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Learning Blender vs Maya?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by squanch, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. squanch

    squanch

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    Yes! Another Maya vs.. thread, but the questions I wanted to ask didn't seem to be answered in the threads so here we are!

    Currently, I am using Maya, as I am a student I am able to get a free license. However, it seems to be kind of hard to find good tutorials with proper explanations that aren't outdated, Mike Hermes being the only Youtuber I've found that go at a reasonable pace and tell you what they're doing. But as I am new to modeling I have no idea if he is teaching me the right thing and methods.

    So I wanted to ask these questions:
    1. Which modeling program has the best up-to-date learning resources available (Youtube videos, guides etc.)
    2. Which has the best tools for the job (I get that Maya has a lot of tools, but I don't really seem to be using that many, is it really worth it?)
    3. Which is the best suited for game development (Making character models, objects, rigging etc.)
    I get that I could use a combination of the programs (Maya for animating, Blender for easier modeling) but I don't want to focus on the wrong thing when I could easily achieve the same effect using only one of the programs.

    Any advice would be appreciated! also sorry for yet another best 3d modeling program thread :I
     
  2. SunnySunshine

    SunnySunshine

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    I'm not sure there's a general consensus what is "best". It's up to you. Blender can definitely get the job done though, and it has a ton of tutorials and a thriving community.

    We use Zbrush for sculpting characters, blender for creating environment assets and setting everything up for the game engine (rigging etc). It has all the required tools for that.
     
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  3. Vedrit

    Vedrit

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    1) Probably Blender, being that the full-feature version is more readily available.
    2) That's really up to opinion. Having started with Maya, I'd say Maya, but... I think it's more about what you're familiar with at this point.
    3) Again, it's up to one's own opinion.
    I will make one suggestion, for when it comes to characters. If you want to quickly create humans, there's an open source tool, MakeHuman, which make the mesh, and optionally create bones and weight-paint it.
     
  4. squanch

    squanch

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    Thanks! I'll be sure to take a look at MakeHuman
     
  5. squanch

    squanch

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    Do you sculpt the characters straight from scratch or do you model a base to work around first?
     
  6. Deleted User

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    I personally believe Maya is much easier to get into and it's very quick to get stuff done, especially with HumanIK / transfers of morphs / skins.. Simple and effective deformers etc. UV mapping tools are ok too.

    I originally used 3DSMax but went over to MayaLT because it was cheaper and near enough does most of what I need, if I'm rendering any promo stuff there's a ton of other free options anyway.
     
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  7. mysticfall

    mysticfall

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    If you are going to use Blender, then you might want to look at ManuelbastioniLAB too. It's comparable to MakeHuman with arguably better models and morphs, and it's also integrated into Blender.
     
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  8. SunnySunshine

    SunnySunshine

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  9. cyberpunk

    cyberpunk

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    I like MayaLT actually. It has most of the features of the full Maya (at least those that are relevant for game dev) and the price is reasonable. I've tried Blender a couple times but even doing basic things made no sense. I'm sure with enough practice you can make it work, but it was too counter-intuitive for me to bother with. In terms of ease of use, I think 3ds Max is still the best, but the cost is prohibitive and Maya is overall just as good once you learn it.

    One other thing to note, most big game studios use Maya or Max. If you are looking to build skills and maybe get a job in the industry, you are better off with something like MayaLT over Blender since the skills you learn will directly apply to potential jobs you might want to apply for in the future.
     
  10. squanch

    squanch

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  11. squanch

    squanch

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    I've mostly been using Maya 2017 for all my work, as I have a 3 year educational license. Considering the comments I think I'll stick to working with it cause like you said about Blender, nothing seems to make sense. I've tried it a few times and Maya somehow seems easier.
     
  12. squanch

    squanch

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    I'm thinking I should just stick to Maya, people seem to be saying you should stick with whatever you're used to. I also like the Maya UI over the Blender one which I guess influences my opinion. I'll take a look at MayaLT pricing for when my educational license runs out though.
     
  13. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    I'll suspect that blender has probably got more beginner level materials on youtube... but then there are probably a dozen textbooks for Maya to a single blender book. Advanced topics are definitely in Maya's favor, though. I see them all the time without even looking.
     
