General question: Maya & fatal errors
I've been working with Maya for about 1,5 years now and there's something I've noticed: the _massive_ amount of fatal errors one can get. For the silliest things. I can easily get up to 30 fatal errors A DAY. Lately they especially pop up when I use the smooth preview. The only fix is to export my model as FBX and re-import it. But pretty much anything can cause a fatal error to occur. The polygon split or insert edge loop are popular as well.
Now I'm not really looking for a solution to the smooth preview fatal error, because I can work around it. But it did make me wonder: does everyone have so many fatal errors?
It has come to a point that I find myself wondering why I'm still using this instable piece of software and why on earth large production offices use it.
Share your thoughts, I really want to know.
Ben van H.
What graphics card are you using? Maya is notoriously picky. It even tends to exhibit errors on 'officially qualified' cards.
The situation you're describing is one of the worst I've heard about--but it's not unheard of, if you follow me. I agree, it's pretty disappointing and frustrating. My perception is that the big studios have top-notch hardware and higher-level support from Autodesk; the rest of us are left to limp along as best we can.
I never thought a graphics card could affect it like that. It's a Nvidia GeForce GTS 450. And by the looks of it, Autodesk does not recommend/support it.
I very often run into problems when splitting polygons. If I don't get fatal errors, then it usually just.. does not do anything. I select 2 points, press enter and, poof, nothing. It feels like I've stepped on the toes of the Maya gods and made them very angry. It makes my current messy .IGES conversion to clean Maya geometry process very slow and painful.
Same for the insert edge loop function and the smooth preview. I can barely imagine the GPU being that involved in such operations. I use the default quality renderer, no fancy viewport 2.0 or HQ renderer.
I'm afraid I don't have nearly enough technical knowledge to have any certainty about the issue; take my comments with a healthy dose of salt.
That being said, everything you do in Maya's interface utilizes the GPU to some extent.
Even just selecting objects usually invokes pre-selection highlighting these days, which requires the GPU to draw in those temporary overlays (the 'ghostly' version of the edge loop you are about to cut in, for example). The performance of these visual cues reminds me of the artisan brush interface (red circle aligned to the surface you're painting), which I know has often in the past exhibited problems with unqualified video cards.
I don't think that's related to the poly split tool sometimes not splitting... I have that experience myself, and I'm not sure of the cause. I suspect it has something to do with the topology of the polys in question, possibly in combination with the angle you happen to be viewing it at (there's the GPU again, so maybe it's related after all...).
All this being said, a few years ago I experimented with a few different video cards, shamelessly abusing a retailer's lenient return policy. I tried a GeForce, a Radeon, and a Fire GL (the only one officially approved by Autodesk). All three had problems--yes, including the Fire GL, which also came with weaker performance in other applications (= games, ahem)... and all this at more than twice the price of the others! My relationship to Maya's hardware requirements since then has been one of barely-suppressed resentment and loathing. They clearly have zero interest in supporting smaller indie artists; they only seem to care about large studios with gold support contracts and high-level tech support. The rest of us have to make do and find workarounds.
Sorry I don't have better news for you!
Hm, I didn't know Maya leaned on the GPU this heavily with simple operations like split. I have noticed that the split tool usually works just fine. It's when the topology is severely messed up that the tool starts to malfunction. Coincidentally, that's when I need the split tool most.
I've managed to get the results I needed regardless of these issues, but it could've been so much easier.
Unfortunately for me, the agency I work for has recently switched to Cinema4D as the primary 3D software, since I was the only non-Cinema user left. So I doubt my boss is going to support Maya with any resources (such as a Maya compatible GPU). I can still use Maya for modeling, but not for texturing/rendering.
Guess I'll have to start a major production studio.
Thanks for your help!
[Ben van Hamelen] "I didn't know Maya leaned on the GPU this heavily with simple operations like split."
Well, I don't think it needs to 'lean heavily' on it in order for it to crash. I'm not saying the GPU is necessary for Maya to perform the split calculation--I'm sure it isn't--but as part of what's happening in the interface the GPU does need to calculate the results, just to show them to you. If that causes a crash, then that causes a crash--even if it was some procedure entirely secondary to the actual poly split calculation that did it, you know?
A possible workaround for really damaged topology is to simply delete the problematic face and then use Poly Append to build it back in in pieces rather than trying to split it. Sounds like you've mostly gotten past the issue anyway, though.