I am seriously exploring Blender.

As of this morning, I’m on frame 1300 of a 1500 frame rendering in Maya (see Animation – New York, New York). The rendering isn’t the problem. It’s the multiple crashes and the overall general ‘iffy-ness’ I’ve always had with Maya.

Sure it has a great number of rigs and it’s an industry standard, blah, blah, blah.

But it’s also expensive if you’re not savvy enough to get a bootleg. Regardless of their new-ish subscription service. Though Maya doesn’t crash as much as earlier iterations, it still gets you when you least suspect it and can piss you off. I’m suffering right now with random breaks on some Arnold batch rendering TX error with images. I can estimate a time for the render to be done, then this error will stop the process cold. I’ve restarted the renderer multiple times now.

So, instead of spending the rest of my ducking and dodging errors, licensing issues, and so on, time to take another look at Blender. I’ve checked it out YEARS ago (mid-late 90’s) and wasn’t entirely impressed with the layout because, at the time, I thought it was too much like Maya (which I wasn’t into at the time either. I was a die-hard 3DS Max man back then).

Goes to show you how times change. I still use Max mostly for object conversion and some object creation. I’m all into Maya … and the transition to Blender just makes sense now.

To start, I watched this GREAT tutorial ( on all the basics of Blenders controls. I’ll also put it in my tutorial vault. Definitely worth watching and re-watching. This was so I can understand if I’m getting ready to paddle up the wrong stream. Turns out, except for translation/rotation differences (Z, X, Y directions), Blender still retains it’s ‘Maya-ish’ feel but with more. For some reason, everyone wants to set their animation package directions differently than the other. I would think Z-depth should be a standard as opposed to Z-up. Max is different than Maya. Poser is different, I think. So is Daz Studio.

Anywho, then I checked out this tutorial on the basics of Blender character animation ( This was helpful because I didn’t want to hunt for mystery locations of setting things to step (I believe is called ‘constant’ in Blender), or where the graph editor was. Based on the tutorial, everything seems in good order and easy to find.

I also did a quick search for character rig pickers, which I thought was a unique workflow enhancement for any animator in Maya. Now that AnimSchool is charging money for it’s picker, and a really good one for Maya is MG Studio at $130, if you need to save anything; I was really hoping Blender had some options.

Sure does!

And all of this: from the application itself, to cool rigs to the picker …. all free and extremely powerful.

Why I continue to fuck around with Maya, I’ll never know.

Needless to say, Blender has a history of amazing finished animation. For instance…


Almost painfully terrific while Maya still claims the top spot, for some reason.

Welp, after Maya finishes rendering this project, and after I edit and post it, the plan is to install Blender and start tooling around with their rigs. However, I’m sorta-kinda still committed to a few ideas that require Maya so it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

I wouldn’t be surprised, if I keep trending in this direction, I’ll be jumping ship to Blender by early next year.

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