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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another Maya 3d Rant

I was writing these notes in response to  what some 'experts' said on the topic of switching from Maya to a new program. The thread devolved into arguing how good maya is, (or not good). I don't enjoy that they couldn't stick to the topic at hand. But the point remains.
I dunno. I just want to create some pretty pictures, not delve into technical aspects. I will look into the architecture of the program when I feel I am ready.

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The point is, if you're spending $3000 dollars on a piece of software, the team should invest some more time in fixing bugs, not releasing a new version with the same bugs.
The point is, you use a program for ease of use in addition to being powerful. You shouldn't have to spend hours with tutorials in order to do one effect. You shouldn't
Maya should meet you partway  with their tools, making them understandable to use, and relatively bug free. Maya has achieved this somewhat, but in many ways it doesn't.
There's a button in maya that crashes the program when you press it. You will be in object mode and click on an icon, I forget which, and the program crashes. I call this bugginess, and it shouldn't be that way. Maya crashed on me twice, in the same day, and a total of 3x in the same week. Blender crashed a few months ago for me.
All I was doing was modelling.

Albeit, I could read the documentation, but its written at such a high level as to be inaccessible in general, and confusing when you sit to decipher it.

Similarly, I have read Blender documentation, making more sense when doing basic tasks.

I am an undergrad student taking one animation class. Why do I have to delve deeply into the architecture of the program to be able to model and put a few textures on? Why do I get a fatal error when trying to extrude something? Move some vertices on a low poly model? Why do I need a tech support team in order to figure out what is happening in these errors and glitches? I have project deadlines to meet, (and a good grade to try and get), I just want to get a simple model up and running. It takes the technician several days to fix any complex problems we have with the software.

My biggest problem with maya is that its extremely clunky and slow, both on my laptop and the animation lab computers. One has to go through the menus instead of using hotkeys much of the time, say if you were to slide a set of edges down the mesh.

The compatibility from version to version isn't great. I was so frustrated that I couldn't open a simple modeled and textured image that my teammate had made. Turned out I was using 2011 and they were using 2012, and so the model wouldn't open in my version, had to transfer my file to the school computer.

Why should I have to delve deeply into Euler's method of approximation to find the length of a curve, and how Maple or Latex uses it, if I want to quickly estimate a curve? It is similar to this.

Instead of trying to sell a new product every year,k focus should be made on fixing these issues rather than adding new shiny features. People are paying a great deal for a powerful program. Lots of bugs and uneasy workflow takes away from that power. Having 1 million working features doesn't detract from 5 nonworking features, especially if those 5 are crucial.

To some extent, people that work with 3d programs are techincal artists.  But really, does a 10th grader look at 3d animation and say: "Ooh I want to spend the day debugging a 3d program rather than creating beautiful 3d images!"?

-MNR