  14. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    I would suggest to stick with blender simply because it is free. If/when you start working in a professional studio, then you could switch to maya. Your skills should transfer.

    Maya, as far as I know, has superior animation tools compared to blender (secondary pole targets in blender are odd), while blender works mostly as swiss army knife and has a bit of everything. For example, blender also has some functionality similar to zbrush, and I haven't heard the same thing about maya.

    While 3d modeling is not my primary skill set, I've been using blender for a LONG time, and at the moment have no reason to switch to Maya, especially now that perpetual licenses are no longer available.

    Regarding the questions in a list:

    1. I'd expect to have a problem with learning materials for both packages, although maya should have more books published, while blender should have larger number of videos. (I think there was also a decent blender course for blender on steam, which was also quite cheap). As far as I can tell, with all kinds of artistic programs and software packages, you usually end up with pile of disjointed unorganized information, and will have to spend a lot of time getting better at it.
    2 & 3. They're both suitable for game development and both can be used for making assets and characters. it is matter of your familiarity with the package.
     
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  15. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    I've been using 3D Max since 1999. My opinion is to pick a software and stick with it to become not just proficient in it, but to become intimately knowledgeable about all it can do and all its tricks, rather than knowing the common tools of any/every package.

    Modeling is a wash - all packages have similar tools and none of them have an advantage over the other.

    With that said - I think the best package available for most 3D work is Maya. It's rigging and skinning tools are better than all others, and it has an excellent material editor that will make you feel very comfortable using any other material editor, like substance or shader forge. Also - Maya has some awesome cross referencing tools for animating a complex rig (though not supported in any game engines) and paint fx are always useful (not game engine supported either).
    Mayas built in renderer sucks! but thankfully since they were purchased by Autodesk Mentalray is built in.

    Maya LT is built specifically for game development. It has all the tools needed to build game ready art, minus the renderer, and a couple other things not supported by game engines.

    With all that said about Maya - I think Max is the simplest 3D software to use (I'm biased). Maya has a tendency to kind of hide needed info and make the artist dig a little for needed menus - where as Max has all the needed information ready available in the tabs to the right, and tools at the top. The only thing I would say Max buries - like Maya does - is the complex rendering + lighting settings that are needed if you are rendering with a deferred renderer like Mentalray - high quality detailed, realistic renderings.

    This decision is best made by each individual artist - what feels best in your hands. ;)
     
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  16. Deleted User

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    @squanch

    It's $30.00 a month and that includes stingray (game engine) if you're at all interested.. @neginfinity, Maya LT and Maya have had sculpting tools in there for a long while.. Can't say any of them (Blender / Modo / Mudbox / Maya) beat Z-brush, even though I can't say I'm a fan of the UI..
     
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  17. neginfinity

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    ZBrush does not have an equivalent of dyntopo which is present in blender. That was a big letdown when I last looked into zbrush.

    Maya LT has limitations compared to full version, and it looks like some of them could hurt a lot.
    https://www.autodesk.com/compare/compare-features/maya-vs-maya-lt

    LT is restricted to 2 animation layers, missing muscle tools, some of the deformers, and everything in dynamics/effects and pipeline integration looks very troublesome.

    Overall, it looks like Maya LT may be actually inferior to blender, because at a glance it looks like blender offers features that are not present in LT and offers them for free.
     
  18. Deleted User

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    Can't say it does TBH, not sure what you mean by dynamics / effects pipeline? Although Blender is on my list to try again (as I have some arch tools for it and it would come in handy for things like cryblend (or whatever LY's equiv is (LumbBlend??) if the .fbx pipeline decides to be a pain), issue is I find it counter intuitive and you'll have to forgive me if I'm incorrect here but non-destructive workflows make like a million times easier and I didn't find anything in Blender that matched.. Maya has tabbed history and 3DSmax has stacks.

    If it's not a complete PITA to work with, I would seriously consider dumping Modo / Maya..
     
