Art: Maya or Max,,, & why?

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  1. #1

    Maya or Max,,, & why?

    Need some feedback if possible from people who have used both Maya and 3DS max extensively. Here's the question:

    Which do you prefer and why?

    Nice and open ended question, give me as many good and bad points as possible if you would, thx. Tell me which you found easier to learn, which package suits a particular 3D aspect and why etc... was maya better for character modelling than max? is max more user friendly, anything really. Make comparisons too plz. Any info will be much appreciated, thx guys.

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  3. #2
    i am not a big fan of this question, and usually just avoid it. But i will tell you what you need to know.

    first off, it doesn't matter. you can do bad ass stuff in any app. and for that matter, why did you leave out xsi and lightwave, and, hell, houdini for that matter? so, just pick one, and go to town.

    secondly, you asking this question makes me think you are one of those guys that (a) thinks too much, and (b) like the technical side of all this more so than the art(there is nothing wrong with that) if the first assumption is true, see point one. just picj one. if you have bad ass 3d stuff, a company will hire you. if you are just doing it cuz it is fun and you have bad ass art, then it doesn't really matter what app you use to any one else. in which case, just pick one.

    thirdly, i fyou want a job in film, they like to see you can use maya or xsi, mostly maya at the moment. if you want to do games, put maya on your resume. once again, if you have bad ass art, then it demonstrates, usually, that you have control over your art's destiny. if this is true, then you could make bad ass stuff with any application. but some companies want a guy that hits the ground running, specially game companies. so it is good to know the software they use.

    so far as features go, it is said that maya is better for animation, max better for poly modeling, which is what almost everyone uses now. however, a lot of film companies still have nurbs patches in their workflow. maya is usually where the nurbs action takes place.

    in conclusion, just pick one. or, ultimately learn both.
    i hope this has been helpful, and i don't sound to angst ridden, he he.
    it is just that so many people worry about whether they should use max or maya, use polys or nurbs, animate in pose to pose or just straight through and so on. it really is a waste of thinking.
    i suggest you get demos of max and maya
    mess around in both for a day
    which ever makes the most sense to you...
    to note: all these apps may be changing very shortly, much like the time maya totally dethroned soft image.
    so don't get too attached to anything.


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  4. #3
    woah... wayoff with your presumption of me as a person who thinks too much and likes the technology more than the artistic content...!
    Don't crit' a person until you know them Zee.

    Why did I mention just Max and Maya? two reasons. Firstly, they're the two packages I'm using, second, u have to admit, they are the most recognised pieces of kit for 3D Cad at the moment.

    'i suggest you get demos of max and maya'
    As mentioned above, I already have them both. I was going to post why I asked the question but I left it out for a reason. I'm already skilled in Max, and have just got Maya. I just wondered if anyones had problems with them, learning wise and technically (which is why I asked for good and bad points). I was looking to see if anyone would mention things I've noticed about them.

    Personally I'm prefering Max still, mainly because of its user friendly design. It's interesting that my close friend prefers Maya though, we're both skilled modellers/animators but both have taken to completely different software. I would be interested to know if I'll have difficulty finding work in film because of this.

    Anyhow, thx for the reply zeebit. :chug:

    Last edited by Gavman; May 24th, 2006 at 09:13 PM.
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  5. #4
    ah, gotcha

    i hang out on irc, and that argument comes up a lot.
    i have sorta gotten sick of it

    i am a maya user, not a max user, but i can tell you what i know...
    (i am probably useless at this point)
    but now that i know what you are asking, more or less...

    yeah, maya is hard to learn once you have gotten good at max due to the workflow and how the ui is arranged.
    it is the same with learning max once you know maya.
    unfortunately, i do believe that it is more difficult to get a job in film if you have no maya experience... evern more so if you think it is hard to learn, simply because the systems that film companies use are often proprietary. so you are gunna have to learn something new, reguardless.
    however, it is also my belief, and since i am not in the industry, i could be totally off, that it really doesn't matter how you construct your models, polys, nurbs, what have you, because there is software that will let you go from one surface type to the next.
    but anyway, i just say this cuz i am a modeler.
    so far as animation is concerned, maya is liked due to its flexbility in set up. most houses have scripts that set up the bones as well as help with the rigging of the mesh to the bones. if you know mel, configuring scripts such as these are very helpful. so animation set up is very robust and customizable. that is the best part of maya. so far as user friendliness is concerned, maya is designed with intention that the individual user will set up everything to his liking. max, has everything done for you. in max, there is a mirror tool. in maya, you make a button or a script for it. it is real easy to do, but it isn't done for you. maya was built so that studios could customize it for the purposes in which it is needed. that is why the ui as well as the navigation is set up like it is.
    max is like buying an action figure, maya is more like buying some sculpey and some paint.
    it is very annoying at times.especially since it seems like there haven't been any modifications to the actual tools since version 2.
    just new tools that are fancy and mostly useless.
    i.e; there is no fall off tool. there is a script that helps, called magnets, but it creates history and has set up time. LW's dragnet is what a fall off tool should be like and LW had that long before maya came out. Maya's prop mod tool is an embarrassing attempt at a fall off tool.

