Are Plugins worth it?


So here it is - your starting a new project and in the down time you’ve been looking to enhance your suite of software with some groovy plugins that sport some impressive reels and slick advertising.

  • Does the money you spend on the plugin warrant its value?
  • Will it make the end product better?
  • What plugins have you found to be invaluable?
  • What plugins have become dated?

I’ve been looking at several plugins over the last few weeks.
Fumefx - has a hefty price tag and I’m not sure it brings much to the table (does not have a demo lic for maya 2018 yet). nParticles, Fluids and Bifrost seem to have a lot of coverage and are ‘knowns’ for rendering programs such as renderman, redshift.
Fracture - I think has value - the price tag is high-ish but it fills what I think is a gap in mayas poor shatter feature. The rigid dynamics in maya I’ve never had a problem with so its value is focused.
Shave - I think has outlived itself. Its interface and workflow is cleaner than maya but maya covers everything it does - also rendering isn’t so much an issue.

Also once you have them do they play well with the other kids? Often a plugin will say it is compatible but when it comes to it you have to download a plugin and jump through hoops only to find it doesn’t work with second plugin; version x.

For a freelancer and a small studio, plugins can be a godsend but its an open market and it is easy to put a new, cleaner face on processes that are already there bedded down in skewed evolution.

What are your thoughts?


Shave is old and outdated and not worth it in my opionion, jsut use very good xgen or try orantrix or yeti
Fracturefx looks great but if you get houdini indie you will get much much more not only for destruction and it is so much better to work with things like that in houdini than in maya
Fumefx never used it but I think it would be similar situation like above, houdini indie is much better value for the price and can do all kind of thins for you and it isn’t that hard for more basic stufF :slight_smile:


But, Houdini Indie is only for under $100k revenue which means before tax and any expenses.
If you live in US/OK/Canada, that means you are making less than mid level artist.


I wouldn’t use houdini just before a project anyhow - invested too much time into maya and I want something I know I can get results from. Houdini doesn’t thrill me interface/workflow wise.
I don’t think I’ll be doing fume anyhow It seems to have a streamlined interface but I’m not confident that some of the features aren’t a clever set of presets in a wrapper. It has a wavelet detail feature that might be something and has a cache management workflow that seems like organizing something that is already there. The preview window is made a lot of but it is just a preview window - lattice deforming and jumping grids might be something.

Does anyone have an opinion on yeti? is it still relevant in 2018?

Purchased fracturefx and am so far happy with it but have only done some simple stuff. Did complain about fracturing text due to non manifold geo I had to clean up but no biggie.

Phoenix looks good but boy is it pricey not sure if it worth the extra $

Carbon scatter could be fun but I have no call for it right now - I’m not uncomfortable with xgen and instancing

HDR light studio could be special but have get to investigate - does the subscription thing which doesn’t thrill me.

Golaem I’d like to get into but phew 7000 pounds is out there.


FractureFX is the best you will find if you want to stay in maya.

Forget shave, yeti is good and ornatrix is shaping really well there is a node editor coming for it.
But i prefer xgen, much more powerful, and the new interactive groom is pretty fast and artist friendly.
So honestly for fur really no need to speed money on plugins.

For scattering things you have all you need with Mash, no need to use xgen for that or carbon scatter.

I you want something less expensive then HDR light studio and directly in maya you have this

Now if you want to spend money on useful plugin i would definlty go with Soup and openvdb plugin.
If you are doing some vfx in maya it’s just a must have.
You also have the upres node for maya fluid if you want to add resolution afterward and add wavelet.

But you might not like the workflow as it’s pretty much like Houdini, following the same logic but with no documentation at all.
Knowing some Houdini will definitely help you to use Soup and VDB plugin. (houdini documentation is pretty usefull and great)


Thanks for the great info - I’d come across soup but not gotten around to looking - very good and reasonable for what you get - bit of a shame its subscription.

I suspected as much with fur - seems to be one area maya has kept pace.

HDR studio looks fab - don’t need it right now but once time allows I’ll be keen to check it out properly.

plugins are a bit like a lolly shop for maya.


Houdini Indie is only for under $100k revenue which means before tax and any expenses.
If you live in US/OK/Canada, that means you are making less than mid level artist.

$100k is quite a bit higher than what I would have thought to be the norm for mid level artists.


It is revenue. If I’m self-employed 7.5% is already gone for SS.
How about all HW/SW?
Office rent?
Business tqx?
If you hire anyone to help you, his wage is included in YOUR revenue.

Revenue less then $100,000 means you will bring home less than $70,000 even if you have fully employed all year long.