  19. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    The comparison page I mentioned says that Maya LT is missing nCloth, nFur, nParticles, rigid bodies and bullet physics integration. I'm not sure if nSomething is the only way to implement those in maya, but blender comes with hair/cloth/particle effects, rigidbodies and physics included and enabled. It is pretty much possible to use it even for cloth design, although cloth sim is much slower than Marvelous Designer's.

    The one really troubling part of the comparison is "Pipeline and integration" part, where it basically says that Maya LT does not have Python support, you can't load 3rd party plugins and tools, or design your own plugins.

    If this information is correct, then it is really, really, really, bad. In blender, obviosuly, all this is can be done by default.

    Now, regarding non-destructive/destructive workflow.

    Blender has modifier stacks, but those are not quite at the same level as what I saw in 3dsmax. Blender, indeed, excels in destructive workflow, like traditional box modeling where you slice/extrude faces.

    However, there are few exceptions here. For example, once you've decided your topology, you could modify mesh easily and save results as shapekeys. Mirror, Subdivision surfaces are modifiers, there are array and solidify modifiers, meaning that while at the bottom level you may be working on a mesh geometry destructively, half of the job is done by modifier stack.

    Blender also includes node based material editor, so on material level you can be as non-destructive as you want. It also supports volumetrics (if your machine can handle it). If you start working with particles, making grass and clouds, your workflow will be less destrcutive.

    ^^ Skip to 1:08


    There was one dude who tried to make node editor work with scene geometry in his addon called "Sverchok". I'm not sure if this one is still being maintained, though.

    Things you might find awkward:
    1. Pole targets on ik chains.
    2. The way UV unwrapping is handled. UV maps are part of mesh data, meaning you don't really ahve "UW unwrap" modifier, like it worked in 3dsmax.
    3. There aren't really any parametric primitives.

    "No parametric" primitives means that you can spawn procedural shapes, tune their parameters (number of segments, etc), but once you're done adjusting them, and move them even a little, they're "frozen" and are turned into mesh. Meaning blender is not the kind of tool you' d want to use for CSG based workflow.

    On other hand, there are addons like archimesh, which allows you to build houses pretty much sims style:


    Regarding sculpting, you can do stuff like this:


    ^^ That demonstrates dyntopo in action. Dyntopo workflow is quite close to using a voxel tool, although it still operates on polygons.
    -------
    So, basically, as a tool blender is incredibly versatile, and even though it has few oddities here and there, it is hard to beat the price.

    As for "complete PITA" to work with, you need to adapt hotkey based workflow. If you try looking for UI buttons for everything, you'll have a bad time.
     
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  20. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    @ShadowK:

    And speaking of blender, one thing I'm really looking forward to is the new realtime rendering engine called eevee:



    This is scheduled for the next version of blender, and pretty much uses equivalent of unreal shaders.
     
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  21. Deleted User

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    @neginfinity

    Maya LT uses Nvidia Physx, cloth / particles / fur / clouds is all done in the game engine anyway so I'm not really sure the need for it, today I'd make cinematics in engine too. I'm not making a movie after all :).. All I really need is a box modeller / rigger and animator.. Although the procedural bits of houdini do interest me quite a bit..

    Maya LT also has a node based material editor also just to note.. Also I should really give Modo another proper chance, hate the normal baking process (might use Xnormal instead) and some of the deformers are a bit sucky.. I understand the workplane workflow is good for animation but it's a PITA for modelling..
     
  22. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Well, blender can do that.

    Procedural clouds/fur/etc can be useful when you want to bake something. For example, blender has a smoke simulator built into it.


    Box modeling tools are very solid, in my opinion.
     
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  23. Elzean

    Elzean

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    My experience with blender after 1.5 year from knowing nothing.

    Background

    I was lead Flash dev in my last job, so i have mainly a programmer background. I did some level design early on in my career for console. Recently wanted to switch back to do some level design and ended up wanted to build my own environment models.

    Picking blender
    So about 1 year and a half ago i choose Blender because it's free, using youtube and whatever blog or internet resources i could find to teach myself. So far what i learn during that time is sculpting, low poly modeling, unwrapping, rig, animation, baking and whatever other small things that i needed so far.
    Note: During that same time i learn Substance Designer for my textures.

