Cheetah3D vs Maya vs 3DMax

I have tried to learn Maya, but I have no experience with 3D modeling. And I think Maya was very difficult to learn if you are a beginner like me.
How is Cheetah3D vs Maya and 3DMax?
Cheetah3D is cheaper, but can you import models from Cheetah3D to Unity as easy as Maya?
Hi and Welcome.
Cheetah3d is cheaper is a nice understatement:

...and 3Ds Max is not available for macOS.
Unity opens Cheetah3d native ".jas"-file format without the need to export. (Cheetah3d´s procedural materials needs to be baked to image based texture though).
I have no idea where you want to go exactly but I´m sure it´s easier to learn because of the enormous complexity&range-of-functions of Maya for instance.
I know - not big help - but you can try Cheetah3d by downloading it from here:



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Maya is one of the top 3d apps used by studios, but it's expensive and subscription only. Like Frank said too, it's really complex. It's suppose to be one of the best 3d apps for character animation. A good number of 3d apps have some type of character animation tools, but apparently the ones in Maya are the most extensive.

If you are learning 3d though, Cheetah 3d can't be beat for what you get for the price. It will allow you to learn a lot about 3d without being overwhelmed by options and buttons you have no idea what they do. I'm not saying you couldn't learn straight from Maya, but box modeling is nearly the same in most 3d apps with a few tool variations between them all.

I use several 3d apps, but I typically start in C3d because a lot of the workflow can remain non-destructive for the most part. Allowing me to tweak my scene as revisions are needed.

Good luck and hope to see you around the forums. :)
Many years ago, I tried Maya, but it was difficult. I found Cheetah3D and never looked back. It provided me a nice second income for 11 years, and now it is my only income. Very capable, very easy to learn, very inexpensive, and if that isn't enough, this right here is the most helpful and friendly forum that I have ever encountered.


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I did the same as BillG.

I was looking at Maya at one point, but just after I started getting into it, Autodesk switch to the subscription only licensing model. So that's when I decided it wasn't worth it to me to learn. I do make some freelance money off of 3d and also use it for my daily graphic design job. But I don't make enough to justify the cost of subscription to the more expensive 3d apps. If I were using them hours a day like I do with the Adobe suite, then it may be a different situation.


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* Same as my learned colleagues above:
* If you just start out in 3D modelling, there are no competitors to Cheetah 3D on the metrics of cost and power. Don't be fooled by the apparent intuitive simplicity of the UI. There are levels of ingenious trickery under the bonnet.
* All you really need is a good understanding of geometry. The rest you learn as you learn everything:
* :unsure: TRIAL and
* :devilish: ERROR and
* :) A LITTLE HELP OF YOUR FRIENDS on this very forum

* I hope you enjoy C3D.
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I would never buy, (read rent), anything from Autodesk. Ever.

I was a Softimage user back when Avid owned it, and I have to say it was far and away the best software package around IMHO. Then Autodesk bought it.

Those scumbags instantly release a new version 7 and told us 6 owners we had to upgrade. After a few months they literally pulled the plug on previous versions by killing off the activation servers. After a few years they killed off the package entirely. Imagine putting a years worth of work into content that can no longer be used unless you buy the latest version of their software. Yeah, I am still salty about this and it has been over a decade.

Needless to say I can not put my true thoughts on Autodesk into words without being banned, but I can tell you to stay away from anything Autodesk unless you have an unlimited budget.

The one good thing to come from that was shortly there after I bought my first Mac and Cheetah 3D. One of the best things I could have ever done. :)
Max is a fantastic program; I think it’s the most Mac-like 3d program but sadly it only runs on Windows. I’ve never really cottoned onto maya or its predecessors. Modo is also really nice and less expensive than Maya.

On the whole, if you’re a full time 3d Pro with deadlines to meet, Maya or whatever is probably worth it. But C3D is simple, lightweight, and can do all the key things reasonably well.
I'm a little late to the party, but have to agree with everyone here. You can't beat Cheetah3d. I also have a subscription to max, nothing wrong with the program and I use it a lot, I just use Cheetah more. Its always our last step before putting a game model in Unity and Unity works perfectly with the Cheetah file format.
Good to read that Cheetah even finds its place in professional pipelines. And no question, it's a good, solid, stable and very, very affordable program.

While in this forum the members for obvious reasons favor Cheetah, the comparison to Max und Maya is still not very fair, as those programs are at the top functionwise and of course in the price category. And of course they are more complicate to handle as they have a felt gazillion features that not everybody needs. It's been a time since I laid may hands on Maya and didn't accomplish much there. It was definitely not made for me, while max on the other hand is in my opinion the best package around (the os aside, it's so darn expensive that it's for me out of the question).

But somehow the original question strikes me a bit on the wrong side ... Cheetah or Maya ... and nothing in between. It depends on the needs, of course, and in my opinion there are a lot of packages out there well worth their money depending on this needs. Most of them are easier to learn than Maya, which is on the other side an animator's dream come true. Modo is for modeling (and to be fair, as easy as I find it most of the time, I gather that a lot of people have their problems with it. So it's probably as difficult as Maya for most), Houdini has it's special strenghts in fx (and procedural modeling), C4D is the actual industry standard and a jack-in-the box that does it all at full price whit the one or the other plugin, Max is the king who does it all equally fine (and the arnold renderer is probably 2nd to none. Well, there is Maxwell ...) and blender, well, nothing beats it's price. Which solutions too chose is in the end a question of needs, personal preferences (and habit) and of course, budget. As the OP asked about Maya, the last one doesn't seem to be a big concern...

For beginners I really would recommend Cheetah anyway, because there is not so much clutter in the way of learning that what's really important. But that stays the same in all those packages, and there the learning curve gets quiet steep. To really get into 3d, to learn all those stuff about vertices and their maps, subdivision modeling, texturing and so on, needs a lot of stamina, patience, time and some intelligence. And then, after a year or two, when you think you really got it all, the learn process starts for real.

Good luck and have fun whatever software you use on whatever system you prefer.