Tell me your satisfaction with Maya or 3ds Max


Hi all!
I am a Principal User Researcher on the Maya/Max teams at Autodesk and have posted here before when needing to hear from you great users of our software – and you never fail to give great feedback!

On behalf of Senior Management at Autodesk, we want to know how you: feel about Maya and or Max, use it, and your perspective about changes between releases of it.

We are committed to reading each and every submission thoroughly and are listening to your feedback. Your input is critical in helping our teams understand concerns or challenges you may have with our software, so please be candid about your current impressions of Maya and or 3ds Max when responding.

Thank you for your feedback!

Request for Legacy Maya file compatibility

If your software cost 1 - 2K per perpetual license and didn’t require an internet connection/subscription to use, I might consider using it.

As it stands, your forced subscription business model is unfriendly to your users.

So I’m watching to see what NewTek does with LightWave instead. :sunglasses: That’s where I see the future.

Max/Maya were nice when you could buy them. Right now, both softs are unattractive to me.


Hi there,
I understand where you’re coming from. Thanks for your honesty.



I wish maya would have a continuous grab feature. when I select a edge or face (hit a keyboard shortcut like w)I want it to switch to a mode where I can just move my mouse and it will move my polygon without having to select the transform arrow. Another example would be when I hit bevel I want to be able to determine the range to bevel the edge based on the movement of my mouse rather than setting numbers on a panel. The current controls of maya feel very too rigid and slow. Feels like i’m doing math when I model in maya. This is just opinion but 3d programs should find a balance between a precision modeling tool/ artistic freestyle tool.


Drake use the tweak mode in the move tool.
And use middle mouse in the bevel.
You should learn how to use maya.


I would like to second the remark that Georgie3D made about Maya’s licensing. I am a long time Maya user with a respectable resume, and up until last year I was paying nearly a grand a year for a maintenance license. (that started in 2010 if you’re curious.) The subscription-only model chased me away.

I wouldn’t consider Maya’s subscription-only policy as ‘unfriendly’, I’d describe it as "hostile to freelancers."

I’ve worked on a number of projects and only in a few occasions has the deadline we discussed at the onset of the project actually ended up matching reality. “We only need you for six weeks… Oops, sorry, we need to extend another month… and another month… and another month.”_ And so on. I don’t get paid until the project is completed. I don’t want to overpay, right? So either I pay a premium for a short rental, pay way too much for a long rental because I cannot predict the future, or I overpay AND pay too much because predicting this sort of thing is like predicting what a cat will do in any given situation. Once the rental period is over I’m not using Maya again until I had a pile of cash to Autodesk… cash I won’t have until after I’m actually done using Maya.

There is not a scenario where I can pay the ‘just right’ amount of money. Hollywood does not work in a predictable fashion.

I know you’re looking for “this feature is great” or “we need this new feature” type of replies, but I reaaaaaaaaaally hope you pass this along to your superiors anyway as it’s a low-hanging fruit that has the potential to make me spend a grand right-away. I cannot bet the roof over my head on time-bombed software, and I know few freelance artists that actually have the financial resources to operate that way.

I have a perpetual license of Maya 2018 and for the next year or two it’s a big race to get Autodesk out of my workflow so I can work with a software package with a more reasonable payment structure. (have a peek at Allegorithmic if you need an example of a rental-company doing it right.) No nifty new features, bug fixes, or software acquisitions can overcome that hurdle.


EDIT>>>> On second thought… No sense me in arguing for a change in pricing, licensing model, or activation method. ADSK has already heard this rant a bazillion times over, but continues to dance to their own tune. Studios matter. Sub-$100k hobbyists and freelancers don’t. Subscriptions make money. Perpetual licenses don’t. That seems to be the prevailing notion and I don’t think we’ll change their minds one bit. Sad, but probably true.

My only other thought on what needs to be fixed is non-feature related. Fix the EDU license situation. People are abusing the hell out of them as an alternative to using keygens. Since SO few people read EULA terms, people assume that an EDU license is the same as a Not-For-Commercial-Use one. They’re not. (I hate watching people steal in this manner.)

IMO, crack down on EDU licenses or just change them to straight up Non-Commercial and skip the end user rationalization phase. If, maybe, fully functional licenses for sub-$100k hobbyists and freelancers existed, maybe the impetus to abuse a broken EDU system wouldn’t be so strong.


I have to agree. I use Autodesk products every day in a studio.

But I cannot justify the expense for a freelancer and could only recommend they try alternatives if they have the option.


