Zach Zellman (zachzellman)

10 replies · posted

Learning Different Software

I've made the decision to pursue a career in animation/rigging! After looking at all of the studio's websites that I would really like to be at, I was a little disappointed to see that they all use Maya. I know it's the "industry standard", but I'm at a point now where I'm very comfortable moving around in Blender. It's easy, it makes sense, to me at least.

I figured if I want to work at a studio that uses a certain software, might as well get familiar with it... right? So I downloaded the free educational version of Maya 2018, opened it up, and holy cow! Back to square one. 

I looked around for some free noob tutorials and found a couple decent ones. It's completely different. So many different icons and tool shelves, it's a little ridiculous. None of the hotkeys make any sense, Blender's usually correspond with the function you're trying to use. Why would the "industry standard" be so hard to navigate around and use?! I'm going to push through and try to learn it though, because this is what I want to do with my life! I don't ever want to stop using Blender. I think it's awesome, and fantastic, and super powerful! I know Blender is gaining in popularity, but I'm sure most people think, because it's free it's not any good. Hopefully one day that will change! 

Learning a new software after you've become confident in another seems quite challenging, and going back and forth seems like kind of a pain. Has anyone ever had to deal with this? Or are you in the same boat as me and going through it at the moment? Any advise or some good tutorial suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

  • I'm sorry, but I can't help you here.  So far, I've only used Blender, and I plan to eventually use substance for texturing.  I might use Houdini if Blender's physics tools don't improve, but someday I hope to write my own physics engines anyway.  By the way, what makes Maya such a great animation tool?

    • williamatics Maya has been around for a very VERY long time. I think that's why most studios use it.

    • zzachzellman What I mean is, Are Maya's animation tools better than Blender's?  If so, why?

    • williamatics in my opinion the core tools used for  animation are largely similar and don't feel they edge over one software to the other. Its when looking at the additional, nice to have, functions you start to see differences. 

      With Maya I really like Animation layers. When used correctly makes it super easy to iterate onto an animation. Maya also allows for the importation of the same rig multiple times in one scene file. That currently isn't possible in Blender without some fancy duplication work around. (not until we get 2.8 that is :D ) Also, because its so widely used there is an abundance of resources at your finger tips. There are a ton of great scripts and addons that help in terms of workflow efficiencies. (so uh...Blender Python coders, lets talk huh?)

      Blender on the other hand has its own great features that Maya does not. I LOVE Blenders dope sheet. I very much prefer to see exactly what I'm timing out rather than relying on Maya's timeline. Maya does not have native support for mirroring poses. I prefer Blender's transform keys, I'm not the biggest fan of always having to adjust manipulators the whole time. Blender has a native inbetweener that is very functional. 

      Anyway, I think I could go on and on about the different toolsets, but in the end that's exactly what these two programs are, tools.  Each has ups and downs, and it benefits anyone who wants to experiment and see what tool feels more comfortable.

    • williamatics what Phil said ;)

  • crew

    I've learned Maya after using Blender for a while as well, and the most challenging part is just the initial part of getting used to the different menus, lingo,  and paradigms. Once you get that surface level stuff, all the other skills that you've learned in Blender will transfer over pretty easily. It'll take time, but it's not starting from square one by any means. Good luck! 

  • Hey zzachzellman  I understand the process you're going through now and it can be intimidating at first. Believe me though you're going to learn this program twice as fast because you at least know the fundamentals from Blender. Its just a matter of transferring knowledge from one to the other. Think about what features you typically use in Blender (like setting a key with "i") and find out what that equivalent is in Maya (set key with "s")

    I think as far as animation goes the bare minimum you will want to learn is:

    1. Navigating the 3d viewport (get used to using alt with your mouse buttons)

    2. Transform shortcuts (Q=select W=transform E=rotate R=scale)

    3. Setting Keyframes

    4. The Time Line (This is going to act like your dope sheet in Blender, super important for setting up timing)

    5. Graph Editor (because splines are life)

    Remember knowing how to use Maya is great but your demo reel is what will get you in the door. Work hard on the 12 principles of animation and it won't matter what software you use. If you get stuck feel free to reach out and ask questions! Good luck!

    • phoenix4690 thanks for the advice! I'll have to make a cheat sheet with Blender functions to Maya functions, and put it on my wall lol. I know it's more about skill than the tools used. I just want to be comfortable enough, that way I'm not fumbling around if I ever do get a gig somewhere that uses Maya. Thanks again for the pointers!!!

  • crew

    To give some general advice, I would think about the most important things you know in Blender and figure out how to do those first. It's similar to learning a new programming language. If you know one, then to learn another you tend to focus on trying to learn what you already know in another language. It makes the transition much easier. 

    In your case it may be "ok how do I create a bone in Maya". Take the process you would use in Blender and break it down to small steps and figure out how to do that in Maya. Start with what you know to make it easier to get started then expand.