View Full Version : Maya or 3Ds max - what should i learn

01 January 2007, 04:39 PM

This question must be asked here allot.

I've decided on a change in my Job and i want to learn 3D modeling for Game design and maybe short movies, (or maybe even product design or Interior design)

What should i be starting with, I've messed around with 3Ds Max a little in the past, I want to pick one product and get to know it inside and out. I want to be able to pick it up model anything i want..... (hopefully)

So in saying that once i pick one i will need to learn it, What or where is the best please to buy DVD's or even better get free Video tutorials. I've seen simplymaya and 3D-palace, I think Video tutorials are the best way to learn,

Any information would be very helpful
Thank you for your time


01 January 2007, 05:05 PM
Unfortunally, choosing the right program and getting it to know inside-a-out will not consequently make you become a modeller. I had to learn this the hard way myself. It takes a lot more than just knowing the program and the techniques. It requires practice!

See Maya? 3DS Max? ( I am considering going for Maya as well but obviously for no reason because 3DS Max didnt seem to put me at the limit yet.

I havent used Maya yet but I assume it is just on one level with 3DSMax - c'est just pareille - A bit more complicated as I have been told but that doesnt nessesary tell anything about its qualities.

Conclusion: You want to become a good modeller and want to start-in right into the right program? Doesn't matter! Become a good modeller first and draw a conclusion then (choosing bewtween 3dsm,maya,lw3d,c4d... there are so many).

Still, I hope some people may post comparisations between 3dsm and maya because that is an issue of intrest for me, too.

Regards, ManDay

01 January 2007, 12:18 AM
You shoud first look wich software is is used by studios, take look at CGJOBS hier on CG Society. Polygon modeling is similar in all applications, Maya has the best viewport navigation
and shortcuts for comands that you use a lot, very costumazible! Max has some more polygon tools than Maya. XSI- I tryed out for a week, and I find some great poly tools but I didn't like the viewport navigaton and the workflow. I think when you take the grasp of Maya, you can work very fast. Most of the games are done in Max or Maya.
I don't want to tell you witch of them is the best, I learnd first poly modeling in Max and
later in Maya, personally I like more to work in Maya. Anyway it's important to now poly modeling,
I mean you can start with any of them and later on switch to any other.
Try demos of Max and Maya, etc. Thats what I done.

For tutorials first use tuts you get within your application then you can find a lot on internet eg 3DTotal, CGtutorials, etc.
Great DVD's from Digital Tutors, Gnomon, 3D Buzz, you mantion 3D Palace, etc.

Forgive me my English, I hope this was helpfull and good luck;-)

01 January 2007, 10:45 PM
Tool is just a medium to achieve what you want to create. Few years back Maya is the best software in the industry but now almost all the 3d packages like max, softimage have a great tools. So, you can start learning any software you like may be maya or max but with this also learn the basic concepts of modeling, animation whichever thing you like to do. Like understanding anatomy is essential if interested in modeling.

Just choose any tool, all are gr8.

01 January 2007, 11:59 PM
You can choose to be a specialist or be flexible in the industry.

In my opinion, flexibility opens doors for new students of our industry. Once you get into a studio, production group, etc... you can specialize in whatever they need.

For example, Pixar wanted Maya modelers and you are a specialist in 3D Studio Max, the disadvantage is obvious.

Flexibility is important in the beginning in getting that first job. Specializing comes when fully immersed in the industry - should you choose to specialize in a category of skills.

01 January 2007, 02:05 AM
You mention that you might want to work in games and maybe interior design and product design. Off the top of my head I'd say that 3dsmax is a good choice for all those areas. 3dsmax is used widely in the games industry although Maya is catching up. There are a lot of different renderers for 3dsmax that will help if you want to produce interior design illustrations as well as production design illustrations. 3dsmax has a pretty good connection with AutoCAD which goes hand in hand with product design and interior design to an extent as well. So yeah, I'd say 3dsmax for now.

If you want to pick up DVDs, in addtion to the sites mentioned already I recommend ( They have very good and highquality DVDs.