Yes, the licensing model is an issue for a lot of people… I get it. Thanks for taking the time to really dig into the challenges you face; know that I’m passing your feedback up the chain.



The core problem with licensing, as I see it, is in how ADSK views and treats indies and low volume freelancers.

Most other companies understand that there’s a tangible difference between a studio earning millions of dollars and a freelancer earning less than $100k, or a hobbyist earning nothing. As such, they sell two different sorts of licenses for what is effectively the same exact product.

It’s a bit of a good faith gesture on their part, as anybody can claim to to earn less than $100k. However, by and large, they tend to know the difference between a big studio and an individual. Common sense and such. It’s not a perfect system for the pub/dev, but it’s far less punishing to the customers than the ADSK alternative.

ADSK’s solution for the indie/freelancer/hobbyist issue comes in the form of the LT version and, tbh, it sucks. Maya LT, for example, is far too crippled to be usable in some circumstances. Export limitations. Crippled features. Missing functionality. Even at a meager $250/yr, end users are paying too much.

The only advantage of using Maya LT over Blender is that LT provides the end user a way to learn an industry standard tool. Even then, they’re only able to learn a subset of the app since it’s so limited. For a hobbiest, freelancer, or indie game developer, there ARE other, better options than using something like Maya LT.

ADSK needs to take a play from the Allegorithmic playbook. They need to understand the difference between an individual and a studio. You can provide the same exact product at different price points and still make money. Instead of crippling functionality, simply limit support and benefit options.

I can imagine that many indies and freelancers would happily sacrfice advanced support if it meant that they could have access to the same functionality their studio peers enjoyed. For ADSK’s part, it means that they would only have to provide such users the most basic level of tech support and software updates.

For ADSK’s part, eliminating the LT version and instead providing a cheaper license that provides the same exact functionality, but with far more limited support makes more sense. Support costs ADSK time and money. Limiting it for indie/freelance license users can save ADSK money, which they can pass down in the form of a cheaper license.

Honestly? I would rather ADSK took the Allegorithmic road, freezing the version number after the subscription ends - thus allowing the end user to treat the frozen version as a perpetual license. However, I get that ADSK doesn’t want to do this. (It’s not like Allegorithmic wastes money or time on users with lapsed subscriptions. They don’t provide updates to such users either. ADSK doesn’t roll like this, but they could still stand to learn something this tactic.)

Regardless, if you want to be a Maya user the options are clear.

  1. Be a student and pay $0 for a non-commercial EDU license. (TONS of users fake at being students, but that’s another story.)
  2. Pay $1,545 per year in perpetuity, ultimately owning nothing and stuck in a “use it or lose it” situation.
  3. Pay only $250 per year, also in perpetuity, and experience the joys of a LT version that is ultimately less powerful than $0 open source software.

That’s it. No other options. $1,545/yr is nothing for studios. However, it’s a LOT to indie artists or low volume freelancers who may get a consistent amount of work, but still only earn enough to cover overhead. End users are already balancing a lot of subscriptions as it is. The pricing model makes sense for studios, but totally ignores the huge number of (potential) individual users whose names aren’t EA, ILM, or Square-Enix.

Like I said, I’d happily pay for a cheaper license to identical software and accept the limitation of crippled support. As long as I still have access to patches, I can service my own support needs and ask for help for the community at large. Studios need a higher degree of priority support. Pass the costs onto them. They’ll pay it anyway. After all, they earn a LOT more money than Joe Average.

What ADSK charges for Maya now is just the cost of doing business to studios. To individuals, however, it presents itself as a barrier to entering the industry. You’re turning away a lot of talented artists and possibly shrinking the overall talent pool. If ADSK apps are the de facto standard, that’s the last thing you want to do.

One has to also think that current pricing/licensing model, coupled with the lax EDU license enforcement, only promotes piracy. People don’t always resort to piracy because they’re cheap. They sometimes do it when there are no other options. ADSK could minimize that risk by providing more VIABLE options.


Indie/Freelance users would be MUCH happier with having access to the same exact Maya at a lower cost in exchange bare bones support and benefits, an option which is cheaper for ADSK. Providing a cheaper license in the form of a crippled LT version is like providing no option at all. It ignores a LOT of users and simply drives more of them to the likes of Blender or, worse, piracy.

No need for a response, Veronica. This is just something for those in charge of making the big decisions to mull over. I’m sure that y’all have heard and considered it before. I’m just expressing a common concern and the reason why more people are at least exploring the possibility of at non-ADSK solutions these days.


Do the same as Allegorithmic - offer one price for Big Studios and another reasonable one for Indies - very small studios / Individuals.

