Maya vs Max - Advice Needed

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  03 March 2013
Maya vs Max - Advice Needed

NOTE: This is NOT a duplicate post. I really need feedback and some good advice from users of both products so I have posted in both forum sections.

I am currently using ZBrush, Vue and Photoshop in my workflow and now need to look into adding either Maya or Max as well. After reading many topics and talking with others, I could use some good advice on which one would be the best to start with, given my workflow?

My goal is NOT to be in the industry or have it as a full time job, this is purely a hobby for me that I enjoy. What I mainly do is very high resolution, realistic type renders for my own enjoyment. They consist of still renders, I have not gotten into animation, maybe way down the road, but not for now. However, I do some rigging in ZBrush and morphs, but would also want to know how and why to do them using either Maya or Max too.

I know some say Maya is better for animation and such and Max is better at rigging and morphs for characters (such as video games), but I don't know what is best for me? They both cost some SERIOUS money to invest in and I need to know what to use to merge with my ZBrush and others as a workflow.

Thanks for any info and help.
Specs: Custom watercooled Workstation, Windows 10 Pro 64bit, 2 x 3.10 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon 2687w, 64GB 1833 MHz DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce Titan.
  03 March 2013
3ds Max I think has better modeling tools. As far as I know, Maya has better rigging and animation tools. They both have Mental Ray as a renderer though 3ds Max also has iRay. If you're doing still imagery then they can both do equally as good, if it's more like architectural visualization I'd go with 3ds Max.

What type of stuff are you rendering? Also, 3ds Max is Windows only, while Maya is Windows or Mac.
The Z-Axis
  03 March 2013
Tough to say, you should download trials of each and see which one you prefer.
"The best things in life are either illegal, fattening, or take too long to render."
  03 March 2013
If this is only as a hobby, I would not invest in either of them. There is plenty of free or cheap software available which can do almost anything the big boys can.

Unless you're literally drowning in cash, in which case, buy both :P
  03 March 2013
I was Maya user, now I use 3ds Max. Do not waste your time with 3ds Max, unless you are forced to, like me. Both softwares have their own flaws, but I think 3ds Max has a lot of redundant tools, and it is incomplete software.

Here is my opinion of 3ds Max (2013):

- Size : The largest of all 3d animation sofwares (eg Maya, XSI, Houdini, etc). Long start up time.
- Polygon modelling : Excellent polygon modelling tools. You will be able to do polygon modelling very fast. But I can do the same with Maya 2013 (in Maya 2014 there will be NEX (excellent polygon modelling plugin that was acquired by Autodesk). Also there are redundant tools like Extrude, Inset and Bevel face. They do the same thing. In Maya, there is only 1 tool, which is Extrude face.
- NURBS modelling : Cannot rebuild NURBS curve properly like Maya. Does not have Maya NURBS tool like Boundary and Birail. In essence you cannot create a car with this method (see how easy it is on You can only use polygon modelling method to create something like it.
- Texturing : Excellent UV mapping tools. You can also do fast UV mapping in Maya, as long as you know the tools.
- Animation : The Link Constraint does not have Keep Initial Offset feature. This makes animation troublesome (you will need it to animate with props). Also the Motion Mixer cannot remember animation clips (after reopening the file, the clips in the mixer are gone). Imagine if you have hundreds of clips there.
- Rigging : Mirroring bones is very troublesome. After mirroring, you have to fix the local rotation axes, reset stretch, then turn the bone width and height to negative values. Watch the following official Autodesk video tutorials to see what I am talking about ( In Maya, we do not need to fix the local rotation axes after mirroring bone.
There are easy auto rig systems like Biped and CAT. If we try to resize the CAT rig, the result will be strange. It is difficult to tweak them.
- Skinning : Watch how easy and precise it is to skin in Maya ( The cool thing in 3ds Max is Max Skin Weight tool, which also available in Maya.
- Fluid simulation : It does not have. Even Blender, a free software, has this.
- Particle simulation : There is Particle Flow, but it cannot create realistic water like Maya's nParticle, RealFlow, Naiad or Houdini. Maya has a free plugin that makes it more procedural ( But in 3ds Max 2014, there will be mParticle.

There are more, but I am too tired to mention them now.

The reason why 3ds Max is used as visual effects software is because it has many plugins (FumeFX, Krakatoa, VRay, Thinking Particles, etc). Most of those plugins have been ported to Maya now. So if you buy 3ds Max, you also need to buy a lot of plugins.

I suggest you learn Maya until you understand 3D, then move to Houdini, which in my opinion has better core than Maya. It is difficult to understand, but the procedural and visual effects workflow will be worth it in the end. If you learn 3D, you will want to move to advanced level.
  03 March 2013
If you're not planning to work in the industry, I would recommend Blender. I've been working in the industry for a few years now and am picking up Blender anyway, every update has major new features!

