From Maya to Blender: Part 1

Oct 19, 2022 at 10:48 am by nemirc

From Maya to Blender: Part 1
From Maya to Blender: Part 1

As you know, I have been a Maya user for the mosto f my 3D life. I have been using it since around 2004, and I’ve never had the need to use another app, even tough I have learned a little bit of Max and Cinema 4D. Well, this is changing now, and I will officially begin my transition from Maya to Blender today. A while ago, I wrote about how your digital purchases may not be yours (wait, there’s a point I want to make), and I considered everything from a company removing a product from its catalog, a company going out of business, and you losing your account. However, there’s one thing I didn’t consider at the point: what happens when a company decides to turn off software authentication.

My latest Maya perpetual license is Maya 2014. I had been using that version for a while, until the moment that I decided to uninstall it because I want to do some computer clean-up. Little did I know it was the last time that Maya version would ever see the light of day, because, when I re-installed Maya and ran the software activation, the app said it could not be activated because Autodesk dropped activation support for older apps. That meant the only way I could keep using my Maya 2014 is to never uninstall it, no matter what (ignore the fact that, at some point, I may need to upgrade my computer).

Luckily for me, I also had a Maya LT 2020 copy that I could install and activate. Unfortunately, this version expires next year, and that means no more Maya for me after that date on 2023. This has given me the push I needed to switch from Maya to another app and, since we are in a time when we need to save money, I decided to start learning Blender. Luckily for me, I can still use Maya LT, so I can keep using that while I become more familiar with Blender.

Does that mean I will never go back to Maya? I don’t know. Maybe I will get Maya for a few months at some point (since Maya is now a SaaS), but I can’t say.

So, time to explore Blender… After launching the software and closing the Splash screen, the first thing I test is the navigation. Blender’s navigation is pretty similar to Maya’s, so that’s one less thing to worry about. On top of that, I can also use my old 3DConnexion SpaceExplorer (that I’ve had for over 10 years). The only difference was the zooming, since I am used to zoom moving the mouse left and right, and the default Blender setting was up and down. However, I could easily change that in the preferences.

Likewise, the transform shortcut keys are the standard ones. Q for selecting, W for moving, E for rotating and R for scaling. Blender also has this global transform tool that you get by pressing the T key, which I found really cool, but I doubt I’ll ever use.

While looking around, I notice the right half of the menus are in fact dynamic menus, like Maya. You can switch from one menu set to another by selecting the option (sculpting, animation, rendering, etc.). The one that wasn’t really clear from reading the name was the Layout menu set, but I saw this is the one I have to use if I want to add objects and perform transformations. Keep in mind I am not using tutorials yet, since I am mostly exploring the software.

The reason I am not doing it is because I don’t have use for a “create a soccer ball in Blender, in 5 minutes!!!” tutorial. I have been using Maya for very specific things since 2011, when I got into game development, and I want Blender to be a replacement, meaning I want to use Blender for the exact same things. No “creating a full living room with GI and animated curtains” any time soon either.

My next step is to explore the modeling tools. See you next time!

Sections: Tips + Tutorials

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