I am a heavy AE/FCP/Mac user and I have come to realize recently that my tools are limited and I need to move into the 3D world. I have 2 projects that I am (fortunately/unfortunately) simplifying because of this.
•My only use of 3D is the AE environment.
•I am almost exclusively a Mac user, but not at all opposed to using Windows
•I am not daunted by having to learn, just looking for the best tool
•This is not be a primary career direction, but I need to be fluent.
In the long-term I am looking to do:
• Some light modeling
• Creating more in-depth particle/elemental effects that I cannot compose in AE/Motion
I have read many posts on many forums, but it's like reading AVID Vs. FCP threads (people competing for which is superior). I just want to know whats best for what I need to do.
Any constructive info would be greatly appreciated.
MB 2.13GHz/2GB, MB Pro 2.4GHz/4GB, Mac Pro 2x2.93GHz 6-Core/8GB, Sony HDR-FX1....EX3 soon.
Actually, maybe you shouldn't pick either. You say you're planning on using it for light modeling, particle effects and you are a heavy Mac user. Those combined pretty much scream 'Cinema4D'. It works great with AE, it's learning curve isn't nearly as steep as with Maya. I don't think it can do water simulation and stuff though.
If you insist on Maya or Max, I'd pick Maya. Max is more aimed towards architectual visualisation and game-art, whereas Maya lays its focus at animation and effects. That said: these days Max and Maya don't differ THAT much anymore, so you can probably do anything you want in both packages. Do note, however, that Max is not available for Mac.