I really appreciate it when Autodesk employees chime in. And I really appreciate all the wonderful changes that have been made to Maya. Don’t let the trolls get you down, most of us tune them out anyway.
No 3D package can be perfect for everyone. I have done a lot of programming and I can tell you that the more types of things a software does the harder it is to make it work at all. Comparing sculpting in zbrush to sculpting in Maya is downright silly. Maya will not be the best at many things, by nature. The more you, and your software can specialize the better, and your software will be at that one thing. But then you, and your software, are a one trick pony.
I have been sitting next to a max user for almost 6 years now. I can appreciate that Max does many things better than Maya, that doesn’t make me want to switch and it doesn’t make me unhappy with Autodesk. The viewport in max is better, period. We don’t do game development and I see almost every day how a good viewport can help with non video game work. The improvements to VP 2.0 are exciting for a lot of people outside of gaming (which I bet is more than 5% to begin with). Max has a great way of previewing texture blending by vertex color. And the viewport matches all the built in renderers. I can do this in Maya, but its awkward.
Comparing software is useful, but its easy to get carried away. I view Maya as a tool for teams. Everytime I hear someone championing a new package the first thing I wonder is,
-how good is the referencing?
-how good is the scripting language?
-how well does it scale when you are using a mixture of physics, rigging, high poly models, and high res textures?
-how well does render layers work?
-can I fully navigate every element in my scene and trouble shoot complicated issues?
-does it work well on our farm?
-can I quickly hire a contractor to fill a gap without retraining them?
Maya is the best at that list, still could use improvement, but its the best. Its not a glamorous list, but its what matters most to a lot of people. When I see a release that is light on new features but the bug fix list spans many pages it makes me giddy.
There are other great packages. For solo work I still miss Lightwave sometimes. I had clients say “I have an idea I want to animate but I need it 3 hours from now”, and I was able to deliver. It wasn’t my best work but it was fast as hell. Having said that, all my best work has been done in Maya.
I will be the first one to say that if your a one person shop, there is a good chance there is better software out there for you. I work with teams, I work with Maya.