Modelling in Blender & Maya


blender maya modelling


Welcome to possibly one of the most useful modelling tutorials I’ll ever do! (At least from a reference point of view anyway).



  • You want to get a thorough look at the modelling tools available in Blender (& as a consequence you’ll get a glance over all the Maya equivalents)
  • You want to search for a tool that you are used to using in Maya and need to know the Blender equivalent.



  • When you’re used to the practices and prose of one application (in this instance Maya) it can be very frustrating to be in another application (Blender) wanting to merge together some vertices sat in the same location and then find out the kind of merge you were looking for is actually called ‘remove doubles’.



  • Have your tools enhance your creative flow and not compromise and halt your thoughts. The reverse can happen when you know what you want to do but can’t find the hotkey, tool name or workflow.


Modelling in Blender & Maya – Mesh Menu

Here is a list of all the modelling tools found within Maya by default and their closest Blender equivalents. Here are the ‘Mesh’ level tools, these refer to tools that typically are concerned with the object as a whole.

Maya to Blender Modelling Equivalents - MESH

Combine(Object Mode) 3D View Header > Object > Join or Ctrl J
Separate(Edit Mode) P > By Loose Parts
Extract(Edit Mode) P > Selection
BooleansProperties Window > Object Modifiers Tab > Add modifier > Boolean
SmoothProperties Window > Object Modifiers Tab > Add modifier > Subdivision Surface
Average Vertices(Edit Mode) 3D View Header > Mesh > Vertices > Smooth Vertex or W > Smooth
Transfer AttributesNOTE: UVs Only. Ctrl L > Join as UVs (active object is the uv set that is duplicated), also try Copy Attributes Addon.
ReduceProperties Window > Object Modifiers Tab > Add modifier > Decimate
Paint Reduce Weight3D View Window Header > Weight Painting Mode
Cleanupcan be done with a combination of the options within select menu of the 3D View and delete (X). Also helpful is an external addon called meshlint
TriangulateCtrl T
QuadrangulateAlt J
Fill HoleF
Make HoleNo Equivalent
Create polygonCtrl Left Click (if preferences are switched to Left Click Select this will be reversed to Ctrl Right Click)
Sculpt Geometry3D View Header > Sculpt Mode
Mirror CutClosest is Properties Window > Object modifiers Tab > Mirror (Then using Clipping & Textures)
Mirror GeometryCtrl M > Specify Axis

For further details regarding Mesh Transfer check this link –

Meshlint can be found here…


Modelling in Blender & Maya – Edit Mesh Menu

Here are the ‘Edit Mesh’ level tools or in other words the sub-object level. These refer to tools that deal with the individual components that make up an object i.e. the vertices, edges and faces of an object.

Maya to Blender Modelling Equivalents - EDIT MESH

Keep Faces TogetherBlender calls this ‘Region’ for faces together, and ‘Individual’ for apart. Can use E for Region extrude, or Alt E for the option for ‘Individual’.
ExtrudeE. Extrude along a curve is currently an Addon.
BridgeF, or Ctrl E > Bridge Two Edge Loops. More options can be found with the LoopTools addon
Append To PolygonHighlight edges first then press F
Cut FacesSelect all faces that you want included in the operation then Shift K
Split PolygonK
Insert Edge LoopCtrl R then middle mouse to set quantity
Offset Edge LoopNo Equivalent
Add DivisionsW > Subdivide
Slide EdgeCtrl E > Edge Slide
Transform Component3D View > Properties Sidebar > Transform
Flip Triangle EdgeCtrl E > Rotate Edge CW or Rotate Edge CCW
Spin EdgesCtrl E > Rotate Edge CW or Rotate Edge CCW
Poke FaceAlt P
Wedge Face3D View Tool Shelf SideBar > Spin (will spin around the 3D Cursor)
Duplicate FaceShift D
Connect ComponentsCtrl V > Vertex Connect or J. Connecting Edges is done by selecting the Edges then Ctrl E > Subdivide
Detach ComponentsIn vertex mode Ctrl V > Rip or V,
In Edge mode Ctrl E > Edge Split,
In Face mode Ctrl E > Edge Split (or Y for Split)
MergeCtrl V > Remove Doubles
Merge To CentreAlt M > At Centre
CollapseAlt M > Collapse
Merge Vertex ToolWith vertices selected in appropriate order Alt M > At First or Last.
Delete Edge/VertexX > Dissolve or Limited Dissolve for an angle based deletion.
Chamfer VertexShift Ctrl B
BevelCtrl E > Bevel or Ctrl B
Crease ToolShift E then move mouse to set. Also 3D View Properties Sidebar > Transform > Crease
Remove SelectedProperties Sidebar > Transform > Crease > Enter 0
Remove AllSelect all then same as above
Assign Invisible FacesNo direct equivalent, can assign a transparent material instead.

