Review: Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate 2013
Artists can now create sophisticated crowd simulations in a dedicated environment within Softimage. Using the power of the ICE (Interactive Creative Environment) multi-threaded particle system, artists can create massively complex effects with huge numbers of characters that react intelligently to their environment and each other. CrowdFX simulations can be easily exported to Maya 2013 for integration into existing Maya scenes
Maya continues to have a rocky mix of large features with lots of potential but many times they feel left unfinished. This isn't true for the care and work put in to the file referencing update. Maya for years has had a referencing system that is really powerful once a TD wrote tools for it but in this release it got much needed attention and now is working extremely well and integrated with right-click menus in the scene to manage references and should become a much more artist useable tool and not just a platform for TDs to manage.
File Referencing Workflow Enhancements
Artists can now more easily segment their scenes to work in parallel and better manage complexity, thanks to targeted improvements to both the user interface and the underlying architecture for file referencing that contribute to the new Open Data initiative. As a result, file referencing is now a more natural and intuitive part of the Maya workflow
Here is my short rundown of other new features or fixes that stood out for me
- HumanIK (HIK) retargeting system has had a large update and can now be used with custom character rigs making it much easier to work with animations on legacy rigs that don't use HIK or it isn't a motion capture project. This step could go a long way to help teams reuse and upgrade existing asset libraries to new rigs or to create a prototype move sets faster than before. There are some other name changes and much improved roll bone control to stop from breaking the knees and elbows of a character’s skeleton.
- Like MotionBuilder, the UI for HIK rig can be adjusted with new background images, different control selection locations and it has a nicer, smaller default UI along with a much improved menu reorganization. It will be nice when we can drag and drop edit the UI without editing the XML files but it isn't difficult.
TIP: Use the Maya Fcheck view to quickly write out pixel locations for where you want the new picker buttons to be located. Open the picker character image and then use the middle mouse button to click where you want to place the picker button like the head or hands. Fcheck will write out the pixel location to the command prompt and you can copy it into the XML character layout.