[Bf-funboard] from Blender to Maya - little "review"

Mango Jambo moraesjunior at gmail.com
Mon Feb 16 18:20:43 CET 2009

That is the fifth time I'd start to write this mail. I don't want to looks
like a troll or something. I just want you people understand what I felt
using only Blender since almost 10 years ago and needs now to animate on
Maya. I learned the essential about Maya to work with animation on it. I
don't know to model and a lot of things, so I can make mistakes on my humble
features review. I will try to summarize this time:

- First impressions: Maya's interface is too complicated and messy! But I
think if you come from 10yrs Maya to Blender, you will think the same about
- I couldn't personalize Maya's interface like what I wanted. There is
limits on its main window. BUT I learn how to do it using other windows. You
need 2 monitor to have a good workspace;
- Relative and Absolute paths: on Maya you need to set the project folder
before open your file. That is a boring  thing to do, because on Blender I
just need to open the file and that is it. The relative Path is already set
up, no meter if I move or rename my main project folder;
- Preparing to animate: That is really boring: EVERY TIME after a file
opened, I need to disable all selections and enable only Curve selection, to
not select other objects, only the character controllers (normally curves).
And I like to hide the bars, so before that I need to restore with Ctrl+Tab
twice (I made easily and script on Shelf to disable select any type and
enable only curves) and then close the bars again to get more space;
    - After that I need to set my Dope Sheet with all character controllers
(like the Action Editor). There is 2 Options: Select all controllers > List
menu > disable auto list ... or you can Bookmark it (pretty smart) > List >
Bookmark > create ... and open by the bookmark after;
    - Focus on Dope Sheet and Graph Editor: If I closed the file working on
frames 5000 to 5100 and open the day after, it will open on frames 0-100 for
example. So I need to focus the window to the frames I was working again,
selecting a controller on dope sheet and pressing F. Same to Graph Editor,
but selecting a controller on View Port and F again. After all of it, I will
be ready to start my job! In Blender I just need open and start to work from
the last time I was from each file.

- Animating:
    - Graph Editor and Dope Sheet: man, you don't know how I miss the
possibility to change the time on they and not only in the time slider (too
much counter-produce)... or use the arrows to go to another frame (Alt+< or
> on Maya... previous and next frames). < and > is the Ctrl+PgUp and PgDn on
    - Graph Editor: I like it. Like the new Blender 2.50. I only miss the T
(Time Slide) function from Blender (probably Maya has it and I don't know) ;
    - Dope Sheet: Blender 10 X Maya 0! It is a mess in Maya! Unbelievable!
When I select a bone controller in Blender, the Action Editor (or Dope
Sheet) will highlight it! And I can organize it by groups, colors, and
adjust each controller position. Not in Maya.
In Blender I can easily select and DUPLICATE (grabbing) the keys. That makes
the job really fast! In Maya I need to select the keys > Edit > Copy >
change the time on the TIME SLIDER > Dope Sheet Edit menu > Paste on Dope
sheet again! And they keys or controllers on dope sheet needs to be
selected, or else won't works! Blender, Shift+D!!
    - Clips: I don't know if I am saying stupid things here, because this is
THE MAYA! The number one on CG industry! I just want to remember you it is
my humble impressions about the pipeline on it, based on my little knowledge
about it. Clips are a mess to work. If you want to import from another file,
you need to export the clip before to a .ma file, and then import it. Same
to any object! In Blender you can Append it easily from any .blend file. And
you can keep Actions easily in one file. A good example is you are animating
and need to test a move but not miss your Action. Just click on Add new
Action and it will duplicate the action. Simple like that! And safe!

    - Animating controllers: Maya has 2 main hotkeys: W (translate) and E
(Rotate) to enable the respective manipulators. And I use a LOT when
animating. How is the pipeline:
        - Select > Open the manipulator (W for example) > click on an axis
to translate or click on anywhere on view port with MMB to translate faster;
        - With W already selected: Select the controller > MMB to translate;
( I like it, really fast)
        - RMB to select > G to grab > X,Y or Z Axis if needed (twice to
local axis) > LMB to confirm;
        - Faster way like Maya: RMB > G > LMB;
I really don't know what is faster, because I like both ways. Maya here
looks faster because the way it uses the manipulators and one click less;
    -About  Manipulators: When animating on Blender I don't like to use the
manipulators, but with Maya it is really good somethings, like:
        - Trackball: there is no trackball on Blender manipulators, only by
the hotkey RR. In Maya, you can Ctrl+LMB to (un)select an axis and when MMB
will not move on that axis. Same has Blender with Shift+LMB, but Maya fix it
until you change it;
        - Blender has smooth rotation, holding Shift. Maya not (at least, I
don't know how). Other thing is pretty good is the Combo manipulator. To
much for me, but my Maya friends told me that is an amazing idea. Not
possible with Maya because the MMB one each time;
        - When you are using the Rotation manipulator you can't select a
controller that is in the same area of the manipulator. So you need to click
outside and then select OR Q to select and E to enable the manipulator
again; With Blender it could be easiest, because RMB you select and LMB
could be the Trackball like Maya;
        - I think the Blender hotkeys are pretty good, but could have a
trackball function in the manipulator and a Global, Local, Normal
Orientation settings by each controller Grab, Rotation and Scale (We already
have a lock for those);

    - AutoKey: Maya set keys only in what you change, like rotating on local
Z axis. I thing it is pretty good and smart. I miss that on Blender. And
clearing transformations set keys automatically too. Blender could have an
option to set up like it too (auto-keying or not the clearing), 'cause
mostly we want to clear and have it set up automatically and sometimes we
want to clear to get easily to another position;

In my humble opinion, Blender is better than Maya in a lot aspects (features
and pipelines). Things like the Clip is so hard to work in Maya and Blender
actions on the NLA editor looks really simple. It make me wonder things like
the possibility to bake NLA in a new action, for example.
Some changes in the manipulator and option to have manipulator for each
object or at least controllers personalized (Global, Normal, Local or Combo
too). Possibility to have any object (Facial controllers, for example)
parent by perspective (really useful)!

There is other things I'd like to see in Blender, like Anisculpt working
like a modifier with armature, or an armature modifier option. A light
sculpt mode, like Zbrush. But you, know, it is just a simple feature

Sorry if I said something wrong about Maya or Blender, but like all reviews,
none is perfect! It is all about the author knowledge and vision. :)
I hope this words could be usefull to someone.



Moraes Junior - aka mangojambo
3D Artist Animator
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