I’m posting this here because it’s absolutely HUGE! This is THE Ubisoft AAA game studio…Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clany, etc…you may have heard of them. They have been a hardcore 3dsMax studio since their founding in the 1990s. Not to be confused with Ubisoft Animation Studios who have already migrated to Blender earlier this year.
The following is a copy/paste from legendary 3dsMax rigging expert and 3D professor, Paul Neale(Pen Productions) He has been a Max pro and user/teacher for 25 years. He posted this just today and it is pretty much proof that Ubisoft game studio will adopt a Blender/Houdini pipeline at some stage in the near future. Note: none of this is under any kind of NDA as it’s info from a public event. Also, the context/post is from the Max beta forums, but nothing discussed is under Adesk NDA. Enjoy
I thought that I should drop in here and ruffle a few feathers.
Blender has already caught up with Max and Maya in the eyes of the industry at a very high level. There is no point in discussing if or when, it has happened. Blender has many things that already surpass what Max has, a good UI for starts, great poly modeling, unwrapping, I can go on. No point in responding to this with a list of what Max has that Blender doesn’t as those that are using Blender don’t see those or don’t care about them at this point.
I just spent the evening on Wednesday at a faculty night put on by Ubisoft, one of the largest game companies in the world so the above is not my opinion, it is theirs coming from veterans of the 3D business that have as many years doing this as any one here. Multiple times in the Art / Tech Art session that I attended Blender and Houdini were mentioned as the future of their business as far as DCC’s are concerned. They did mention Max, they said it is not innovating and not keeping up with their needs, in many more words but that was the sentiment. Every one in attendance agreed and in fact multiple schools then asked how they should start transitioning to Blender and / or Houdini.
Houdini is already rooted in Ubisofts pipeline for anything procedural. The funny thing there is the example that they showed I can do in Max and they just never did it, how ever it was probably easier and more flexible in Houdini. This is an area that Max should have dominated in and they should have never been looking for other DCC’s to fill that hole. Why or how the ball was dropped at Autodesk, doesn’t matter, it happened and now it is Max that is going to have to play catch up starting from a bad reputation as the big bully in the 3D business that is stagnant, and no it doesn’t matter if that is true or not, it is what is perceived.
Ubisoft is starting to use Blender more and more for poly modeling, unwrapping tools. They don’t need it to do anything fancy really, nothing that Max doesn’t already do how ever it does those things better and for free. I guess you can argue if it is better or not, how ever, argue with Ubisoft, not me. At this stage they are letting their artists decide what they want to use and it really doesn’t make too much of a difference to them when it comes to game art.
At Humber college we have already started teaching Blender in the animation stream using it for the 2D tools. How ever we also now have as many faculty that want to teach Blender as Max and Maya as they use it in the industry. Three of our highly skilled faculty, two part time and one full time are pushing the use of Blender as we are seeing the rise of it. As a professor I need to ensure that I’m teaching students what will be the most used tools three years out, not what is most used today. Also we are in a position now that Max is taught only slightly more than Blender in our program and frankly could easily be replaced by Blender as we only teach modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering in Max in the first two semesters. I almost don’t teach it at all now as I use it only to create assets for games, meaning I’m touching on 0.1 % of the tools in Max that are way behind the curve in terms of UI and ease of use.
Many people here know me and know that I have been a huge supporter of Max for 25+ years. 3D artists world wide have learned techniques in Max from tutorials and forum posts of mine and time and time again over the last 25 years I have found my self telling 3D artists that Max isn’t dead or going to die any time soon. Although I still believe that, I can’t state in any way that it will remain as a dominant DCC application for 3D artists in the future as there are far to many companies like Ubisoft that are looking to other solutions and backing that up with donations to Blender and building pipelines around Houdini. And yes, after over 25 years as a dedicated Max user I’m considering dropping it in the classroom and replacing it with Blender / Houdini solution of some sort. And what choice do I have, the only large scale Max house in Toronto is telling me they are looking to other solutions more and more.