One thing I've noticed though is that people tend to either love or hate the UI of 3dsmax and Maya. People who like Maya dislike 3dsmax UI and vice versa. Personally I prefer 3dsmax but since both programs have such customisable UIs, it's almost a moot point when you're more experienced and can configure it to suit your needs. One last thing that I guess I should mention is that 3dsmax has plugins and scripts up the wazoo compared to Maya. This is not necessarily a good thing but you can probably find a script that does whatever you need 3dsmax to do that it doesn't do out of the box. And if you can't find it, it's probably not too hard to find someone to write it ;)

01 January 2007, 08:27 AM
Since I have 'worked' with Maya for sometime now (I say 'worked' because I'm actually learning how to use it) I can tell you that Maya is a lot more complicated than 3DS Max. The main difference in my eyes is, that Maya offers a lot more tools to 'build everything from scratch' - almost everything you need to create a whole world is included - including a 2D-Canvas for painting and Tools to 'paint' your scene.
In the realm of modelling seems a lot more structured in 3DS Max. The Sub-Object-Level-Thing is a lot more accessible in 3DS Max since you can acess each Sublevel and perform detailed actions. In Maya you work on the more overall things and don't care about certain vertices or Subobjects/components.
In turn, where Maya is kept more general in terms of modelling, it is more detailled, complicated and specific when it comes to the administration and linking of objects. The dozen track-editors and hirarchy-views which are available in Maya can never be found in 3DSMax.

Conclusion: I think 3DSMax is a lot more better for the purpose of modelling certain objects (e.g. game-charachters) and for architecture-purpose - because of the already mentioned connection with AutoCAD. For modelling and rendering purpose Maya is the first choice.

Regards, ManDay

01 January 2007, 01:04 PM
Why do you feel that Maya is first choice for rendering? Just wondering since you have mental ray in 3dsmax as well and from what I've heard it has a better integration. Then there are the other renderers such as Vray, Brazil and Maxwell that are pretty damn good at what they do.

01 January 2007, 02:48 PM
Why do you feel that Maya is first choice for rendering? Just wondering since you have mental ray in 3dsmax as well and from what I've heard it has a better integration. Then there are the other renderers such as Vray, Brazil and Maxwell that are pretty damn good at what they do.

Well, actually I don't think that Maya is the first choice for rendering in general - but I think (as far as I can see right now - after 3 days of learning maya) it would be the first choice if you want to 'model and render' bigger projects.

Currently, I still hesitate changing from 3dsm to maya for several reasons:
-I have serious problems with the 'tool' mentality in Maya which make precise modelling virtually impossible.
-I cannot get used to interface - which is no accuse to maya but as I am a traditional 3dsm user it is just hard to me
-3dsm is a lot more easier and offers almost the same abilities than maya does. The node-technique which is used in maya is detailled but the administration which is used in 3dsm is already enough (to me)

Still, Maya offers some things that I miss in 3dsm. Exspecially the Painting and Sculpting Tools are something which can only be done through 3-party-plugins- or programs when using 3dsm.

I will see how it turns out to me. But I actually think I will stick to 3dsm if I dont get into Maya soon.

Regards, ManDay

01 January 2007, 07:29 PM
Hehehe witch one is better, the best one is one that enable is you to work fast and efficient.
Max is great but ther is no point to compare applications if you work and know only one of them.

ManDay, I know it's very frustaiting to learn a new application, as I see you are not new to 3d so it's like to learn a new langauge. More of them u speak it's easer to learn a new one, in the end you are getting bigger and chances to survive are much bigger.
Keep on learning Maya and do not forgret Max!

There is great book " Maya 5 Fundamentals" it has chapter for those how are switching from
Max to Maya it will make your life easer. After you can catch the defferences from new versions.

Maya has different logic so do the lenguages, once you get the Maya's logic, than the fun will begin. Wilkommen im welt von Maya did I spell it right:-)

Ah the rendering, Maya doesnt have Brasil rs but has RENDERMAN! Scripting in Maya as I know is considered the best in our small and fragile world.

Chek out the Nextool hier at Maya forum it's very Maxie.

And again my English, I promise i will improve it:-)


01 January 2007, 08:42 PM
Remember these words; "It is not the typewriter that makes a good book."

01 January 2007, 12:19 AM
Stare deep into this crystal ball, and find the answers you seek...

Which 3d App should I use? (

01 January 2007, 07:54 PM
No offense, but can somebody explain me why the industry prefers Maya instead of Max? (as I said: no offense - I am just curious)

01 January 2007, 09:47 PM
No offense, but can somebody explain me why the industry prefers Maya instead of Max? (as I said: no offense - I am just curious)

Because maya have a better viewport navigation, easy to customize, less crash in comparison to max, handle heavy scenes easily, better particle and dynamics system. Currently only think of these...:)

01 January 2007, 10:33 PM
Because maya have a better viewport navigation, easy to customize, less crash in comparison to max, handle heavy scenes easily, better particle and dynamics system. Currently only think of these...:)

(1) The thing about Maya I like is the space bar/hot box, but that doesn't mean Maya is better.

(2) MEL and Maxscript seem to be on about equal footing, however, Maya has been the one known the most for being the most custimizable, however, with Autodesk buying Alias, a lot of this will probably change.

(3) I do like Maya's dynamics, but Pflow and Afterburn seem great.