    Today
    Thanks to Blender i was able to recently release an asset pack (link in my signature). I now feel i can do whatever i need, i found myself a "style" that i'm comfortable with.

    Here are some screen (some are work in progress) of the result after learning Blender and Substance Designer using internet resources:








    s01.JPG









    So far i'm happy with Blender and there is many resources to help you learn it, hope this is helpful, sadly i can't compare with Maya as i didn't use it :/
     
  24. thelebaron

    thelebaron

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    Dyntopo is Dynamesh. Its been in zbrush for a long time.
     
  25. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    I have not seen a zbrush tutorial that demonstrates technique to similar to blender dyntopo when you can just grab a part of the sphere, drag it and have it extruded into horn which will be polygonized on the fly.

    People always have to periodically stop and trigger manual rebuild of the whole model (via marching cubes, I suppose) via a hotkey.

    Might be wrong about it, of course, but as far as I can tell, features are not identical.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  26. DominoM

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    Yep. To really see the difference in workflows I recommend watching speed modelling videos and comparing how much time is spent with mouse over UI components versus over the model. Blender tends to look a lot easier to use in speed modelling videos and it's use of hotkeys is key to that. Once over that initial learning hurdle Blender gets a lot easier and faster to use in my experience.
     
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  27. Teila

    Teila

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    Same here! I really like Maya LT after trying Blender. Blender is just not as intuitive, at least for someone like me. I started rather late and knew nothing about 3d modeling. Blender made me give up...Maya helped me succeed.

    I think it all depends on what side of the brain you use while doing your artwork. :) Maybe not, but it does feel that way. lol My daughter uses both as she finds Blender does some things better, while Maya does other things better.

    Be careful of that Educational License if you want to sell anything you make. My daughter used the educational license until we discovered that her work was marked with educational license. I could not remove it in my Maya version and when contacting the company, was told that items made with educational licenses were non-commercial only. That was fine...but that means she had to do everything over again. Just be aware.
     
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  28. squanch

    squanch

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    Thanks for answering! I've got a lot of advice/tips that I'm still reading through. I'm fine with not being able to sell anything as I am still learning and would most likely just purchase a license for MayaLT as it is cheap enough.

    Although I might be inclined to publish any games/models I make for free to try and get some more advice on the quality etc. Would this be fine on an educational license?
     
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  29. squanch

    squanch

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    I don't have much to compare them to, as a beginner. But those environments look really nice! and are definitely the kind of thing I'm looking to be able to do (as well as the sort of environments you might see in games like Resident Evil 7, or Destiny)

    I'll be sure to further look at Blender though, cause people seem to be recommending it for various reasons, and I want to try out all my options.

    I've also started looking at allegorithmic software, as they also offer educational licenses. What's the process behind making textures using Substance Designers? Do you have to have much 'artistic skill' or is it something anyone can learn if you put in some time? (Not an artist in any shape or form)
     
  30. Elzean

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    Substance Designer is a more logic way of creating texture, i think it is easier for non artist to achieve decent result. At least it is for me :p
     
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  31. MD_Reptile

    MD_Reptile

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    I've taken a class on maya and I've learned blender a bit on my own, and in my opinion (I'm a coder not an artist mind you) - Maya is "better" for me, because I find the default control setup more natural to use, and the interface to be a little more intuitive. But on the other hand, I do like blenders texture painting features, and think they did pretty good with that part.

    At the end of the day you personally need to get a trial/use both softwares (and 3ds max, and many many others) to really say which "clicks" for you, and in fact, what will probably make the difference is just which one you stick with and learn the most about. All of them are configurable to behave more like the competitors, and can kind of be customized to do the stuff the others do in most cases, but it all is up to your individual preferences and skill set.

    Good luck figuring that out in any kind of hurry :p
     
  32. Teila

    Teila

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    I do not know if distribution would be taboo as well. You probably can find the text of the license somewhere on their website.
     
  33. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Substance Painter and Substance Designer are two different programs for making pbr-based materials/textures. "Painter" relies on painting interface (similar to blender's built-in texture painter, but more powerful), designer is node-based.

