Why is Maya the industry standard?

Romanji - I’ve learned 3D on Maya and worked professionally two years in this program. I know how poor it is in freehand modeling while Blender is one of the best programs for that. If you include quite strong sculpting capabilities and modifier stack you get program that overshadow most of it’s competitors. Probably Modo is better in that but still.

Fweeb- Well. It was from the start. :wink: Let’s compare in civil manner.

Lots of software-based forums now ban X vs. Y threads now, because they tend to highlight the fact that every board has a group of people who get rankled emotionally whenever their favorite program sees its weaknesses and lacks listed.

BA though is a little more lax than most other boards (the Unity forums for instance see threads closed down immediately if there’s so much as a single post, sometimes even a single paragraph, hinting at an engine comparison).

I think A vs B threads can still be educational for new users - people just have to get over their ego.

Blender as great as it is also has some serious down sides.

Al comes down to what you personally or for work only need.

I think everyone should just keep in mind that “Industry Standard” has never meant “Best”.

It’s hard not to compare in these situations but I don’t necessarily think that when someone says “Maya is good at XYZ” they mean, that Blender sucks at at. Maya is a really great program. So is Blender. And I really feel like there is no Prefect or Best 3D program. Only the program that works best for you.

That being said, you need to learn Maya if you want to get a job in the industry. So in that case, Maya is the best choice in this specific case. :slight_smile:

But this really only applies to people who want a job doing something is that Maya specific. Like Rigging, or lighting a scene. For modeling, sculpting, UV Mapping, texturing, most studios let you use whatever you want. I would think that since Blender is free, it would make it even easier because they wouldn’t need to buy you a license of your favorite program. So if you’re just an asset creator and you can prove that you can make great models relatively quickly, I think you should be fine.

Compare Blender back then to Maya’s first version, no wonder NaN had a hard time trying to sell it (95 percent of every tool shown in the Maya video was nowhere to be found).

Blender can practically thank Autodesk for its ability to now be seen as a viable alternative (If Alias was still operating as an independent company, there would’ve been no chance in heck that Blender could ever come close to it and chances are many of the studios using Blender now would’ve stuck with Maya).

Heck, if Autodesk never existed and the three big players were still under their original ownership, chances are that Blender would still be groping around for a way to become relevant.

Industry standards not always mean something good, have you ever read about airplane electronics ?.
They are following a standard that is so old, thanks to regulations. That your laptop is 10 years ahead of what you see in a cockpit.
And i think that describes blender vs maya as well. Where Blender is that laptop full of spooky magic that shouldnt drive any company in the air that just wants to fligh high based upon industrial standards … let them fly, we know better right :wink:

It doesn’t matter if its a mediocre modelling program when it is the go to standard for animation. You comparing apples and oranges, a generalist approach vs a specialized one. If you where honest about it you would have to compare a complete Blender-pipeline with a Z-brush, Max, Maya, Houdini, Nuke, Final cut -pipeline.

You seeing things from your generalist viewpoint and judging it according to what you want, but you are unable to see that its just a viewpoint and there are other valid viewpoints on the whole matter. Maya does things other programs do not so well and this is the sole reason it is the standard. If it weren’t so another program would be the standard, simple as that.
Hollywoods VFX industry is all about money and efficiency. If there where a way they could do the same thing in less time or for less money they would do it. Its pure capitalism. They don’t, so there isn’t another way, ergo Maya is standard for animation.

Because we are humans. And humans do stupid things, like for example, using Autodesk products. Same example can be applied, for example, to people who uses Windows instead of a Mac… the fact is that Blender has nothing to envy from Maya or 3dsmax. Honestly. And in most aspects is far more intuitive than Maya and of course, 3dsmax once you are used to the interface and the workflow. The main problem here is that Autodesk products are a pile of sh13$· filled with glitches and dumb additions, and in top of that they are incredibly expensive for what you get in the final product. Again, people do dumb things, one of em is to use Autodesk products.

there is no such thing as “industry standard”.

Good luck getting an “industry” job with that line of thinking.

What industry do you refer to?