For any Maya users out there hopefully this has gone some way to enabling you to smooth your general modelling experience with a smooth transition into some of Blender’s modelling capabilities.



Please let me know how you get on whether you’re an old timey Maya (or other) user or a brand new Blender explorer! Any suggestions or tips please share them out! I’d love to hear about it.


Finally here is a post related to some of Blenders current limitations should you be used to working in Maya…




Or for something different check out this other tutorial…

rock paper scissors tutorial

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  • David Morrison

    You said there is no equivalent to “Make Hole” in Blender. What does Make Hole do in Maya? Are you deleting faces or are you creating a tunnel all the way through an object?

    • Hi David, the “Make Hole” tool is demonstrated at 25 mins 20 seconds in the first
      video, although there’s no direct equivalent in Blender there’s a fairly
      reasonable alternative shown, in some ways it might be preferable to
      the Maya tool. I’ll explain it a bit further if you don’t have access to
      the video if you like?

      • Input

        Use “Bridge” or “Loft” from LoopTools-Addon with “Remove Faces” active
        (in the Toolshelf) instead of Bridge two Edge Loops and delete Faces.
        Result is the same but you don’t have to delete the faces. This also works if Faces are coplanar and it’s quite usefull for getting fast holes for windows or doors

        • Ah yes, of course – I love those Loop Tools 🙂 that’ll remove the extra step as you point out. Thanks for the input! Input by name, input by nature. 😀

        • Oh yes, and just to mention here too, – I’ll collect any useful info such as this that you post and add it into the main page shortly. Thanks again! 🙂

          • Input

            Your welcome. Btw. for “Assign Invisible Faces” use “Inset (i)” on the the face which is not supposed to be rendered, assign the vertices of the new face to a vertex-group. Add an “Mask-Modifier” to the Object with invert active. You will see the result in Object-Mode. If you have an area of faces with one single vertex in the middle it’s enough to add this vertex to the group. Sometimes tricky but works. Transparency works but has some disadvantages.

          • That’s a cool way to do it with some added benefits in some cases too.

            Would your preference to using inset and generating extra zero sized faces rather than using Y to split the face be to do with preserving smooth edges? Once finished anyone using the inset method will need to remove doubles but that’s easy to remember where they are because of the vertex groups. 🙂

            I like your suggested method though, it’s quite handy to be able to see that represented in the viewport like that, in both edit and object mode. You can see the result in edit mode if you click on the ‘use modifier while in edit mode’ button.

            Great additional tips these, please keep them coming! 😀

          • Input

            I think it depends. I originaly think this modifier is supposed to be used with clothes on bodies to prevent splitting the mesh and “keep the skin” under the clothing.
            And yes splitting gives sometimes strange smoothing and i personaly don’t really like non manifold meshes when working highpoly. Also you have to deal a little bit with different effects when there is also a subdivision-modifier on the mesh. Like everytime you have to play a little bit arround with Blender and find your favourite solution. But that’s the fun-part 😉

  • Great material, I’ll try to show my friends who want to work with both Maya and Blender, or who are making the transition.

    But, just as a sidenote: you can also use Edge Slide by selecting an edge (it works in any “Mesh Select Mode”, except face, obviously :P) and pressing “G” twice. The same can be done with Vertex Slide, select a vertex, press 2x G and voilà!

    • Thanks Raphael! That’s much appreciated! 🙂

      Thanks for adding the info on the vertex slide, incidentally I had a video on the topic ready to go as a sort of addendum (which also included a bit on orientations) but decided to pull it at the last minute because of some strange snapping behaviour I was getting at the time of recording.
      The issue was only slight and probably wouldn’t have occurred if only i’d tried again – Oh well!

