I am entertaining the idea of expanding my knowledge into 3D animation. I have seen a lot of things done with Maya and with Lightwave. My question is; what is the difference between the two? What makes one better than the other or are they apples and oranges?
Any insight would be wonderful! I would love to skill all the way up to motion picture worthy animation. I know Maya can be over 7K, but didn't know if price tag suggested better for the purpose. Thank you in advance.
The 2K version will be more than adequate if you're just starting out.
I've been told Lightwave is easier to learn but not as powerful (or deep) as maya. I only know Maya and don't really know that for sure. The only real way for you to know which you prefer is to download the demos to both and check them out. One of them will pop out as the app of choice once you start playing with them and it's really the only sure-fire way to tell which is going to be better for you, at least in the beginning. If you have a specific potential employer you want to work for or if you need to do something specific that certain apps do better than others, then you'll base your decision off of those factors. If you just wanna learn 3D then you have lots of choices. Cinema4D is supposed to have the best integration with After Effects, Specialty 3D apps like bryce and poser make it easy to accomplish specific tasks, like landscapes and character modeling and simple animation respectively. XSI softimage has a cheaper version out for around $500 it seems like and 3D Studio Max is regarded by the tool of choice among the gaming community (Maya's known for entertainment and special effects and is quite customizable because its entire core is based off programming languages that can be changed to suit specific needs, etc.). They each have their specialties and each are better in their own way than the others as far as functionality and features. I'm inclined to think Maya probably has most of the features the others do too and 3D Studio Max has the largest collection of 3rd party plug-ins, similar to how after effects rules the roost in the plug department in the compositing world.
Research where you want to go and who you want to work for, what you want to do, how you like to work and download those demos and after consolidating that you'll have a real good idea which direction to take.
Hope that helps.
(John David Hutton)
Digital Effects Artist, Support Technician
Kansas City, Kansas - United States