View Full Version : Maya pr Max for animation

07-12-2006, 11:55 AM
Well I have come to a rock and a hard spot, I've been animating in max 8 for about 2 weeks now just dabbling around with toher peopls rigs. I was wondering whats better for animating, Maya or Max. As far as better I mean ease of use but without lack of controls. So far since I've been in max it seems pretty good pretty well balanced as far as animating goes but I'm brand new so I might be wrong. I've never tried animation in maya besides a bouncing ball so I never messed with rigs and such. If you guys and girls here would give me a few cons and pros so I could help make my decision. I'm hoping to work at pixar one day so thats why I was thinking of learning maya but can I just carry over to maya from max or is there a huge learning gap. Thanks alot

Chris Sprance

Tak Tak
07-13-2006, 07:07 AM
I think Pixar has own animation software called Marionette... Anyway, just download Maya PLE and test. Max and Maya both are great softwares so no matter which one you chose, at least for now. Just animate and don't think if you use another tool you get job form X company. Your animation skill is "the thing" why X company want's you. Not software skills.

I'm not heavy Maya user, but there is much faster curve editor than Max. That's all I can say.

What animation software do you use and what do you recommend to those hoping to work for a company like Pixar in the future?
Pixar uses its own proprietary software called Marionette, built and maintained in-house. Be sure to research other commercially available animation software programs. Animation Magazine (www.animationmagazine.net) and the Animation World Network (www.awn.com) are good resources.

In general, at Pixar we look for broad artistic and technical skills, rather than ability to run one package or another. We concentrate on finding people with breadth, depth, communication skills and the ability to collaborate. If you have those attributes, we can teach you the tools.


07-13-2006, 03:46 PM
Hey Chris

It doesnt matter what you use, just concentrate on learning the fine nuances of acting. There are many many people who want to work for Pixar (including myself) but there is nothing wrong with aiming high, so get your head down and go for it.

I would recommend forking out for a course like www.animationmentor.com (http://www.animationmentor.com), this is a fast-track way to great acting, and all of the rigs are provided for you (in Maya format). Its expensive but the fastest way to Pixar quality animation in my opinion.

Good luck


07-13-2006, 05:36 PM
Hi Chris,

questions like 'Which package for animation?' have been discussed many times here in the forums. Usually they would lead to heavy flaming like 'Package A completely sucks', go for package B' or 'It's the artist, not the tools' etc. You will find many threads like that, so that for a warning. :)

Having said that, I would like to stress that an answer to which package to choose is not simple. It depends on many things:
- How much time do you want to invest in learning animation ?
- How much money do you want to spend ?
- Do you intend to work later on as a freelancer or in a studio ?
- Do you already have experience with other packages ?

In general, learning character animation is a very tough thing and working for Pixar is something that only very few people can realistically achieve. There are many stumbleblocks and one of them is learning to rig a character. Sure, when you work on a studio, the technical director will take care of that. Also, you can use some pre-rigged characters (which exist for many packages) and work with that. But at some point you would like to tell your own story with your own characters and then you have to start learning to rig yourself.

As Tak Tak pointed out, if you want to get hired by an animation studio, you will get a job based on your demo reel, not because you know a certain package. Knowing Maya doesn't really help you when your demo reel sucks. If you know how to animate, this knowledge will apply to any package.

Depending on how much money and time you have, I would suggest different options:
- With many $$$, go for a course like animationmentor.com and get Maya. In general, Maya is a very powerful, but also a highly complex program with a steep learning curve. One of the main reasons why it is used so widely is its complete customizability. This is important for large studios, but not really for an individual.

If you are on a budget, I would probably look for a cheaper and more accessible software. Some options are:
- Get XSI Foundation. This is the entry version of an industry standard program. For character animation, XSI is not worse than Maya IMHO. See www.softimage.com (http://www.softimage.com/) .
- Get messiah:Studio. Though not an industry standard, many people prefer this package for character animation over Maya. The rigging process is highly intuitive and except for a few quirks you can get good results quickly. See www.projectmessiah.com (http://www.projectmessiah.com/) for some sample animations.
- Get Animation:Master. This is a program specialised on character animation with a great workflow. Unfortunately it is rather unstable and not compatible to any other 3D program. See www.hash.com (http://www.hash.com) for some great animations. Among others, you will find Victor Navone's famous 'Alien Song' there - which in fact landed him a job at Pixar.

Hope this helps and good luck!

07-27-2006, 03:48 AM
csprance, that is one of the questions so often asked yet, not to sound too philosophical, that can never truly be answered by anyone other than your self. Tak Tak, sinbad and Suricate all gave good responses, but I wanted to also mention Blender- if you are not familiar with it blender is an open source 3d program thats getting a lot of attention right now and some pretty rave reviews. Its free for download @ www.blender.org (http://www.blender.org).

To give some insight to your question (though not an answer) I use max primarily but I've been playing with maya over the past few months. I'm biased - I prefer max and find its arrangement and tools for animation more powerful right out of the box, but with some knowledge of mel script Maya is extremely powerful as well. If you are just starting out and you've already begun with max, my advice would be to stick with it and shoot for results, get some characters moving, create a biped, which is as simple as creating a box or sphere in Max. Bring life to it. Don't bog your self down worrying about different packages. Once you start to get some results and learn your way around one package, then go ahead and pick up another if you like - they basically all do the same thing, but with different terminology and a slightly different work flow. Think of it like running shoes - you can run in any running shoe but only till you get in shape and run a few miles will you know which one is best for you- Have fun:thumbsup:

07-27-2006, 06:18 PM
You might want to check out the job market in your area to see what software knowledge is most requested. Where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area there are plenty of animation jobs, but you will find that over 90% ask for Maya knowledge with MEL scripting and Rigging knowledge being a plus, which is pretty software specific. Only a few ask for Max, and I have not found any that ask for XSI.

Don't make the same mistake I did my first year in college. I tried out a lot of software and liked Softimage|XSI the best and used XSI for class with the support of a few instructors. Then when this summer came I found that all the jobs and internships asked for Maya knowledge. So now I have spent the summer learning Maya and will use it throughout the rest of college.

Also, do don't forget to practice your traditional animation skills if you want to stand out. All the advice I have gotten is that potential employers will be more impressed with good traditional art skills than with purely 3D stuff. Some good software to check out for traditional animation is ToonBoom Studio and especially TVPaint Animation, it's like Photoshop with a timeline and particle effects.

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