There are many different applications on the market that you can use for your work to create a 3D configurator. The two most popular software solutions available are 3ds Max and Maya. In the following article we would like to analyze and evaluate the strenghts and weaknesses of the two 3D applications. Basically, we would like to answer the following question. 3ds Max or Maya – which software is better?

In a first step, we would like to clarify the question of whether it is more likely to get a well-paid job with knowledge of 3ds Max or Maya.

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The recruitment decision in practice is often not made on the basis of the knowledge of a certain software, but on the basis of the acquired knowledge or skills in 3D modeling. If you are an excellent 3D modeller, you will certainly be considered for job advertisements with required Maya skills if you have perviously specialised in 3ds Max.

3ds Max and Maya have their respective strenghts and the selection decision should be made according to your own preferences and intended use.

In any case, both applications have now become industry standards and are probably the two most powerful programs. The selection decision essentially depens on how you want to use the corresponding software.

What do you want to use the software for?

This question is of central importance for your selection decision. Do you want to create 3D character models or animations? Or maybe you want to get into game design so that you can use the application to create game models or game animations. Whatever the case, you should know exactly what you want to do with the program so you can make the right choice.


Both software solutions have integrated the Mental Ray rendering engine into the software, so you`re in good hands for rendering with both applications. Of course, the workflow may be a little different, but you can achieve similar results in both applications.


3ds Max has a very robust modeling toolset wirh a huge library of modifiers that can simplify the modeling process. Depending on how new you are in the 3D world, modeling in 3ds Max may be a little easier to understand. If you are familiar with the Boolean operator, 3ds Max works much easier and smoother than Maya. For users in architectural visualization, 3ds Max is the better choice. In particular, 3ds Max Design is popular with architects and in high demands. In Maya, the modeling of complex models is more difficult to accomplish and errors can only be corrected with much more effort.


Maya is better suited for animations because it has a huge library of animation tools. If you have knowledge of MEl or Python, you can better customize Maya to your individual needs. Also 3ds Max is very well suited for creating animations, but Maya is more user-friendly and offers a huge delection of different animation tools. That`s why Maya is the better choice for animations.


Maya is also slightly ahead when it comes to rigging. However, it requires a little more programming in MEL if you want to create complex character rigs. In Maya very complex rigs can be created, which can hardly be managed in 3ds Max.

Where Maya shines.

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Maya`s proprietary scripting language MEL is highly customizable and this is one reason why Maya is very common in the movie industry. Developer studios very often use this possibility to develope their own tools that help them to do their job much easier. Maya is known in the industry  for its robust rigging and animation tools and animator-friendly workflow. An affordable alternative for game developers is Maya LT. Naturally, access to all of Maya`s features is not possible, but Maya LT contains the most important for a game developer such as modeling, animation or texturing.

Where 3ds Max shines.

3ds Max is known for its powerful modeling tools, which allow you to create complex 3d models with a very fast workflow and robust modifiers, with all the poly modeling tools included in one area of the user interface. It also has some really great architectural visualization features that Maya can`t offer. In addition, beginners will find 3ds Max easier to learn than Maya.

The big factor.

The biggest factor influencing the selection decision has less to do with the toolset of the application than with its operating system. Maya is available for Windows, Linux and OSX platforms. 3ds Max, on the other hand, for Windows operating systems, i. e. if you are a Mac and Linux user, 3ds Max is probably not the best choice.

What judgment should you make?

You really need to know exactly what you want to use the application for, because that`s largely what makes the choice. If you want to get into character animation, Maya is probably the best choice. Also 3ds Max offers great animation possibilities, but due to the large selection of animation tools Maya has a clear advantage.

When it comes to modeling, any software will do the job. It really depends on which workflow you prefer. 3ds Max has a robust modeling toolset, but Maya has also done a lot in this respect. The toolset has been greatly expanded in recent months.

3ds Max has been seen as a 3D application for the gaming industry and is known to have a little more flexibility and options. However, Maya LT is also a good choice when it comes to game development.

However, if you specialize in architectural visualization, 3ds Max will almost certainly be the best choice.

Is one software solution really better than the other?

There will certainly be mixed opinions about the two software solutions. Depending on the user, the opinions can be very different. Once you`ve familiarized yourself with the user interface and a particular workflow, you`ll be able to familiarize yourself with each other`s applications much faster. At the end of the day, however, it`s your preference that decides which application to choose, because the tools are basically doing the same job. For example, in both applications there is the command “extrude” with which you can set keyframes. Both alternatives also give you access to a curve editor. Ultimately, the user decides how these tools are actually used to create the corresponding content. At the beginning you should try the respective free trial version to find out which workflow suits you best.

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If you`re an experienced designer and wonder if you`ve been using the right application all along, we can reassure you. You don`t have to worry about that, because ultimately the quality of your work is the key to good results, not the application with which you completed your work. There are also many other 3D applications that you can use in your work. You can read more about them in this article. It is obvious that both 3ds Max and Maya are extremely powerful programs.

This article should help you to make the right choice. But ultimately there is no right or wrong decision, as the quality of the decision can vary greatly depending in the project or your own preferences.