    but anyway, i have no idea what you really wanna know.
    it would be most helpful if you asked more specific questions.
    i dunno if you are more into animation, or modeling or what.
    animation wise, i doubt their is huge difference. all the difference is in teh animation set up, not the animation tools themselves.
    if you wanna go into film...
    if you wanna model, learn nurbs patches,
    if you wanna animate, do good animation, heh
    and you should pick up perl reguardless, or mel more specifically.

    but like i said, i dunno what you really wanna know.
    you left the question very open ended and then got mad when i thought you were a newbie
    i apologize, but it would have helped to give some background info

    sorry for rambling
    i really should be modeling, he he

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  6. #5
    'but like i said, i dunno what you really wanna know.
    you left the question very open ended and then got mad when i thought you were a newbie
    i apologize, but it would have helped to give some background info.'

    No problem... lol... I'm not mad, it just makes me laugh at how many people consider you to be a 10 year old wannabe when you post a topic.
    I left the question open for a reason, I thought it may end in a bit of flaming, but hey, I don't mind.

    I really liked the idea of having a modifier stack on the right side in Max, but there's nothin of the kind in Maya I've noticed, particle stuff looks better in Maya though. I'll delve deeper and see if I can take to it more.

    I was very glad to find out that some companies only use Max for game development, atleast I may be in with a chance yet, although I would prefer to go into movie stuff. I have a fascination for visual effects, and I'm massivly inspired by Dennis Muren of ILM if u know who he is

    I wouldn't mind going into games either, especially for FMV, and it certainly looks like there's going to be much call for people like u and I in the future. With games consoles that start packin more graphical poke, I'd certainly like to be at the forefront of this

    Happy modelling Pete.

    Last edited by Gavman; May 24th, 2006 at 09:02 PM.
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  7. #6
    maya has a stack, it is called history, and it is that scroll looking thing at the top. which is really just a list of nodes.
    you can set up node networks with mel to create particular effects and stuff. It is pretty sweet.
    check out the hypergraph too. you can edit the history there too.
    i picked maya up pretty fast myself.
    but to get it running at speed, you gotta tweak it a bit.

    feel free to email me at if you wanna get on aim and talk er something


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  8. #7
    wait. let me get this straight, you have them both, and are asking us? decide for yourself! Use them both and see which you feel more comfortable in.

    reading other's opinions on the more complicated functions of each program can help a lot, but there are loads of sites with that information.

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  9. #8
    I was after a bit of public opinion Sparky. Its not the functions, I'll pick them up given some time.
    I'm getting along with Max fine, it's mainly Maya I'm struggling with.

    Last edited by Gavman; May 24th, 2006 at 09:14 PM.
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  10. #9
    Well, I can take a small stab at this. I work in games myself and have used both applications. I worked in Maya the longest though.

    I personally prefer maya for it's UI and workflow. I think that Maya has a much better workflow for managing large amounts of geometry and texture data. I've really found max to feel more like a cluge of new features wrapped around old code that seems to date back to 3ds for dos. Because of this, it seems like a lot of the newer features feel incomplete, or not "polished". The whole subobject material system to me seems very clunky and confusing.

    So far the only thing I've found in max that has been refreshing is some of the polygon modelling tools. All in all, I think I would much prefer maya myself. But, I think which ever tool you start in, seems to be the one you prefer. I find it's a hard sell to make a max user a maya user and vice versa. Both programs are similar, but different enough in processes that it makes it difficult to go back and forth between them.

    Just my 2 cents, take them for what they are worth

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  11. #10
    That's more like it
    Thx Space Rabbit, interesting stuff.

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  12. #11
    maya has more power, but is more expensive for the good package (unlimited). max is close but i agree kinda clunky.
    personally i prefer max, its what i learned on. but it really doesnt matter which one you use, any good artist will get the results he/she wants out of either program, and the program is only as good as the artist using it. If i was starting fresh i think i would lean towards maya because it does have a better workflow, and some stronger tools. but choose the one you feel more comfortable with and stick to it, once youve learned the basic principles of 3d you can use anyprogram its a mater of learning the interface.

