alias vs maya

I really want to learn alias…but where i live only maya is offered…because they are made by the same people, and the modelling techniques appear basically the same, would it be worth it to take an intro to maya course and then be good enough to get right into alias?

I know there is a tonne of crossover between the programs, but exactly how much i’m unaware…


it entirely depends on what you hope to do with your skills. if you want to learn surfacing or product design for manufacturing, don’t bother with maya. ykh among others has learned to use maya for design, together with a solid modeling package, but it was intended as an animation package and doesn’t have many features designers need.

while the general concepts of modeling and rendering nurbs are similar, the interfaces are very different. even tools with the same names and functions are sometimes not at all alike between studio and maya. also, i think learning the maya interface will not help you learn studio later.

if you just want to start modeling in nurbs, rendering, animating, then hey, maya is a good platform to learn the concepts.

would debate what designers “need”. no, Maya is not the best package for ID. but the NURBs tools are not too different than earlier versions of Studio imo.

it also depends on what the goal is. not every designer makes their CAD toolable. i do. and b/c i do i need the surfaces to go solid in Pro/E. that means i have to do certain things. others using Maya just for reference surfaces (aka design control drawings) wont. i doubt most IDers make toolable data.

example: - an illustrator. nice product stuff. tool from it? probably not. could i take it into Pro/E, put on layer and use as reference? sure. thats what most places still do with ID surfaces anyway (tho thats changing).

i cant answer question on similarities anymore. Studio rel 9.0 was last Alias studio i used. but they are different. and Maya Complete has fewer NURBs tools than Studio (i use Unlimited, more but still fewer NURBs than Studio). but when i was using Studio and Complete, the interface was similar enough to cause confusion. different enough to be a new experience.

Just wanted to point out that most of the work on my site is indeed tooling data, in particular all the mobile telecommunications stuff. These models were built in studio tools and UG (not all by me though) and are either used for tooling the actual product or the appearance model/prototype. Although I am primarily an illustrator I am an IDer originally and have done quite a bit of full on product modeling for prototyping and tooling in Studio tools and UG.

I would have to agree with the opinions about Maya though. I do use Maya for rendering but generally use studio tools for any product modeling or data conversion.

The above link is out of date now but anyone who is interested in seeing my work can go to


my bust Brendan. that link i posted indicated Maya was used. assumed that meant modeling and that draft wasnt included. this one caught my eye -

your design? and is this a Maya model or Alias/UG rendered in Maya MR? curious.

beautiful work btw. would love to talk shop sometime.


This was designed by the industrial design dept of the company I worked for in Singapore. I was primarily hired as an illustrator to head the media department but because of my ID background I was able to do concept work and both concept and advanced modeling. I rarely went all the way with any product as it was really outside my scope of work. We did produce some fairly cool products for SE and HP. In the last year I was there the direction came increasingly from the Sony design directors as opposed to the internal designers…mostly cos of politics.

yeah anyway, the model was produced in Alias and then finished in UG, exported to Maya and rendered with Mental Ray.

This was a tooling model and (may it doesn’t look it) was one of the most complex models we produced… a real pain, and was rebuilt several time (glad it wasn’t me). Because of the fact that it was for tooling the surfaces lacked alot of the subtlte detail that makes a good illustration I spent quite a while cleaning and filleting the model. This is generally what I do when I get ths kid of data, Just recently I did a series of illustrations for Peugeot (907 concept for paris motor show this year) and received all the data from Catia as Iges but hardly any filleting was done and I had to spend a few days doing this. Because it’s a prototype all this detail is added in either the machining process or by hand finishing.

BTW thanks for pointing out about the software usage… I really should add the modeling software for each. Never really crossed my mind to do that for products I didn’t personally model. I do have an additional credit for when the model has been supplied to me.

Do feel free to email me anytime for a chat. My email address is on my site.

thx for the feedback

well, i’m gonna look past maya…see right now i am fluent in solidworks…I know that program real well but need to know an advanced surfacer… or a program where i can come up with quick forms and renderings (not for tooling)

solidworks isn’t best for quick modelling and is brutal at surfacing…so it’s either a rhino course, learn alias on my own (they seem to have good tutorials and trials) or get a personal copy of pro-e and figure that out with help from work…hmmmm

what to do?

i like surfacing in Pro, but dont think most people do. foundation surfacing i mean. just never got into ISDX. i’d do what most do - use Rhino with SW.

I hear the new SW 2005 is supposed to be really good at surfacing, a huge leap from previous versions. Anybody?