What is the BEST 3D Software? Maya vs 3dsMax vs Cinema??

So I’ve been wanting to get into learning either one of these but haven’t really decided on which (mainly because I have no idea what differentiates them from each other). My main reason for considering using these software’s is to use them for VFX/animation purposes. Please explain which ones are best suited for me.

Nerd Rant: THE BESTEST 3D App - YouTube

I have some other little thoughts which I have collected over 30-40 years of trying to learn 3D which I will share with you now even though you probably don’t want to hear them haha. Not specifically directed at the OP, but anyone finding this thread in the future.

  1. Only novices fixate on tools[1]. The novice always wants to own the ONE TRUE piece of software which will spit out images like the ones they have seen and they want to produce images like that so the first question is always “what software did you use?”.

  2. Novices will get irrationally angry when the “software used” on an image is something like “Maya, Photoshop”. ARRRGH! they cry, Photoshop is CHEATING. They hate the idea that the image they’re looking at was comped and painted on and adjusted in Photoshop because that means their one true piece of software didn’t make the final image without this “cheating” at the end lol. Man that pisses them off.

  3. Novices will announce “look at this cool image I made with C4D!”. The master will simply say “look at this cool image I made.” You can be a master using any tool, and the master bends the tool to their will and will find a way to achieve their goal with, or in spite of, the tools they have available. For the novice, the tool is a major collaborator in the creation of a work. For the master, the tool is simply a tool to achieve the vision and the result would be pretty much the same regardless of the tool(s) used.

  4. The master uses any and all tools available in whatever combination seems to work for them. Even Photoshop :slight_smile:

  5. Even the worst 3d package running on the crappiest computer is orders of magnitude better than what we had say 20 years ago, and people back then found ways to make their visions real even in the face of renders that took hours on machines that never had enough memory with buggy software that had 1/100th the functionality we have today. It is a poor artist who blames their tools. There is no try, only do.

  6. Everyone starts as a novice and has to evolve through this period, just like any other skill that takes thousands of hours to master. Enjoy the journey.

[1] Ok, well, actually just about everyone loves to argue about which tool is best and everyone likes to hope that the next tool will magically improve their skills and workflow. Because 3D is HARD and always has been. But again, do or do not…

A couple last little tips in the learning 3D category…

  1. Save everything you do. Any time you start your 3D app, even just to doodle or try out some feature, save the resulting scene before you quit. If you leave behind no artifact of your work then there will be no record of your progress. Make a folder for your work and inside that folder create some sort of date-based hierarchy like 2021\November\ and save everything you do in that month in that folder (inside per-project folder inside there if needed, or whatever works for you). Then you can go back to a year ago and see what you were doing and see how much progress you’ve had in the intervening time. Again, without this it’s like it never actually happened. Even if it’s just crap tests and stuff it will build up over time and you’ll see that you have been doing real learning.

  2. The other big learning problem has almost died out now thanks to superior hardware and software. There used to be this thing I call “Render Disease” where the novice would play around with say modeling for ten minutes and then want to see what it looks like rendered, and not just what it looks like but how it looks in 4K HDR with 4000 samples, reflections, caustics, etc. and the end result was you would spend 10 minutes working and then 30 minutes waiting for a render and make very little progress. Thankfully Blender can spit out this sort of image in a minute or so and this is much less of a problem than it used to be. But you should beware of this sort of distraction nevertheless as it can still exist in some cases (fluid simulations, very complex renders, etc.) Try never to wait more than a minute for a test render (in Blender 3.0 you can put a time limit on progressive renders and use denoising and it’s pretty much magical how fast it is now).

As you are just starting off, I would suggest Blender but only because it is free.
3D concepts are much the same between each application, just the workflow changes.

You said you wanted to focus on VFX and animation, Houdini would be one of the few applications that can claim to be the best at what it does, (VFX) but its a tough one to learn.

I would start with Blender, as it is free, get to know 3D concepts first, focus on that more than Blender.
Once you have a good understanding of 3D I would then look around at the other apps, maya, c4d etc.

While blender is a powerful app, so are Maya and C4D, Max etc.
Only way to decide which is best, is to try them out, watch YouTube tutorials on each app to get an idea of how they would do similar things that you would do in Blender and then give them a try.

A lot of people on here will hate Maya, but the fact is if you take Autodesk out of the picture it is a great and very powerful application. (and would be a lot cheaper)

The reason I say try them all, is the saying “Its the artist, not the tool” is a load of rubbish and used way to much. (Not having a go at Zoot)

Its the artist AND the tool, You have to have the right application for your needs.

In no way is Blender as capable as Houdini for VFX, But it is more than capable of creating very high quality animations.

If you plan on working for yourself or creating a small studios I would say start with Blender and then add Houdini.

If you want to work for a large VFX company Maya and Houdini may be a better idea.

Hope that helps in some way.

Considering that you are trying to get a job in a studio, start by learning all roles from a game, animation or VFX pipeline. Do some research about main studios in the industry and specially those who are close to your location. Normally they have a careers section with job descriptions and which software is prefered. For example if you want to be an animator at Framestore, job require thorough knowledge of Maya. Big companies like Disney have intership programs, which also have some requirements.
You can learn all 3D techniques in any software, yet most studios have Maya at their core. Studio professionals won’t care about which software you’re using since almost all techniques can be transfered to other softwares, but in a real position you will have to perform using their tools.

the weird thing is to ask which one of these softwares is the best but you don’t cite Blender, why that?