Also offer buying the software permanently without updates - and offer updates as an extra price - that will also make more of an incentive to make the updates more valuable …

Or like Cinema 4D - make different versions with different parts of the software bundled at different prices - Maya Lite / Maya VFX / Maya Character Animation ?

Agree with all the above.

Very much considering a move to Cinema 4D even though their prices are about the same !?


I’m satisfied with Maya as a software for the most part and its overall improvements. I liked Maya’s core performance and editor improvements as well as focus on bug fixes for the last release.

I have no issue with the cloud subscription for studios, but I’m not thrilled about no longer activating perpetual licenses. It shouldn’t have been cut off like that. Freelancers will move away from Maya and maybe that doesn’t matter much to Autodesk as long as the big studios stay on course.

I’m disappointed at Maya’s stance with Arnold with not offering any discount to maya users to get them to switch to Arnold and not even including a batch render Arnold license for the software they purchased. If you wanted people to switch to Arnold, you missed your opportunity as they all ran to VRay and Redshift because of Arnold’s price. But again, maybe Autodesk only cares about the large studios.

As it stands, Autodesk’s cloud subscription doesn’t seem too compelling. Maybe offer some sort of cloud-based team version-control feature like Unity’s Collab so many people can collectively work on a single file simultaneously. That would be a compelling game-changer feature worth subscribing to the cloud

Otherwise, since there’s no disincentive to join the cloud, and the cloud is going to be so much more expensive, we might just hold onto our perpetual floating licenses running on our local license server for a few years and lock into Maya 2019 until the Cloud offers something compelling consider the price jump it’s asking.


You have maybe 10 years until Blender has eaten the complete low to mid level CG market.
Brand loyalty is already low when it comes to the userbase of Autodesk, people are loyal to the tools because they work and make them money, but make no mistake, Autodesk as a company is mostly not seen in an favorable light.
Once the open source mentality takes over, people are not coming back. Once the market is lost, its very very doubtful that anyone can take it back.
I like using Maya, but i can’t afford it for myself, only when the customer pays for it.
Since i couldn’t afford Maya most of the time i had to learn Blender and i found out (to my surprise) that in most cases i don’t need Autodesk tools.
Congratulation, you played yourself. I can’t be the only one who had this epiphany.

So if Autodesk wants to get on my side it has to do at least what cookepuss and nicvangoed suggested.

On the other hand i know you guys at Autodesk have an older completely unused DCC laying around in some archives. Maybe you should consider releasing it as open source software.
You know the saying, if you can’t beat them, join them.


They most probably can’t release it. There’s nearly always third party copyright tied with closed source software.


I was joking. I don’t think for a second that those who make these kind of decisions at Autodesk would consider doing something like that.


May 13

If your software cost 1 - 2K per perpetual license and didn’t require an internet connection/subscription to use, I might consider using it.

Agree, also Blender is closing in on all the other 3Dapps.


Maya is the most unreliable, crashing, data losing software i have ever used (13 years?). New advances are interesting for sure but i know i can crash Maya in 5 minutes on any system. So why bother.


Maya is bugged out for sure - I’ve been told all 3D softwares are the same !? Cinema 4D are saying they’re cleaner - what about Blender?


Like a good many people here, I’ve been doing CG for a long time. Are all 3D apps the same? Yes and no. Let me explain why, at least from my POV.

Fundamentally, all of the major CG suites share the same core functionality. No matter where you go, Blender or Maya, a bevel is a bevel and a polygon is a polygon. That’s foundation. Without those basics, 3D apps couldn’t function. Beyond that, all of these apps share similar concepts like keyframes, bones, global illumination, subdivision surfaces, and so on. In principle, there’s nothing to prevent you from creating a short film, game art, or whatever in any of these apps. They might each implement these features in app specific ways, but this sort of functionality is more or less universal. The gap between apps might have been pretty wide back in, say, 1994, but it is much more narrow today. You just have to figure out where the buttons are and if the app uses a different name for the feature. Every developer has their own idea regarding what’s the best sort of UI and UX.

Beyond that, these apps do differ in some regards. Fine print stuff. Cinema4D might be a motion graphics ninja, but that’s because MAXON has made that market a priority. Similarly, Maya and 3dsmax might have certain specific character animation tools or tighter 3rd party integration, but there are reasons behind that too. Likewise, if Houdini is highly technical and supremely badass when it comes to simulation then that’s because it has evolved according to the needs and demands of that audience. Again, you can do motion graphics, character animation, and simulation in just about any major app. It just happens that certain apps have extra features, small or large, that allow them to do those things better. In an attempt to even the playing field, there’s a whole market of 3rd party developers out there creating plugins to fill the gaps.

