Trying to migrate from Maya-Vray to Blender concerned about add-on support

Hi all,

For many years, I’ve been watching Blender and I’ve been massively impressed by how far it’s come.
Once a year (just before my Autodesk subscription renews) I test Blender to see if I can switch from Maya-Vray. Until now I never felt I could, but this year I’m confident Blender can do everything I need.

My only remaining serious concern is that, native baking in Blender is not up to scratch, but there is an add-on called “the lightmapper” which is excellent and adequately plugs the hole.
However I’m worried that, because of the nature of free opensource addons etc, the developer (who I think is just one guy) might lose interest in maintaining the addon and It might stop working in the future.
Is this something that happens often? Might I be shooting myself in the foot by jumping ship from paid software to use software that is only maintained on the good will and enthusiasm of volunteers?

I assume you mean this one: which since the source code is all available, your worse case would be having to pay someone else to make any changes needed to make it work on future versions.

If you didn’t actually need any features added and only needed it to just work as is (due to some base code change in Blender stopping it from working), then since it’s 100% python, I suspect it wouldn’t be too hard or cost that much (especially compared to a yearly Maya license) to find someone who could sort it out.

Then of course it would still work in any older version, so while a bit of a pain, nothing stopping you from importing the scene into an older Blender, bake the maps and then use those textures in current version.


I understand your concern, and I also remember the heavy feeling of getting ready to jump ship.

These two main points will help.

1: If you stay with Maya, there will come a point in time where your blender add-on support concern will actually be THE concern for Maya itself.
There will come a time where that company will no longer support or even allow you to download or install the older versions and you will have no choice but to use the newer version that they will supply and approve of your usage on, and eventually there will be a de-sync with Maya and the developer of any mythical add-on you are obsessed with whom developer may choose not to continue working on.
When that happens, your current fear of what will happen if you use Blender will become a reality in Maya.

But what if you use Blender ?
Every, and I mean EVERY version of Blender right down to version 1 of Blender is available for download for FREE, you will never have to jump through license hoops to get it.
And since you will ALWAYS have access to whatever is the older version of Blender to get any equally old add-ons to run, you will…in essence, have an eco-system where an add-on never truly dies.

Imagine…an eco-system where add-ons never truly dies…Welcome to Blender.

2: After the old version of Blender has executed the old add-on that does its job, you can always open that blender file in the NEW version of Blender to continue.
The open-source nature of the add-on IS its strength, someday you might choose to learn Python and update it yourself if it matters that much to you, but again, it DOESN’T MATTER :slight_smile:
Because you can always download the older release of Blender to run it…

The very fear that you are having now…is actually a very real fear with your CURRENT workflow in time instead…

In essence, you are actually concern about the very software that you are using, and accidentally projected that fear onto Blender.


Welcome new Blender user, into the land of Freedom :slight_smile:

And let’s face it, Blender is now good, like really REALLY good, so much so that it is really on the artist now :slight_smile:

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You talked to me about shifting from blender to Maya to enter the job space because blender won’t get me a job.

So why are you switching the other side?

There aren’t “sides” here, per se, just different workflows and options. Maya may be better for getting a job, but Blender may have a better workflow for you. Because they’re not mutually exclusive, or even really competing, both of these statements can be true. Especially professionally - there aren’t “blender artists “ or “maya artists”, there’s “animators” and “modelers” and “riggers” in the professional world. Sozap- a industry professional here - wrote a really good post about the dangers of thinking of yourself as a “Blender artist”, if I can find it I’ll link it.

Here it is:

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Well, if the addon is useful chances are that it will stay maintained. Just like any commercial plugin.
In general updating addons isn’t a lot of work unless there is a really big change in the functionalities addon uses.

In general it’s ok ! You can think in terms of general needs. If something is useful to many then in general you don’t need to worry. There are a lot of probabilities that people will work on that or provide addons. Or that it will eventually get officially in blender (with a bit of time).


Often there are several addon options. So even if one of them stops development you might be able to use the other one.

Baking is not part of my usual work but I have used Bake Wrangler with good results. Perhaps try that as a backup.

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I initially thought that this was your thread about self-learners. I’ll answer anyway, sorry for going of topic !

Indeed many studios uses other software, especially big ones. Knowing at least a bit of different software (Maya, 3ds, houdini) might be important if you plan to work with these studios.

A misleading term I find is “The industry” , it’s really a plural term, and one rule may not apply to other cases. I know a lot of people working with blender, they just don’t work for big studios.
Some of them don’t work in entertainment, they do product visualization or archviz on their own and clients don’t care what software they use because they send them images, it’s stuff like this :

Some studios work with blender too but for now at least it’s a small part, so it may be more difficult to find a job especially if what you do is really specific.

That really depends in your priorities, if it’s just about working in CG no matter what the job is, blender can be ok. If your targeting specific companies, for specific kind of work then you should investigate on what software they use and what kind of portfolio you need to get a position there.

Anyway, for now if you’re more on the learning stage, the most important is to learn CG and how to make beautiful images. And you can use blender for that. At some point you’ll see if not knowing other softwares is an issue, you can always take a few mounts to concentrate on this. What is long is to learn how to make good images, transferring the technical part to another software may be boring but it’s not the most complicated.


I didn’t quite say using Blender instead of Maya would cause problems getting a job, I said knowing only how to use Blender and not knowing anything about the Autodesk products would hurt your chances.
My personal circumstances is I’m currently working as an indie game developer, so I’m not looking for a job, so I can choose whatever software I like. I’m fed up with having to give Autodesk and Vray a significant amount of money every year for subscription fees and having to deal with all the licencing BS. So if I can use Blender primarily I will. (I’m not 100% sure yet, still investigating)
(That said I still own a pre-subscription copy of Maya 2014, Vray and Phoenix, so if I need to use them I will.)

If I need to get a job at a studio again, I already have a lot of experience in Autodesk products, so it shouldn’t be a problem for me. (Although as time goes on my knowledge will erode, so I may need to brush up).

We’re at very different ends of our careers, I’ve been doing it on and off for 30 years and really now I’m just doing it for fun and pocket money. (I’ve got another career in a completely different field which I’m gradually moving focus towards.) On the other hand, you’re starting out and you sound like you’re ambitious to get into the “industry”. Well, like it or not, the industry has spent the last 25 years building itself around Maya and 3ds-max (and Houdini for fx). The studios have built their pipelines and proprietary software around those programs. The educational pipeline trains people in those products.

If you want to work independently like me then use whatever you like, but if you’re looking for a job in the industry you’ve got a much better chance if you have a grounding in the software the industry uses.

Oh and before I go, if you want an industry job, don’t think about software in terms of “sides”. That’s a common sentiment I’ve noticed as I’ve been lurking on these forums for years and frankly it’s bizarre (although understandable). There are a lot of moving parts that inform a companies decision to use a particular piece of software or not. I the early 2000s I was at Framestore and was distraught to see that they were still using the old Softimage when I wanted to use the shiny new Maya. I was quickly put in my place when I was told how much of the human and technological infrastructure was built around Softimage. So I shut up and got on with the job of animating in whatever software they told me to.
Don’t look for a job for a job as a Blender artist, look for a job as an artist who can deploy those skills using whatever software the company needs.