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Old 03-11-2013, 06:42 AM   #1
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What are the best maya plugins for each type of VFX ?


I'm a maya beginner, i'm searching a course to take in France to learn it (that's not what this post is about).
I'd like to worh the movie industry andspecialize, with time, in VFX (explosions, fire, smoke, water etc.). I'm fascinating by VFX quality of nowadays (my references in term of VFX are total recall 2012, Avengers, Avatar and Transformers).

As far as i'm a total beginner, i'm asking myself a lot of questions, and since 2 weeks my questions are about maya's plugins (there's a lot that can replace maya tools). But i couldn't find 10% of the answer i need over my researches on internet. And the few times i could find something that could have answer my questions, it was about previous version of maya and plugins.

So here is my main question: Without considering their prices, what are, between the main plugins i'll mention above and maya 2013, and for each categories, the best solution (i wrote 3 sub-questions - the same - for each "category) ?
Can you order them for each sub-questions (like 3,4,1,2).

Please don't give me the typical answers such as "there's no better software" "it depends" etc.

Sorry for my english.

So here we go!

For water and liquid. There is:
1.Naiad 0.6 (website is down, did they stop to produce the plugin?)
2.Reaflow 2013
3.MayaFluids from Maya 2013
4.Phoenix FD 2.0 with Vray
5.Flux 2013

>>> Which ones give the more realistic result?
>>> Which ones are faster to render?
>>> Which ones are the "easier" to learn ?

For smoke, fire and explosion. There is:
1.Phoenix FD + Vray
2.MayaFluids from Maya 2013

>>> Which ones give the more realistic result?
>>> Which ones are faster to render?
>>> Which ones are the "easier" to learn ?

For hair. There is:
1.Shave & a haircut 7
2.FX Hair 2013
3.Hair tool in Maya 2013

>>> Which ones give the more realistic result?
>>> Which ones are faster to render?
>>> Which ones are the "easier" to learn ?

For clothes. There is:
1.Qualoth 2013
2.nCloth in Maya 2013

>>> Which ones give the more realistic result?
>>> Which ones are faster to render?
>>> Which ones are the "easier" to learn ?

For rendering. There is:
1.MentalRay in Maya 2013
2.Vray 2

>>> Which ones give the more realistic result?
>>> Which ones are faster to render?
>>> Which ones are the "easier" to learn ?

For breaking stuffs. There is:
1.DMM in Maya 2013
2.Pulldownit 2013
3.Ruins (seems to be discountinued)
4.Blastcode (seems to be discontinued)

>>> Which ones give the more realistic result?
>>> Which ones are faster to render?
>>> Which ones are the "easier" to learn ?

For modeling and painting characters and objects. There is:
1.Mudbox 2013 (for all)
2.Mudbox 2013 (modeling) + Mari (for painting)
3.Mudbox 2013 (modeling) + Bodypaint (for painting)
4.Zbrush 4R5 (for all)
5.Zbrush 4R5 (modeling) + Mari (for painting)
6.Zbrush 4R5 (modeling) + Bodypaint (for painting)
7.Maya 2013

>>> Which ones give the more realistic result?
>>> Which ones are faster to render?
>>> Which ones are the "easier" to learn ?

Please reply only if you have the answers (about the latest versions of those plugins and maya 2013...because things change from a plugin release to another).

Thank you, have a great day.
Old 05-15-2013, 10:17 PM   #2
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Sergen Eren
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ok let me see;

For water and liquid each has advantages

1. Naiad is good for large scale simulations
2. Realflow is good for small scale
3. Direct integration in maya
4. I've never used
5. I've never used

Which ones give the more realistic result?


Which ones are faster to render?

all same when rendering but real question is which is faster at simulating liquid so i guess...


Which ones are the "easier" to learn ? imho

1 (node based), 2, 3

For smoke fire and explosion

Which ones give the more realistic result?

-no comparison all same in my opinion

Which ones are faster to render?

-as liquids, for simulating mayaFluids simulate faster

Which ones are the "easier" to learn ?

check gnomon training for maya fluid and explosion

for hair, stick to shave&Haircut for vray compability

it is fast and easy to render and easy to learn after a couple tutorials

for clothes maya ncloth is more than enough because nDynamics (w/ bullet solver). fast clean easy

for rendering stick to vray and by vray i mean it. i gave octane, arnold, MR, iray, renderman a shot and vray is the official best and when it comes to animation (i mean thousands of frames) you see that vray is the fastest.
and it is very easy to learn and there millions tutorials on it (especially

For breaking stuff i would recommend you should do that in houdini (which is not a software but cg OS in my opinion) but i would go with DMM (see cmiVFX tutorial on maya DMM)

for modelling i go ZBrush > Maya (w/ NEX for maya plugin i do retopo) > mari > maya > nuke

lastly, it is hard to find good plugins but to give some example NEX (modelling), BhGhost (Anim) are some good ones. But no matter what be sure to check creative crash for a script that might come handy
Old 05-23-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,195
Sorry, but even if you do not want to read "it depends": It depends.

A simple example:
If you want to create a still rendering, mentalray is fine, if you plan to create an animated feature film, possibly renderman is the better solution. Iray is not really usable with maya out of the box, especially for maya2013. Why not use Arnold? Or Maxwell? Or SprayTrace? All very good renderers.

And it does not depend from the plugin to create a "realistic" simulation or rendering. It depends on the skills of the artist. There is no "best plugin" for maya. Pulldownit is nice for fast sims and breaking, but with Fracture you have a much better control about your simulations. Maybe you need none of them but only implemented bullet, or dynamica.

The only valid question is the one about the learning curve. Here it often depends on the learning material. e.g. Fracture is complex but they have a lot of very good tutorial videos. Ruins is not bad, but the manuals are terrible (and it is not discontinued, ask the creator). Mentalray and Vray have a lot of options for indirect lighting, but you find a lot of tutorials in the web. Arnold on the other side has much less options and is faster to learn. Or see Prman, it is easy to use at first, but if you want to discover all the power of the Prman rendering you need to know what you are doing in detail and how the whole process works. Then it takes ages to become a master.

Same with maya fur and hair.I is useless to say that shave is better, or Yeti, if you need fur for some grass only. If you need to do a large project, it becomes more interesting: Which one can be controlled easily by scripts, which one can use caching and how is rendering done?

So... it depends.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:49 PM   #4
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you want to do explosions, fire, smoke, water etc so you made a huge list of plugins and not a single word of the 3ton elephant in the room.

you should be learning Houdini.
From Russia, with love @
Old 02-07-2014, 10:45 PM   #5
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What's the best software for fur and where can I import fur or curves from?
Old 02-07-2014, 10:45 PM   #6
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