Which app to choose? There’s no delicate way to put this. I’ll just be blunt.

If you want to be employed by a major studio or in a major industry such as films or games, you should probably focus on learning Maya or 3dsmax. Autodesk is the de facto standard. They were there at the very beginning, decades ago. The larger studios have all built their pipelines around these apps. Schools teach them. Online communities cater to them. The jobs are there.

You can still find a job in the film or game industries if you’re a Cinema4D or LW user, but your options are much greater if you’re into Maya. Postings for Maya artists in those fields tend to outnumber ones for C4D artists by at least a factor of 4 to 1. On the flip side, as a Maya artist, your competition is going to be a lot stiffer. Instead of being one of ten applicants, you might be one of 40. You’ll have to do a lot more to stand out.

If, however, you’re okay with working freelance, at a smaller studio, a startup, or are just a hobbyist then app choice isn’t as crucial.

Working freelance, clients only care about the end results. If you can deliver the goods and in the formats they need, your app could be powered by love and brownies and nobody would care. Working at a smaller studio, your employer might be more flexible regarding app choice as long as the results were good and there was no negative impact on the project or other artists involved. It all depends. Every studio is different.

When working with a startup, you might have a chance to get in on the ground floor. If you’re a new hire at a startup, the choices that you make early on can impact the way the company does business going forward. Startups are blank slates. As hobbyist, who cares? Just use what works best for you. Use the app that makes you the happiest and where you’re most productive.

On top of all of THAT, nobody can tell you what to use at home or in your personal time. Your employer might require you to use Maya, but you might find that Cinema4D suits your personal needs better. That’s fine. Just because I learned one app in my early days, it didn’t mean that I was tied to it. At this point, I know (too) many apps. Once you master one, picking up another isn’t all that hard.

If I had one piece of advice to impart on you then it would be this. Focus on technique, not software. That mindset will serve you greatly over the course of life as an artist.

It never pays to be too loyal to any one app or developer because, ultimately, they won’t or can’t be loyal to you. Apps come and go. There are programs that I spent YEARS working with that simply no longer exist. The companies folded. The apps faded into obscurity. I had to move on. It just happens. However, what has sustained me was the knowledge that the core techniques and artistic principles that I learned early on could be transferred to ANY app, now or in the future.

Technique is program agnostic. The principles of squash and stretch aren’t tied to any one program. Solid foundations in anatomy, color, and composition aren’t either. An edge loop is the same in this app as it is in that one. You want to learn the “why” in addition to the “how” of it all. A good artist isn’t a button pusher. A master can still great magic in a cheap app, but no $5k app will turn a crappy artist into a master.

Professional concerns aside, app choice is personal. Figure out which one works best for you. I can’t tell you what to use. Over the decades, I’ve learned and owned a LOT of apps. Cinema4D. Maya. LightWave. trueSpace. Blender. MODO. ZBrush. Substance. ETC ETC ETC You name it, I’ve probably used it and/or owned a (legit) license. I’ve spent an obscene amount of money on licenses and plugins. (You don’t wanna know.) Some of my choices have been influenced by work needs. Some have been influenced by personal ones. At this point, I honestly don’t care as long as I can get the job done. I do have personal preferences, but my story isn’t yours.

Decide what you want. Do you want to go pro? Do you just want to create good art? Do you want to work for somebody else? Do you want to work for yourself? What do you want to specialize in? Where do you want to live? (Some jobs might take you across the world.) Weigh your options. Play with the demos. Don’t rush into a decision because the choices you make today will follow you 10, 20, or 30 yeas from now.

Don’t worry if you can’t afford a pricey app today. That’s fine. If you’re a student at an accredited school, a number of companies will provide you with a free EDU license. You won’t be able to make money using them, but you can learn and build a portfolio.

Not a student? Don’t worry about that either. Find a cheaper app. Look for an Indie license. Maybe learn Blender. If you like it, you can stay with it going forward. If, however, you would much rather use Maya, use Blender as a means to an end. Learn it and learn it well. Use it to master the concepts and the techniques. Pick up a few freelance assignments, once you’re actually good enough, and earn some money to afford that Maya license you so desperately crave or need. The good thing about 2019 is that there’s no shortage of options or paths to success.


Not really the same. Maya is pretty unstable, Max too (not so sure how much). Houdini is pretty stable, Cinema 4D is too, and the old version (2.79) of Blender was rock solid, but 2.8 brought some instability.