View Full Version : Maya

02 February 2003, 04:12 AM
With the price drop in Maya why arent there more pros running to it? From what the Eggington guys say - they use LW and Messiah. Why not Maya? Just think what they could do with Maya. That would kick major butt!

02 February 2003, 04:33 AM
I would guess it would be because, as the Eggington crew proved with A:M, it's not the tool but the talent that makes for great 3D.

Why spend $2000 or more a seat when the software you have is capable of the same results and without a learning curve?

From what I have read - Maya's greatest strength is MEL scripting/pipeline integration. A lot of people seem to think that because Maya is used in some production houses it must be the best thing out there (and no, this isn't directed at you Koon69 - there is a thread in the Maya forum about this). Truth is, as somone pointed out here previously (JoeW maybe?) that screenshots of their Maya workplace are barely recognizable as being Maya because of the extensive customization and few, if any, of them use Maya's renderer for output.

02 February 2003, 05:46 AM
Maya is not the all powerful animation program out there. It is very good at somethings however it is very complicated and has a way of making simple things turn into a complicated task. It is incredibly open ended so you can do virtually anything, but they accomplished this by also not making it too specialized. In contrast Max has a button for everything, in turn making finding the button complicated. Each package has their own strengths, and none of them are close to perfect. Hence all the workarounds and customization the studios do.
Plus switching packages means retooling-not only the added and likely unneccesary cost, and having to learn the new package but also making sure all your previous data is portable. A major project might not be transferrable, hindering ones ability to change over.

03 March 2003, 07:48 PM
I have read that messiah animate more responsive than Maya with the same hardware so that's a consideration as well. IOW, it's fast and you don't need to hire a programmer for complex rigging. I've never used messiah though.

03 March 2003, 10:45 PM
Nonproductive is spot on, Maya is good because of it's openes. Taking full advantage of that requiers several full time developers on staff or more (nice if you can afford it).

Maya is also very bad at some things. Rigging and skinning for one (AM is better at this), and the NLA is popped in there because everyone else has one. File bloating is another issue. And memory handling with big scenes can be problematic.

Also, it comes to more than $2000 extra. The Maya renderer is buggy and not that good, and the now "fully integrated" NOT fully integrated (it won't render fur, particles, paintfx or Subdivision Surfaces). So you would probably have to add the price of RenderMan licenses to the cost of Maya ($8000 a pop I think)....or you could do a lot of complex compositing.

Having worked with Maya since v.1 came out, it would not be my first choice for a small studio. What would be my first choice? I think I would need about half a year of research to answer that one. :-)


03 March 2003, 09:24 PM
"The Maya renderer is buggy and not that good" --ragtag

"Jonah" from Big Idea was rendered entirely out of the Maya renderer. Not to say that they didn't have alot of problems to overcome, but once again we come back to

"it's not the tool but the talent that makes for great 3D." --nonproductive.

Learn your tools, inside and out, if you can. It will only make you more valuable in the long run.

"Maya is good because of it's openes. Taking full advantage of that requiers several full time developers on staff or more (nice if you can afford it)." --ragtag

I will also disagree with this comment. I am far from a developer (programmer) but I am an artist with a technical flair, and the amount of time I have saved the programmers AND the artists on my current project is immeasurable. All because I took the time to learn MEL. The beauty of Maya's openess is that anyone with the desire to learn MEL, can learn MEL. We haven't had a programmmer have to write us a custom tool yet for Maya, I write the custom tools in MEL.
mike hovland
technical artist
midway games

03 March 2003, 10:48 AM
Yes you can get good looking images out of the Maya renderer. But it's still buggy. It leaks memory and it sometimes, seemingly at random, fails to render a texture here and you get a black object. I've been involved with rendering 2 1/2 hours TV series material in the Maya renderer...and we had a lot of trouble with it. It got worse when I was working on a pre-production for a film involving a character with Fur, PaintFX and Cloth.'re a developer lite, like me ;) I know MEL, it's cool, but there are some things that simply can't be done properly in MEL. A good quaternion orient constraint comes to mind (like in AM). It doesn't mean you can't do things in Maya (even without knowing MEL), but to get the most of it you should know both MEL and C++.

I've mostly worked with animation, character setup and skinning in Maya. And here Maya needs some serious fixes like: non-flipping weighted orient constraints, twist like constraint, offset constraints and the abitility to animate on constrained objects, smart skin :) , better non-linear animation, ability to model and key points on a skinned and posed model in world space, working joint stiffness, working joint dampening, better interface for blend shapes and inbetween shapes and more. Most of which haven't been touched since v.1.5.

I did an attempt at implementing smart skin (bodyShape.mel) in Maya, I got a working solution....but I think to get it done properly I would have to write it as a plug-in and learn more maths (calculating inverse matrixes of the skinning). Some scripts I've written are here (

I'm not saying that Maya isn't a good soft, it's just that it gets hyped too much as the GREATES 3d software around and as a great character animation tool. It is the best choice for some (esp. big studios), but definately not all.



03 March 2003, 05:02 PM
Just think what they could do with Maya. That would kick major butt!

For about a month, we put Maya through its paces. (I say "we" but I really mean Joe, with Brian and I starting slack jawed at the funny buttons.)

Then we got hold of a copy of the messiah plugin to LW. It instantly started to make a lot more sense. A kind of project workspace, channel editor right there on the bottom and a super zippy feel that Maya couldn't touch.

My opinion at the time we were evaluating Maya (3.0, $6,000 no Sub-Ds or fur), was that it was just too damn much. There are 50 gajillion ways to do anything in Maya. . . yet none of them are "quick and easy" for my artists to just get in there and do great work. Coming from AM. . . it was too complicated for us and produced only mediocre render quality. And the cost to support it!?! I about died when the rep started quoting me figures.

The cool thing is. . . with Messiah Animate plugging into LW, Maya, C4D and Max. . . we have the choice of DOZENS of renderers. Including Mental, Prman, Brazil etc. With FREE tech support and a development team that listen to its users with the goal of making it THE coolest animation package on the market. (Instead of pushing our requests off to the side as something "most people" won't ever use.). . .

I am very happy with our software choice and haven't seen anything produced in Maya, Softimage or any other package for that matter that has made me regret our decision. . .

03 March 2003, 07:23 PM
Some great feedback. I may be wrong but it seems that with the right angle practically any app can do what you need it to do. I feel that Maya has a great pr dept and they know how to push it. Dont get me wrong - I think Maya is outright cool - but so are other apps. Just like the folks at C4D. Since v6 they have been pushing it and now it seems everyone is a buzz over them. I am starting to think with the changes being done over at Hash with 10.5 and the renderer that they may be an actual option. Just have to make sure you know what your are doing.

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