      Anyway thanks again, I’ll collect any useful info such as this that you post and add it into the main page shortly. 🙂

  • Hello,

    i’d like to ask how you can achieve in maya such an operation: let’s say I’m going to move the whole mesh 2 units in the local x axix and then rotate it 45 degeree around global y axis. In Blender I can press in sequence g x x 2 enter, and then r y 45 enter. I don’t even have to touch the mouse. Also, after pressing g I can move object in ‘grab’ mode, and constrain it’s movement to axis or grid using x/y/z keys, or for the latter one – just by pressing and holding ctrl while movig. HOW can I do this in maya? For me it’s the main drawback during transferring to maya and hard time to live without. So, in maya it is much harder for me to work with equal efficiency. Could you be so nice and explain how to mimic this functionality which I miss so much from blender?

  • Sergio Muñoz Saiz

    Smooth Subdivision Surface > Ctrl + 1, may be, Mouse is boring 😀

    • That’s a good one Sergio, just to elaborate for anyone reading in subdivision modelling maya users will often switch between smooth mesh preview types with the 1, 2 and 3 keys. It’s almost as fast to do this by using Ctrl + (number of subdivision you’d like), so Ctrl + 1 for one subdivision level.

      What’s happening there is it’s applying a subdivision modifier set to a preview of 1, so you can check out the other options there in the modifier tab of the properties window.

  • Jacques

    I don’t know if there is the similar issue in Maya, but as a blender user, not an expert, there are a lot of bad results with boolean modifier in Blender. And, even in your case, you get a really bad topology. Thanks a lot for sharing this video.

    • Thanks Jacques that’s much appreciated.

      Yes, you are quite right, booleans are notorious for generating topology that requires clean up.

      The topology i got in the blender boolean example i thought was actually not bad! haha. I probably should have showed the maya topology – i think it may well have had flipped faces and overlapping edges. But in any case, it’s always a good rule of thumb to use booleans as a last resort, only if with additional clean up there was no other way to do it or it’ll still be quicker.

      Having said that as i’m sure most people are aware there isn’t really any hard and fast rules, it’s a good idea to learn lots of workflows just to fortify yourself against unusual modelling circumstances that you might find yourself in. 😀

      • Jacques

        You’re right, the topology of your example is not bad, require few cleanup. I would love to use blender like nurbs tool which boolean works really nice.

        • That would be great! 🙂 Currently it seems (at least to me anyway) that Sketchup is the main free modelling tool out there that operates in a boolean sense without much slowdown or topology cleanup necessary. The workflow sort of encourages that kind of sculpting of the object by default.

          But then again, that seems to be only within Sketchup, the moment you try to export a mesh out of it, that’s when the topology calculations must kick in and the results requires the same sort of cleanup as all the others if not more.

          • Jacques

            I have found some great tut from someone who have a different kind of workflow than we used to watch in modeling tutorials like But I haven’t yet take time to learn it :

          • blender cookie are probably the main tutorial resource for the community, with blenderguru at a close second. 🙂

            The youtube link you gave looks like some good stuff too, I will be sure to take a look! Thanks! 😀

          • Jacques

            Almost 99% that I learnt about blender are from blender cookie and blenderguru 🙂 It’s just more complicated for me cause I’m French and therefore not fluent in English 🙂 Thanks to them I have a lot of fun to make design with blender!

  • The Slide Edge and Slide Vertex is now G+G. Trackball rotation: R+R. Link duplication: Alt + d, repeat duplication with the same distance: Shift + r, link a parameter: Ctrl + L, unlink: U. Subdivision surface: Ctrl + number (iteration). Freeze transformation: Ctrl + A. Reset position Alt + G, rotation Alt + R, scale Alt + s. Move along normal: Alt + s. Zoom on the selection: “.” on the numpad.

    Front: 1, Ctrl to invert (back), side: 3, top: 7, persp/ortho: 5.

  • Tim Bahrij

    Any way you could easily make a blender to maya info table like above? you list the maya feature but not its hotkey. Would be great if it could be reversable for people (like me) who know blender and are looking to learn maya.