If you are set on learning Maya or Max, I would recommend Max. In my opinion, Max is better suited to sole users or smaller studios. Using both Maya and Max for a few years now, I find that Max also has an easier learning curve and is just a nicer environment to work in!

As a hobbyist looking to achieve photo-real, high resolution renders, Max has everything you need right from the get-go! Newer versions of Max have the 'State Sets' feature which will link all the different elements of your final render with Photoshop and allows you to move back and forth as you tweak.

If you build up your skills with Max and later on, find you really are needing some of the high-end tools in Maya (Maya's nCloth/nHair, Maya's animation system), the move from Max to Maya will be relatively easy.
Michael Wentworth-Bell | 3D Artist & VR Designer | Melbourne, Australia

Espire 1: My VR Stealth game - CGTalk thread
  03 March 2013
(Note: I own Max, and am on subscription)

Absolutely don't put a dime down on Max until AFTER Max 2014 releases. Then see if they've actually added features, or if they've just fiddled about. The earlier poster is right - Max was once the king, but now it has stagnated in development and even poor little Blender is beating it in some areas. If I were starting out again, and wasn't in ArchViz, I wouldn't bother starting with Max.
  03 March 2013
Thanks for the detailed replies, a lot to consider.

I must get into either Maya or Max due to the classes I am taking. While I stated this was a hobby, it's something I really like to dig into to relax. There are several classroom courses I have taken and even talked with people that wrote some of the software I use. Also, I have a serious workstation (about $9K) for my work and a small "render farm" setup.

My "hobby" is something I do to relax from my regular work and while I never intend to work in the industry, I do take classes from professionals that have worked for game studios and such. I spend most of my time sculpting and using tools in ZBrush and Vue, but some of the other classes I will be taking are digging into either Maya or Max a little and showing how to merge them with other workflows.

I will keep what was said in mind, but it seems like Maya is a bit more common to be used regardless of character modeling or animation. The only thing is, I do all background scenes for landscapes or interiors in Vue so that would be of no interest for me in Maya, just need it to follow along with what is being taught.
Specs: Custom watercooled Workstation, Windows 10 Pro 64bit, 2 x 3.10 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon 2687w, 64GB 1833 MHz DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce Titan.
  03 March 2013
to take a real advice
they are both similar to each other what you can do in maya you can do it in max for both animation and modeling

if you want to pick one ask yourself how you will learn them whats the learning method you will take? by online course or classroom?

if you chose the second see which software will be used in the institute

if you chose an online course you should download trail and try the both

but i will tell u pick Max because i love it
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by gotanidea: Also there are redundant tools like Extrude, Inset and Bevel face. They do the same thing. In Maya, there is only 1 tool, which is Extrude face.

Those don't do the same thing
The Z-Axis
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by darthviper107: Those don't do the same thing

Extrude + Inset = Bevel
  03 March 2013
Honest truth, don't bother with Maya if you are going to be working on your own. Every single project I have done with Maya guys whilst using max has proven that Max hits the ground running. I could go list stuff, but to be honest I am sure if you search on these forums you can find that kind of stuff yourself.
*(GOZER)-During the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex Supplicants, it chose the form of a giant SLOAR...

  03 March 2013
Quote: Also there are redundant tools like Extrude, Inset and Bevel face. They do the same thing

Whilst "Inset" and "extrude" are operations that can be performed within the "Bevel tool", it is faster to use the former two if a Bevel isn't required. In addition to that and perhaps the main point, extrude can be used on edges where as "Bevel" cannot. Whilst "shift-dragging" edges "extrudes them", it does so with little control as to the extrude amount. Also, continuity with the program as a whole must be considered.

Both Extrude and Bevel exist in the modifier-menu. Whilst (i want to use another word) you can Extrude an open-spline with the "Bevel-tool", you can't actually Bevel it. Which makes the existence of the "extrude-modifier" useful for a user because it is something for which they would look. (The "extrude-modifier" has additional settings such as those for NURBS)
If you take it too far, you end up with just one tool that does everything, just really slowly and not as well as a dedicated tool.

Last edited by Sidow : 03 March 2013 at 04:46 PM.
  03 March 2013
Some Maya users also have a chip on their shoulder, or an inferiority complex. If you say something negative about max, in a constructive manner, the responses won't be unexpected. If you say something negative about Maya, some users will start shouting at you as though you raped their daughter or something. Both software packages have good and bad points which is why they both still exist. However, there seem to be Maya fan-boys that aren't ruled buy their head. A bit like Mac users.

Edit. *Obviously the criticism has to be on the appropriate forum. You're unlikely to achieve a definitive answer due to biased opinions. It could be down to a matter of taste, with taste being subjective. Download both and play with them. if you're not using them commercially, then don't BUY them, but...

Last edited by Sidow : 03 March 2013 at 05:05 PM.
  03 March 2013
Just get Modo it's heaps cheaper and with 701 it's ahead of max and maya in nearly every department..
Vizual-Element | Automotive Superstore
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