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

joe joeedh at gmail.com
Tue Feb 17 01:13:35 CET 2009

Comments interspersed below.

On Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 10:20 AM, Mango Jambo <moraesjunior at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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:

I'll occasionally suggest things I learn from maya myself, so I know
what you mean.  I have to use it for my school (kindof annoying,
because I don't have quite enough RAM for it :/ ).

> - 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
> Blender;

I agree, though I believe our UI is at least better thought-out (it's
not meant to be easy to learn like maya's is, though that may change
in the near future).

> - 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;

My school tells us all not to use linked files, just import stuff.
I've been wondering why; it's probably that.

> - 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
> Blender;
>     - 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!

Keep in mind, maya is the industry standard not because it's a good
piece of software (it's not) but because it's highly extensible.
Studios can extend maya to do whatever they need, and they like that;
it's almost more of a software platform then an artistic tool.

>     - 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)
>         Blender:
>         - RMB to select > G to grab > X,Y or Z Axis if needed (twice to
> local axis) > LMB to confirm;
IIRC, the theory of this design, is that it's easier on your hands do
work this way (you're not holding down a mouse button).  I find this
to be true for me, though for others it might be annoying.

>         - 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;

Heh I just wish when you try to left click on an axis and just barely
miss, that it wouldn't trackball.  I've not really used middle mouse
with the manipulator in maya like that, it sounds like a much better
workflow then what I've been doing.

>         - 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;

Yeah this is one of the biggest pet peeves I have myself.  I wonder if
you can remap the selection hotkey to rightmouse. . .that'd be cool.

>         - 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)

Ah, so have default transform space settings for every bone/object?
That's a good idea.

>     - 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;
Ah iirc that should be supported (Aligorith did lots of work on more
intelligent autokeying).
I could be remembering wrong though.
> Conclusion:
> 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)!

What does parent by perspective mean?  But yeah I agree.  Maya really
isn't that great.  Sometimes I wonder, if we made blender
uber-extensible, would compete with maya?  Seems that's what the
industry really cares about.  Certainly the developers or maya have
never really seemed to care about their users.

> 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
> requests.
> 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.
> Cheers.
> --
> Moraes Junior - aka mangojambo
> 3D Artist Animator
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