I any case, the only thing that matters to get a job is your reel, the quality of your work, if you target to work in Pixar (as a random example that comes to my mind hahaha) they don´t use Maya for animation, so no matter if you know Maya or not, and in any other company, if your work is good, the matter of knowing the software they use is secondary, in one week you could be up and working with no problem, so… I agree, there is no such thing as industry standard, just an illusion Autodesk tries to generate in students via the use of marketing, but the reality is that there is no standard, and Autodesk is becoming less and less unable to generate that illusion.

And of course my previous answer still stands… wich industry do you refer to?


In animation, it’s not very relevant : I recently had a gig using 3dsmax, which I hadn’t touched in 10+ years, and I was up and running in two days, tops (it’s a complete piece of shit of a software though). Same goes for modeling - whatever works and outputs the best results and merges well in the pipeline. However, if we’re talking about rigging or effects, or tool development, the software used is actually a very important point - Maya is a huge framework that takes time to understand well, and really in that case you gotta know the capabilities and quirks of that specific software. Same goes for Houdini.

Hi, just to add something to discussion but first couple things to clarify:

  1. I use maya as one of my primary tools for about 15 years, has a lot of experience with all programming APIs (mel, python, pymel, c++, pythonPluginApi). So So i think I’ve got some experience to speak about maya.
  2. I used enough of other software (Si, houdini, blender, max, katana and many more… except for C4d - really, I only know that it is cool but never used it myself (( ) in hardcore movie production on big projects so I think i could make some comparisons. ))

And so I want to say:
Maya (without tons of plugins) is one of the crappiest instruments I’ve used. At the present day it couldn’t stand comparison in almost any field to other tools: It’s modeling sucks ass compared to blender or modo, it’s animation MUCH worse than Softimage and in many ways even than blender. Default rig tools is ok (especially if you use motionBuilder in a pipeline), but it’s nothing you can’t do in blender right now. Houdini with it’s procedural architecture (maya has it too but made in a poor way :frowning: ) allows to make rigs lightyears superior than maya. FX tools is laughable compared to Houdini. Even with Bifrost (former Naiad) - they still couldn’t make real production tool from it in 4 (!) years!
If you’re going to try to build robust rendering pipeline around maya, even with great 3rd party tools like multiverse - it looks like inflexible crippled retard compared to Houdini or Katana.
Only way to add custom functionality to maya is writing code and this is another pain in a butt:
Mel - some horrible mutant … thing… having command line (sh or bash) syntax mixed with something like C and JavaScript mixed together in a very unintuitive way. It is easy enough to learn for simple tasks, but hard to write advanced stuff.
Python - default python integration doesn’t use main python feature - Object Oriented Programming at all - it is just copy of Mel commands. Although pyMel fises it in some way.
C++ api hard to work with and need awful lots of boiler plate code before you could write something useful.

Despite all those scary things Maya is still an industry standard. Not as much as it were 5-7 years ago, but still is in some sort…
And there are some objective reasons for it:

  • History. Maya was very lucky to be born in a time when other software has various problems. For example main councurent - Softimage was under Microsoft, who killed support for unix-like systems. And ilm, weta, pixar and other - all started to use linux that days. Also maya was really good by it’s own for that time. When I tried to use maya for a first time (after 3dsmax) I was overwhelmed by possibilities of how much I can do without tons of plugins - cloth, simulations, paint effects, hair. Now it is changed, of course - you need 3rd party plugins for almost anything.
  • Tools, big companies invested alot into custom tools for maya. And they still use them or develop new on their basis. It is actually huge marketing trick autodesk use: they show big hollywood movies like “king kong”, “avengers”, “hobbit” as things done in maya. It is in most cases these cool effects done not by maya developers but developers in studios who use maya only as container for their tools.
  • It still “good enough” for most of things and covers ALL areas. It has mediocre animation tools, but better than houdini’s and ok for most cases. It has bad modeling tools compared to blender but “good enough” to do the job and so on. Almost any area of maya is mediocre or even bad but people could tolerate that to “be in pipeline”. I’ve seen huge asset department where all artist just cry because they hate maya, but their head supervisor were strict about it - “use maya, or get fired”. And so they use it, and results are good and in time. So people will usually stop using maya when it is impossible to get desired result from it’s tools. That’s how, for example all FX are made in houdini these days - you just can’t do things like that in Maya.
  • People are lazy to learn new things. Especially animators. Almost all animation schools use maya to learn 3d animation. Animators just couldn’t imagine that there is something other than maya to animate. And if models are easy to exchange between software - rigs and animations - is not. So in most cases you HAVE TO use maya for rigs, animations, cloth and things like that. You could make fantastic rig system in houdini but you couldn’t find animators who could work in it.