Having used Maya and Max for a while, I love modeling in Max but I like particles/dynamics in Maya. :)

01 January 2007, 12:16 PM
Well, its not a question about which software is good or better in features or performance BUT its just a matter of personal preference .
Great game have been made in all gr8 softwares like 3ds max , maya , softimage . So , we cant say one is better than other.
Its just that some likw working in one software while others in some other .This is just the case it may be for me .

01 January 2007, 06:17 PM
I've work as a 3D modeller for a few years and in this time I've used both.
My personal choice after these years... MAX.
I really don't want to come back to Maya, I found it very slow for modelling, even if you know all the strokes and keys and menus... is slower. This is only from the modeller perspective, it could be better for other things, but for modelling: MAX.

PD: I don't know why software comparisons are not allowed in CGtalk, it's very constructive.
"nobody knows several packages..." I do, and I like to compare them.
If we cannot discuss these cuestions here then where?

01 January 2007, 07:18 PM
I've work as a 3D modeller for a few years and in this time I've used both.
My personal choice after these years... MAX.[...]

I agree again. Although I am currently trying to learn Maya (because its told to be the more accepted in the industry) I would rather stay with MAX because in my eyes it is really more ... professional ... even if this seems not to be the right expression I cannot put it into better words. I think Maya has a great variety of tools and covers a broad range of possibilities to manage your very own personal workflow, though MAX, I suppose, offers a deeper access to the actual work you are doing.
Obviously, I cannot promise that my opinios is the only truth, especially because I havent worked much with Maya yet, furthermore because I guess I am a MAX-patriotic and worked with it for so long - but I think MAX offers a much more accessible interface for modelling, is very easy to handle and is the only way to realise exact work, too.

Regards, ManDay.

01 January 2007, 07:20 PM
I too have used both Max and Maya. Mayas' tools for particles and animation were a lot easier for me to figure out and use than Max. But for modeling, I will always prefer Max. The toolset has always been much easier to use and more comprehensive, in my opinion, than that of Maya. Oddly, a friend of mine who is a Maya guru, says she feels that the Max animation toolset is easier to use that Mayas'. Go figure.

I think render engines should be removed from the equation when deciding which you prefer. Lets face it, if an artist really knows what they are doing, the renderer is irrelevant. A really knowledgable artist, and there are many of them on this forum, can make the default rendering engines do things that would match the best output from the likes of Renderman or Mental Ray.

Someone above commented that Maya handles large poly counts than Max does. I found the opposite myself. Whe I as trying to build scenes in Maya, anything over 30K polys, would bog the scene down to the point of not being able to work, even when I cleared out my history, I still had problems. And don't get me started on what Paint Effects would do to the softwares response times!

01 January 2007, 10:41 AM

Well, they are both really good softwares, with differences. I use both and I think that the preference goes to one or the other according to what needs to be done.
Find out what the companies you would like to work for use and learn that software first. Max is not rellay very much used in Film, although there are exceptions. Maya is used for both games and film, though.
ideally, after you are confident with one software, try and learn the other.
Good luck to you.

Mr. D
01 January 2007, 06:26 PM
Well first off as both or owned now by Autodesk, and last I heard you'll see both programs being more and more integrated into the other; with the possibility of it become one program at some point (I think users of Max 9 will notice a number of changes in UI, animation, layer system... that seem more Maya like). Either program would be fine to learn.

If you have interest in specific companies you'd like to work for in the furture, check around to see what program they use for production.

Also demo versions are available for both, and both are at the Autodesk site, download and give them a try and get a feel for each. You may discover a preferrence of one over the other.

Mr. D

01 January 2007, 05:15 PM
No offense, but can somebody explain me why the industry prefers Maya instead of Max? (as I said: no offense - I am just curious)
One of the biggest reasons is how customizable Maya is with regards to the production pipeline through using MEL. For the freelancer, perhaps it's not as important. I've used Maya for a few years and like the work flow and UI. As someone said earlier, the massive amounts of plugins as well as renderer support in max levels the playing field. I haven't had the opportunity to work with max but looking at some of tutorials, I didn't really like what I saw of the interface—I suppose it's just a lack of familiarity—but may download the demo to try it first hand...the renderer and plugin support is what's enticing to me about max.

01 January 2007, 06:56 PM
Regarding the fact that Autodesk is now responsible for Maya and for Max as well, what do you think: What is coming first?

Max adepts most of the advantages of Maya (e.g. UV-Tex-Ed, Paint-Effects, etc. etc.)
Maya adepts most of the advantages of Max (e.g. scrollable menubars and resizeable boxes, Build-in rendered material preview, etc. etc.)

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2007, 06:56 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.