I've now been teaching 3D Studio Max for awhile on two different units at Bournemouth University. One question I often get is whether Max is any better or worse compared to its two main rivals; Maya & XSI. I've just come across an excellent article comparing the three which has come from Softimage recently commissioning Jon Peddie Research to conduct a series of tests on XSI, Maya and Max.
The objective of the tests was to quantify the performance advantages and disadvantages of each software package.
"Softimage has devoted considerable resources to optimizing their software for multi-core computing on the CPU side. As a result, they wanted to find a way to quantify and demonstrate the advantages. Jon Peddie Research was hired to certify that the tests were reasonable simulations of a users workload. We also recreated the tests in house and found that our results were similar to those obtained by Softimages engineers. We recognize that this is far from perfect, and we hope that other software vendors will participate and recreate the tests in their own products. The .FBX files of the models used to create the tests are available on our website and can be used to create similar tests."
So what did they measure? The tests were;
- Jogger 6K triangles and High res jogger, 35K triangles - both of these tests are good examples for game development with its emphasis on character and also skin deformation.
- Massive Urchin Turning - The massive urchin is just what it claims to be, one million polygons of sea creature with a turn movement to simulate transformations.
- Massive Urchin Twisting - The same million-polygon urchin but this time with deformation. This test stresses the machine the most in all cases.
- One Million Particles - The one million particle test demonstrates the ability of the software to generate particles along a path.
- 1000 Cubes Rotating - The turning cubes also demonstrate the ability of the software to handle transformations for 1000 objects.
- 10000 Particles with Four Goals - The 10000 particles and four goals demonstrate particles being generated and also transformed.
Read the results here
. Some of the conclusions emerging (which I personally find very interesting if somewhat disappointing for a long time Max user like me) are that firstly all 3D applications on Windows Vista are extremely problematic. More importantly when performing the same tasks, with the same models, XSI consistently won while Maya was a close second and Max a distant 3rd (sadly for a Max user like me!).
If you were completely new to 3D and were choosing a software application, why would you choose Max given this information? I think Autodesk will soon realize this if they haven't already. There is no need to have two apps (Max and XSI) geared towards the same users. Especially if one is far more efficient than the other. Moreover, while this article covers performance it is important to note that performance is not the only thing 3D artists are interested in! Using a user-friendly, intuitive, easy-to-operate, particularly for teaching novices in 3D is extremely crucial and to me Max does that far better than the other two. Still, seeing that all three competitors are under Autodesk's wing now it will be interesting to see where we go from here...