3ds max maya logoThe work of 3D designers and animators is closed connected with multiple software tools that are designed to ease the process of creation of 3D artworks. Being a 3D modeler or animator means being well acquainted with all types and features of 3D modeling and animation software tools that are used to highlight your creations.

In this article we are going to focus on two 3D modeling and animation software, namely 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya.

General overview

Almost all 3D experts agree that there is no fundamental big difference between 3ds Max and Maya. Still, these two 3D tools differ in a lot of small significant features and we are now going to discuss advantages and disadvantages of both.

A very interesting part about these two competing software is that they are owned by the same company – Autodesk. Surprised?!

Major differences

So here are their main features that make them different:

  1. Different user interface (left to right: 3ds Max, Maya)
  2. 3ds max  autodesk maya

  3. History/operator stack of both software work quiet similar.
  4. Both software tools have all important tools for modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, rendering and dynamics.
  5. Some animators agree that Maya can handle higher level of complexity (e.g. high end character-rigs) where 3ds Max tend to get unstable.
  6. 3ds Max has got a lot of small tools that make the job done faster.
  7. There are some nice plugin renderers available for 3ds Max.
  8. Some artists swear by the poly tools in Maya. It fits well for organic modeling, whereas there are more precision tools in 3ds Max.
  9. 3ds Max is well optimized for architectural visualization.
  10. 3d interior 3D render 3D room

  11. Maya is great with tasks that involve character rigging and animation superimposing.
  12. Maya has a huge advantage over 3ds Max when it comes to modeling nurbs as it uses different approach and is more user friendly.
  13. Many 3D animators consider Maya a better software for creating 3D animation as it has greater capacity for simulating realistic animations and effects.
  14. 3D animation 3D character 3D people

  15. 3D max has strong rendering capabilities, improved interoperability with industry-standard products as well as additional time-saving animation and mapping workflow tools.
  16. Maya is widely used for film making and TV production.

User’s voice

What people say about 3ds Max and Maya:

“Generally Max is used more for games and Maya for film work, though there is an increasing amount of studios that has started to use Maya. The general consensus is that Max has better modeling tools, while Maya has better animation tools.” 


“Once I learned Maya, I LOVED the navigation style. So much so that when I switched back to Max, I HAD to get theDraster plugin for the Maya style navigation.”


“Functionally, both programs are essentially the same. They do the same things, but in different ways. Choosing between them is really more a matter of personal preference and, more subtly, desired profession.”


“Maya has a much more comprehensive, although confusing layout and workflow. It also has its own embedded language for further detail. 3DS Max does not work well with anything that involves movement, it is only good for texturing and meshing models”


To sum up

To make a conclusion, 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya are not too different and it is just a matter of taste what software to work with. Our 3D modeling company utilizes both software tools for certain areas and tasks.