    I would say that you need some basic artistic skill if you want high quality materials, but painter/designer simplify the process. Meaning you could, for example, drop a material onto object and make it look like unpolished silver (reflection, small detail on surface and all). I actually managed to grab both of them on sale, and then ended up barely using them.

    I would not call those "must have" tools, but it depends on what you're after.
     
  34. thelebaron

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    Whether you stop to manually refresh(which you do by dragging on the canvas) or not, its the same functionality. Nothing in that video showed me anything fundamentally different from using dynamesh in zbrush.
     
  35. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Recreating the whole mesh is very different than only affecting area you're working with.

    Well, grab blender, try it out and compare results yourself.
     
  36. thelebaron

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    I've used sculptris, I also own 3dcoat which has this. The result is the same with a slightly different workflow. While you can argue that the implementation is either more advanced or just slightly faster in say 3dcoat, I would never feel that I was technically constrained in any way using dynamesh. If you use blender and get results you want sculpting with it, thats great. But dont say that its some sort of vast difference.
     
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  37. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Meaning you haven't used blender. Look, dyntopo behaves differently compared to both dynamesh and 3dcoat.
    The primary difference is that level of detail is not uniform and can be constrained by feature size in pixels. This allows couple of tricks such as reduction of detail which don't really translate over.

    Meaning if you "want a 3d clay", well, it is kinda sorta clay-like.

    However if you're gonna say "it is the same", well, it is not. Zbrush remeshing algorithm pretty much rebuilds the surface using marching cubes or something similar. That results in rapid changes in surface topology. Blender doesn't do that, 3dcoat doesn't do it either. On other hand 3d coat being voxel tool will have less issues with punching holes in geometry, etc.

    Those differences are fairly important.
     
  38. thelebaron

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    You're too hung up on the technicalities of the software than what you actually do with it. If you were making the argument that mudbox didnt have some sort of feature that compares to dyntoppo, I'd agree. That video pretty much illustrates a very traditional workflow: guy starts off low res and works his way up to a higher res. The tech is slightly different, but the fundamentals are the same.
    While yes after a point you will probably want to turn off dynamesh and subdivide regularly, it doesn't preclude you from re-dynameshing and making other wholesale changes again.

    If this is really holding you back from picking up zbrush thats a shame. It's probably the one program Ill always happily endorse, although its price has increased since I bought it way back at 3.0, every update has been free, which is really something of an anomaly in todays software world.
     
  39. RichardKain

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    I think everyone should learn the basics of Blender. Or at least, everyone interested in 3D modeling should learn the basics of Blender. If Blender just isn't your thing, or the workflow doesn't appeal to you, you can hold off on digging deeper or becoming expert. But you should still know and understand the basics.

    The problem with more upper-tier, commercially licensed software is that the licenses they employ limit how you can use them. And circumstances may always crop up where you need access to some 3D software, but don't have access to your licensed software at the moment. Blender is open-source, has an insanely small footprint, and can be installed on just about any machine in a matter of seconds. This makes it the digital equivalent of a swiss-army knife. It won't always be the best or most efficient tool for a job. But once you know how to use it, you have access to it anywhere, no matter what. Learning the basics of Blender protects you against the unforeseen.
     
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  40. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    One thing that really holds me back is the price. I can't justify throwing hundreds usd at software, when I can create comparable results with a free tool using somewhat similar workflow.
     
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  41. SunnySunshine

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    I'm interested in this. What makes Maya's rigging better than others?
     
  42. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Maya is set up for non destructive rigging and animation, and the built in referencing for animation rigs - to my knowledge has to be recreated in other packages by hand - it's not just available to use like it is in Maya.

    In addition to that - Maya has a simple duel directional IK ability - which has to be created as a custom rig in other packages. An example of this is the ability to lock chest and children and lock feet and move/stretch the hips while both ends of the hierarchy are locked in place. This is very useful for pose to pose animating.
    Max has the ability to create the same custom rig from standard bones, but it is something that requires the rigger to know in advance what he wants from the rig and to plan accordingly.
    To my knowledge - in Maya this is an optional history independent system that will not destroy rigging already created if the artist chooses to incorporate it into the rig at any time during the creation process of the rig.

