tools like Quad Draw in maya?
(relaxing, edge loops, weld tool, border expanding, etc)

Does blender have similar UV tools like in maya?
(uv pinning, relaxing, symmetrical tool)

Does blender have any tools similar to the Shape Editor and Pose Editor?
Its a really nifty part of my workflow and the pose editor makes it easy for corrective blendshapes.

Does blender have a cloth system similar to ncloth?
If yea is it lighter? Ncloth is horribly slow but it does give results.

Does blender have a similar tool like Xgen?
Mainly for scattering geometry cards over surfaces.

Does blender have a graph editor or is it not that great?
I see alot of dope sheets, never seen anyone use the graph editor.

Should I bother with texturing in Blender or should I use an external texturing app?

I know blender IS NOT maya and I know people get pretty upset over comparisons but I am trying really hard to get used to blender. Some familiarity would help me out as I try to wrap my head around this beast.

I can tell you that blender have a lot of tools for retopo and uv, but i dont know maya perfectly to tell if have the same.

Blender needs plugins, is part of the ecosystem. Some great tools are addons, mostly free and with blender by default.

texturing in blender is great. For me is the best software to paint textures, but with substance this workflow is secondary.

Some of those good plugins cost cash which is understandable. I dont need much in terms of texture painting so thats good to know.

You’ll find a lot of what Maya does is in Blender. There may be a few things missing and there may be some things in Blender that Maya doesn’t have eg. Dyntopo sculpting.

I would look up how each of these processes are done in Blender rather than looking for direct replacements.
Blender has plenty of tools that you can use for retopo - Shrink wrap modifier, F2 etc…
UV tools in Blender are decent but I felt like Modo’s were better, not sure about Maya.
Dunno about the next two, but again Blender has decent tools for geometry duplication. (Look up dupli vert/face/group under object properties)
Yes Blender has a graph editor (shift+f6), you decide how good it is.
You can texture in Blender just fine.
Yep, Blender IS NOT MAYA, but you might be pleasantly surprised and happy about this fact.

I don’t use Maya. So I can’t give an accurate comparison, but I can link to Blender stuff.

Does blender have similar re-topology tools like Quad Draw in maya?
Blender you can use all the modeling tools with snapping and shrinkwrap for retopo. There is a popular paid addon called Retopoflow too.

Does blender have similar UV tools like inmaya? It's good at unwrapping but editing is fairly basic. It unwraps well enough that you usually don't need to do much editing beyond stacking/packing, though.

Does blender have any tools similar to the Shape Editor and Pose Editor?
I’m not certain. Blender has shape keys and a pose library if that is what they are.

Does blender have a cloth system similar to ncloth?
Here’s a BlenderGuru tutorial on making a flag. He covers most settings and can give you an idea of what Blender has as far as cloth.

Does blender have a similar tool like Xgen?
All the videos on Xgen look like hair? Blender has hair. Otherwise, you can distribute objects using particles and weight paint fairly easily.

Does blender have a graph editor or is it not that great?
Blender has a graph editor. I find it to be pretty competent.

Should I bother with texturing in Blender or should I use an external texturing app?
Depends on what kind of texturing you’re doing. It has texture painting capabilities, but it’s fairly primitive compared to other apps. I have (no shame) a hand-painted series if you want to see it in action.

  • Yes*. I mostly work with default tools (e.g edge duplication, ctrl / cursor snapping, sculpting(@relax)), but as others have said there are many great addons to further enhance it. One of the best ones that is included with blender is F2. Video:
  • Yes*. I’m a bit older generation Maya user where they had worse UV layout. Users preferred headus, roadkill or some other external tools. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much punch Blender packs. It’s different but it’s very efficient. Pinning is there(rarely if ever needed). Relaxation also (rarely needed, bit worse than Maya). Symmetry UVs is a cool feature of new Maya. In Blender you can simply use Mirror modifier(auto mirror UV) or for example later Scale duplicated part by -1 @ 2D cursor position. Addons like MagicUV might offer other solutions. All in all work with UVs is very fast, just minutes (e.g mark all seams on your mesh, press U for auto unwrap, pack/adjust - done ).
  • Yes*. Shape editor is a floater UI to what is referred to as Shape Keys in blender. Pose saving and editing should be there, I am not sure how the workflow is as I have not touched that facet of Blender in depth. Accessing these areas is different, I would argue that Maya FLOATERS are more efficient way of doing that. Can script similar floaters though.
  • Yes! Cloth of Blender is very fast and robust. Can be used with Modifiers (e.g subD lvl 1= cloth, lvl2= displace modifier with wrinkles). You’ll love it.
  • Not quite*. Xgen is very robust. In Blender you could either use Dupliverts, Particle based scattering or something like Animation Nodes (very robust). In other words It should be doable for most scenarios or with some effort.
  • Yes! Graph editor in Blender is super! Coming from max, maya user.
  • That depends on work you’re doing. If it is for realtime game asset then nothing beats Substance or Mari (e.g projecting). For non-realtime Blender is packed with shading nodes so you can create very elaborate networks and complex textures while being able to preview them realtime with Cycles GPU. It also has excellent 3D painting. All of that can be baked down for real time use of course.


 Good to hear that you are considering Blender as your tool. I am also started learning Blender very recently. Previously I was also using Maya as Major. One thing I would suggest you about learning Blender is , "free your mind" ..... don't ask "how I can do it , like I have done in Maya" ..... rather you should ask " How I can achieve the result in Blender" . 

Remember its just another tool set which works differently. Lets say in Windows we use ‘ctrl’ and in Mac we use ‘command’ . they both almost do the same result but both are very much different. when you start learning Blender you might face difficulties, but I can assure you… that is not “Difficult” … its “Different” …

I used Maya for around 10 years (from Maya 4) and still using … but honestly "Blender is quite “Different” you need to understand the philosophy behind it.

I know I didn’t answer any of your questions … but all you answers are hidden in my reply.


talk to me, i probably can answer most of your rigging and animation questions, Im an animator also came from maya, moved to blender about 4 years ago, now i work in both.

Hi Can anyone tell me were i can post to get on something particular in blender please?

Apart from ctrl+X/C/V is a very natural and easy to perform key combination, and quite common, hence why ctrl lies out to the side so you can hit it with your pinky, whereas there’s no easy and/or graceful way to do the equivalent using cmd on the mac. It’s the first thing I switched over when I started using OSX…