Originally Posted by Stellios
the procedural workflow in houdini makes it great for all types of environment work. And i simply dont beleive autodesk prods have a bright future. so yah.
Be that as it may the OP specifically said he MUST use either Max or Maya, any other package is out of the question for him because of school requirements.
"Either Maya or Max is a MUST for me to start getting into for my classes, not interested in anything else due to this."
Personally I find the Max workspace more intuitive and easier to get around in. Maybe after I take the AnimSchool Intro to Maya class in April I'll have a different opinion... but I guess my point is that I didn't need a class to get up and running in Max. Max just "thinks" the way I do I guess. Maya to me is a foreign country and I can figure out just enough on my own to order a Coke, but not enough to have a conversation with the locals.
I will say, and this is purely anecdotal, that coming to the CGTalk forums there are consistently anywhere between 20 and 100 more people in the Maya forums at any given time which says to me that the Maya community is pretty active at least, even if the user base may technically be smaller.
I still prefer Max though... for now