    It all boils down to speed and availability out of the box - to me. Any creative tech artist (rigger) can create any type of animation rig in any 3D package, but some things that need to be set up in Max and blender are just - there ready to be used in Maya.

    (I'm a 3D Max animator, I've not used Maya in years, and have mostly stayed away from blender because it just doesn't agree with my preferred workflow)

    Edit: I forgot to mention that new auto rig thing in Maya (a couple years old) that is mostly just perfect compared to blenders rigify rig which seems everyone has issues with, and Max's biped or cat rig - which needs to be edited from default values to work properly for mecanim humanoid. The skinning algorithm that they developed with the auto rig seems to be smarter than default skin modifiers in other applications.
     
  43. Deleted User

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    It's simple as it gets, it takes about half a day (at most) to make a decent transferable rig for bipeds ready to be animated.. HumanIK has automated control rigs which simplifies the process and effectors + pinning.. Check out some of the vid's it is somewhat impressive.
     
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  44. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    HIK - thats it! Thanks Shadow ;)

    To a wide swathe of 3D artists - this is the only feature blenders beats other 3D packages on - it's price. Pretty much all other blender features are 2nd or 3rd tier quality compared to other comparable features in other 3D packages.
    However I'll admit I haven't touched it in years - last time it was crash prone and was completely counter productive.
    One other - blender imports more 3D mesh formats than any other software I know of.
     
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  45. SunnySunshine

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    Ok, thanks for the explanation.

    To me, rigging (as in bone placement) hasn't been the main issue when it comes to creating game ready characters, but rather the skinning process. Granted, our needs may be different due to the nature of our work.

    Anyway. I just tried out auto rig in Maya LT (trial), and it did indeed manage to create a skeleton and skinning. It's hardly perfect - both the skeleton and skinning would require a lot of tweaking - but quite impressive non the less. Having to tweak the skinning after doing some auto-command has always been the case though in every 3D authoring app I've tried.

    What I really like about Blender are the radial and linear gradient skinning tools, together with the vertex selection and smoothing commands. I haven't seen any other app allow skinning to be tweaked in that manner. Usually it's just brushes, which are not as pleasant to work with once you've grown used to gradients and selection commands.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
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  46. Elzean

    Elzean

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Posts:
    584
    For blender you can rig / skin humanoid with Rigify it works very well and its fast. With some pratice you can also rig any sort of animals with it.

    Honestly i hated Blender shortcut at first but now i wish a lot of those shortcuts would exist in Unity.
    I would suggest to put the "Select" button to left click in Blender preference.
     
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  47. squanch

    squanch

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2017
    Posts:
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    I'll have to watch some videos on it or read about it, I haven't been too focused on texturing currently. Just been trying model various objects. I'll be sure to look at it though
     
  48. squanch

    squanch

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2017
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    I've also been using Maya, I tried out Blender and just wasn't a fan of the UI. I'm sure I would be able to configure it but like you said I think the default configuration seems quite fluid.
     
  49. squanch

    squanch

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2017
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    21
    Same, I get a discount as a student but I still have a very limited budget. I'm sure I'll pick it up at some point.

    Also, do you have any experience with Mudbox and is it any good?
     
  50. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2014
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    Creating the rig and skinning are defined as one task in my mind (rigging) because there are very few instances where a professional shop or a contract job will ask for these tasks to be completed by separate people, although for this discussion I agree they are both separate tasks.
    Max and Maya have provided these skinning methods since - forever, but I agree hand weighting vertices is the best (most tedious) method to get precise accurate weights for any model. Max's vertex blending (not using brushes) - sometimes works well, and other times is a waste of time. Even when it works well I always hand check/correct the weighting so it is accurate and doesn't produce odd skinning spikes and pinching during animations.
    Yes - it is very good and essentially does everything other sculpting packages do - just differently (but it doesn't have a z-sphere equivalent)
    If you are familiar with Photoshop layering and blending modes - you can pick up and be proficient in Mudbox's tools in under a day. No to say you can create something beautiful - but becoming proficient in the tools is the first step in being able to develop quality content in any package. Plus $10/month is a great price, less if purchasing for multiple years.
     
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