But anyway, things are changing.
Modeling - in most studios nobody cares where you model as soon as all geometry are kept in standardised exchange format like alembic.
FX - nobody use maya anymore (maybe only some minor number of stubborn maya fanboys). I can’t remember any FX artist who tried houdini and then started to use maya again. And there is 3dsmax with Fume and TP - even this is more popular.
Lighting/Layout/Render - most of big studios a switching over to Katana or houdini these days. Maya still used for render only by some freelancers, very small studios or studios who develop custom rendering tools like weta.

So I think it is easy to say that Maya technically is industry standard for 3d animation. In other areas it is more of a standard as user interaction model: like left selection, alt-navigation, QEWRTY for transform tools, pie menus and so on. Many new software copy maya workflow just to be more familiar for users.

As for me I haven’t been using maya actively for almost a year now and it is happiest time in my career )). Yes, it is still used as meer animation tool in my team’s pipeline but I already starting to slowly migrate to blender couple next simple projects.


Maya took hold early on, in my opinion and hindsight, due to its animation features and programming api.

However, dont assume that Maya is the whole industry, because each studio/company/whatever has their own needs, and are most likely using multiple packages. Even in the early years, Lightwave was strong in broadcast productions, 3DS Max was visualisation, architecture and games, TrueSpace for enthusiasts and Blender for…well Blender was for stubborn open-source fantatics( hail to all you magnificent basketcases out there ). There are of course others that found their share of the 3D package market, but we’ll leave it there.

There is no reason to ditch Blender just because you might be required to use Maya at work. Like all the employers out there, you know what is best for you. Just go with the flow and accept that your employer has their reasons to be using Maya.

Agree with that, but will this be a reason strong enough to just learn Maya and ignore Houdini? I don’t think so, both are complex programs, but if you are a programmer you won’t find difficult to work with both systems, I did, is like progrmming in Unity or Unreal Engine, they are very different… but in the end you are doing the same so it’s not so difficult, and if you are a rigger… the same thing applies, you may need a bit more time to be used to it, but even if you don’t know a package, you can learn it fast enough if you are used to learn things and you are not fanatically tied to a package like in the old times, when artists seemed to have a blood link with their 3D package (I include myself here)… that is a marketinig nonsense created to for the adoption of a pacakge even if it’s not the best one.

But in any case, as I said… what industry?

People tend to think that character animation and vfx is the only 3D industry, when it is a pretty small industry, while Viz is a much bigger industry and there Maya is pretty unknown.


The Maya that you get when you pony up the required funds is NOT the same Maya that is being used in VFX studios.

“Vanilla” Maya is a pretty bland piece of software. It’s not all that great at a lot of things, and is pretty good at some things. “Industry” Maya is relatively unique to each studio using it. Those studios have poured thousands of man hours and probably millions of dollars into writing plugins, tools, and making changes to Maya that makes the software WAAY better in practice.

Maya is the industry standard because the industry has invested enough money into Maya to make most alternative software packages either unnecessary or obsolete. Maya will continue to be the industry standard until the industry moves towards something like Blender, Autodesk stops supporting Maya, or a company with Autodesk level resources releases a better product.

Again… what industry do you refer to!!!

VFX is not the main 3D Industry

it’s this whole “industry standard” mentality that I think is absurd…I stand by my statement, “there is no industry standard”.

With my experience, maya is only industry standard for animators. The people more hard to change the software in the world. If you pick a animator that have used maya a lot of years, seen blender (or other software) and they really hate any change.