    • I suppose I could expand a little bit on the Maya side of things. The problem is that Maya doesn’t seem to have a lot of hotkeys by default although you can certainly add them in.

      Otherwise one thing some people do is hold the spacebar (you can customise what shows here too if you like) then click ‘mesh’ or ‘edit mesh’ and you’ll have all the options at the cursor.

      Personally though, I heavily rely on the radial menus. Very similar to the pie menus that are working great in blender at the moment.

      I’ll mention a few here…

      With nothing selected…

      Shift + Right Click in the viewport for the ‘Create’ radial menu

      With Something selected in Object mode (you can toggle object/edit mode with the F8 key by the way)…

      Shift + Right Click for some modelling tools

      With Something selected in ‘Edit’ mode (or component mode as it’s termed in maya)

      Shift + Right Click for some more modelling tools (depending on what component type you have selected, i.e. while in vertex mode will show a different set of options than if you were in Face mode)

      Ctrl + Right Click for the conversion menu and some selection options.

      Otherwise the key ones are Q, W, E & R, which will switch the 3d gizmo on and off, and switch you between Move Rotate and Scale respectively. Incidentally try holding down these keys while pressing the left mouse button for another set of related radial menu options. 🙂

      Hope that helps!

      In response to Danyl below i’ve linked to another couple of pages on the site that may be helpful in comparing Maya to Blender. You might pick up some workflow differences there too. Although there’s quite a lot to go through! 🙂

      • Tim Bahrij

        Wow, I only just saw that you had thoughtfully replied to my question (I rely on email notifications and I don’t think I was subscribed)

        the shift + rightclick was EXACTLY what i was looking for. I’m doing a Bachelor of Animation and was talking to my CGI tutor, he was urging me to ‘convert’ my skills to maya and I was somewhat shocked that maya had no form of extrude key. Modeling was incomprehensibly slow in comparison to blender because i constantly had to keep going up to the tool bar or “edit mesh” menu each time I wanted to do something like extrude or insert edge loop.

        Thanks again!!

        • You’re welcome Tim! That’s great to hear.

          I think it is possible to get very fast in Blender, perhaps faster than Maya in a lot of ways. There are some great things in Maya for modelling though, it’s just a matter of digging them out or downloading a script for the extra function.

          So another tip would be to visit where you should be able to get access to a lot of additional functionality in Maya that you may be otherwise missing straight out of the box.

          Using scripts was something that i resisted for a long time in Maya, I’m not entirely sure why, i think i just wanted to make sure I wasn’t relying on things that then inhibited my knowledge of Maya’s ability at it’s core.

          In any case! Good luck with your course! 🙂

          • Tim Bahrij

            Hey thanks again!

            Will do.

  • trasherhead

    Great post. I’ve got a bachelor in Game and entertainment technology and have been using Maya for the past 2 years during my bachelor, but have to change to blender now because I can’t afford a Maya license. One thing that is critical to keep game models low poly is to be able to soften/harden edges, which Maya does.
    Is there something like that in Blender? I know that you can soften faces, but havn’t been able to use it on edges. Any workaround for this?


    • Thanks!

      If you haven’t seen it already check out some sections of the Blender overview…

      In particular the normals video (about 15 mins long) found near the bottom of this page…

      I can’t remember whether i discuss this in the video or not, but the solution (edge split modifier) literally splits the edges in 2. Now although Maya doesn’t strictly do this in the viewport before an export to the game engine, once it does export into a game engine the duplicate edges are usually created and so behave essentially the same way in the end.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  • Lasse Rützou Bruntse

    This was really helpful! Thanks! I’m doing my bachelor in animation and have to switch to Maya, so this felt like a great way to get an overview of its functions.

    You are awesome!

    • Glad I could help! That’s really good to hear, maybe when you’ve finished your course you could do some Maya animation to Blender conversion or vice versa stuff! I think it’s very handy to be a bit multi-lingual as it were when it comes to 3D.

      😀 Good luck with your course!

  • AgNO3

    I want to know how to make an object live like maya. So I can draw on its surface with another tool like a nurbs or even other poly tools.

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