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  • Maya Vs Blender For Indie Game Studios

    [05.25.21]
    - Berke Erem

  • So Which Tool To Choose?

    After answering these questions honestly, here is a chart for my take on Maya vs Blender choice. Please note that at the time of writing, I was using Blender 2.90 and Maya 2020.

    Content Creation Strategy

    Choice

    Why?

    This is the first time I'll ever create 3D content

    Definetely Blender

    It's free and affords an easier learning curve for beginners. Maya is powerful but also complex and can be a bit frustrating for the absolute beginner (I know, I had many depressed students)

    I don't have a big budget

    Probably Blender

    Maya is somewhat expensive for creating game content. There is a lite version but it's not really useful for the complete workflow. Plus you will need to pay for Maya regularly, so if your cashflow is fragile, I'd prefer Blender.

    I'm solo

    Probably Blender

    I switched to Blender after using Maya for 15+ years. Lovely tool. Very affordable and stable.

    I don't have a beast of a workstation

    Probably Blender

    Blender is light as feather. Maya is heavy on your hardware. I'm able to open and work with my Blender files even on my weak laptop.

    My team has experience on X

    Probably X

    Properly switching in between Maya and Blender has a cost of a few months. Each offer unique workflows.

    I will animate the hair follicles on my character's arms

    Probably Maya

    Blender is strong on modeling but Maya is quite powerful for animation as well as rigging. For a detailed animation workflow I'd prefer Maya.

    I'll go for Pixar-like aesthetics

    Probably Maya

    Maya became the industrial standard for making 3D videos, so much of it's tools are optimized for that kind of workflow.

    I will model my entire world, then import it to my engine

    Not Sure

    Maya will deliver it's price tag when handling very large and detailed scenes. However as your scene gets that big, Maya can be notoriously unstable.

    How About Rendering?

    You may find a lot of comparisons online regarding rendering. Mostly it doesn't matter because in the end your game engine will do the rendering. What matters is your ability to influence the shaders and materials which will decide how the final image looks. Both tools offer industry-standard ways of creating PBR (physically-based rendering) shaders. They are both node-based too, which is quite flexible when it comes to creating complex materials. I think what you see within Maya and Blender can look pretty similar to what you will see within Unity or Unreal.

    So Which One Is It?

    I won't be concluding my article saying "it depends". I gravitate towards Blender. I don't mind paying good money for a good tool, so it being free is not very important for me. Ultimately, I find the workflow cleaner and more cohesive. Also from my 15+ years of experience, I conclude Blender is more stable. When it comes to 3D, invested time is very important for me and I can't tolerate lost time.

    What are your thoughts? How did you compare these tools? Which questions did you ask beforehand? What are some other pros and cons associated with this choice?

    I believe there is a lot more people that can benefit from community articles and guidance. Let's help each other. Please consider liking and sharing this article.

    Attribution: The beautiful cover artwork is "Duel" by Jakub Rozalski, available on Artstation

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