    "But you aint got no legs Lieutenant Dan."
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  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Garland, TX
    this has already been said ,,so I will condince it for ya....

    3D like anything else is a tool. The creativity has to come from you. So the challenge is to complete your task with the tools your are given. Any fool can press buttons and do stuff,, but the Creative take it and push the limits of thier
    Imaginations ..................


    I am everywhere,
    I am Nowhere.
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  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    there all capable of amasing stuff, its just how you want to go about it, how you take to the workflow. Personally.. i would of gone for houdini.. but .. after buying maya 4.5 unlimited.. it was kinda a bit rough on my budget to do that. But its not a question of which ones better, i would try the demo versions of them all and see which one you take to. Of course they all have there strengths and weaknesses so it depends what you like to have the most. there are other programs people forget about though, Mirai, Universe and more. All perfectly good. Aventually i chose maya over all after using max and lightwave.. i needed the animatoin and NURBS tools that maya provided that the others did not.

    Is reading on the toilet multitasking
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  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    To say the least i agree with Zeebit on the first reply. I matters less whiich is better, it matters more which one you can use and create worthy stuff. I am a user of both programs and i favour none coz i like how both work.

    My Imagination is killing me!
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  16. #15
    I really enjoy using both programs, but if I had to choose I would choose Maya. For me the workflow is much faster and the texturing tools are outstanding.

    ..:: Knowledge is true power that should be shared by all ! ::..
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  17. #16
    hahahahhaa when i first saw your name i thought it said gayman. hahhaha

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  18. Greetings:

    I love Max myself, but that's because I learned it before I used Maya or Lightwave. Letting go of Max modeling workflow, especially if you use mesh alot will be an issue. It seems that for polygons(mesh in max) other apps just take forever to do simple things I do in Max. Really it's all about getting used to Maya's work flow. You''ll have to bite the bullet and in think in the way Maya works and forget about how you do things in Max. I go nuts when I try to work like I do in Max while using Maya, but that's my fault. Maya is pretty good but it will be hard to get used to because you use Max. Max and Maya are just as easy or hard to learn. Depends on the person. Later


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  19. #18


    Intelligent reply Chewbacca :o

    yep, I guess I've gone the same route as you aps-26. I'm thoroughly enjoying Max now, even using IK and wire-perameters more and more. Although I've got maya 5 on my PC I really havn't touched it, Max appears to be very user friendly and quick to work with which I admire it for. Looking at Maya i've noticed it has some very clever particle and special fx features, but it still hasn't lured me away from Max. Like yourself I suppose I should give Max a break at some point, and start looking seriously at how to work with Maya. It can only make you more employable I guess. If anything, I was kinda hoping that the knowledge i've gained from using Max would help me learn Maya faster... time will tell i guess. Thx for all the reply's anyhow.

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  20. #19

    Because... its better.

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  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Berlin / germany
    ah come on is that your argument for maya?
    maya has also its weak points... the strong points of maya are definately in rigging and animating this is so damn great compared to max, also the shaders and mel-scripting is great... but curently i see its weakest point in modelling, it just can't reach the Max Modellingspeed, not even with MJPolytools or CPS, those scripts are really cool but too slow to work efficient... I can't wait to the BPT (Byrons Polytools) in Action, this will give Maya great Possibilities and a lot more speed for modelling (:eek: my english sucks)...
    personally i'd stay with max because i'm more used to it... but the current price policy of discreet is crazy, so if you are new to 3d software go with maya its much cheaper and is a really great tool to work with

    bonus vir semper tiro.

    Steffen 'Neox' Unger
    freelance 3d artist
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  22. #21
    nah... maya was never geared toward poly modelling in the first place (which is changing) its much stronger at nurbs, and its subd's blow away anything max has got.

    Besides, add to the fact that you can do anything and much much more in maya with an average of 2 clicks when the same operation in max would require 12 clicks in obscure meaningless places, in an exact order for anything to work. You do one out of order and want to redo one step? Nope. Sorry, you gotta start over. That's my exp. with max.

    Max is a beauracracy

    Add paint effects to the mix and the fact that you can sculpt surfaces with your wacom stylus and you got a winner.

    Last edited by Grooveholmes; July 30th, 2003 at 03:48 PM.
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  23. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Dirty Jersey
    As already mentioned, in terms of the professional world and employers, it makes little difference which app you use as long as the work is good. Example: Pixar is known to use Maya, but many Pixar animators and riggers come from non-Maya backgrounds (ie Victor Navone used Animation Master prior to Pixar). Sure it's a benefit to know Maya if you happen to land a job in a place that uses it, but in the end it's all about the work. Which app you choose is nothing but personal preference and it shouldn't be based on anything you read here.

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