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Alias Releases Maya 7 and MotionBuilder 7 Personal Learning Editions

Maya 7 Personal Learning Edition (PLE) and MotionBuilder 7 Personal Learning Edition are now available for download at www.alias.com/mayaple and www.alias.com/motionbuilderple, respectively. Maya 7 PLE and MotionBuilder 7 PLE are special versions of Maya Complete and Alias MotionBuilder Standard that provide free access to the software for non-commercial use.

With the Personal Learning Editions, industry professionals and those interested in breaking into the world of 3D have an opportunity to learn with the same industry-leading tools found in professional production studios around the world. Demand for skilled artists remains high and the Maya and MotionBuilder Personal Learning Editions allow anyone to develop sought-after 3D skills.

The feedback weve received for MotionBuilder 7 has been fantastic and we want to ensure that anyone who wants to get familiar with its realtime animation tools can get their hands on it, said Curtis Garton, product manager, MotionBuilder. The Personal Learning Edition is going to allow novice to advanced animators to learn and refine new skills demanded by the growing animation industry.

MotionBuilder 7 PLE software offers almost every feature found in the commercial version of MotionBuilder 7 Standard including: advanced realtime animation tools, unique story timeline performance environment, auto rigging, motion editing, motion layering and storytelling tools. MotionBuilder 7 PLE also allows artists using any commercial 3D software that supports the FBX file format to open these files in PLE so they can evaluate the productivity tools with their existing content.

Since we started offering the Maya Personal Learning Edition, hundreds of thousands of people ranging from those new to 3D to experienced 3D artists looking to expand their skills have been able to take advantage of a free and valuable learning experience, added Jill Ramsay, senior product manager for Maya at Alias. The skills gained with Maya 7 PLE are highly desired in the industry and for many people, downloading the free software and the learning materials that are specially designed to go with it is the first step in breaking into the exciting world of computer graphics.

Maya 7 PLE software offers almost every new feature found in the commercial version of Maya Complete 7 including: Alias MotionBuilder full-body IK technology, new polygonal modeling and UV tools, specialized visual effects tools such as a new Toon Shader, advanced render layers technology and faster, more seamless connections between Maya and other key production software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Maya 7 PLE users can also take advantage of four separate renderers: Maya software, hardware, vector and the award-winning mental ray for Maya renderer.

New this year, PLE users will have the ability to import and export files between the Personal Learning Edition of Alias MotionBuilder 7, the foremost realtime 3D character animation productivity suite for game, film, broadcast and multimedia production and the Personal Learning Edition of Maya 7, the industrys leading modeling, animation, visual effects and rendering software. This ability allows artists to evaluate a simulated production pipeline.

Artists can accelerate their Maya learning and ensure they get the most out of Maya 7 PLE through Silver Membership, said Cristi Hawtin, product manager, memberships at Alias. Silver members get access to online learning resources, Maya expert weblogs, discussion forums and more. Maya Silver Membership is available for a fixed monthly fee or a cost-saving annual subscription. More information on Maya Silver Membership can be found at www.alias.com/eng/services/maya/memberships/silver.shtml.

Being a part of the Alias user community online is central to the PLE experience. Located at www.alias.com/community, the community is an interactive hub that offers tutorials, exceptional how-to projects, movies, more than 800 free downloads including modifiable data files, peer-to-peer discussions, image galleries, and stories.

The recently released LEARNING MAYA 7 | FOUNDATION book can further support the learning process by providing easy-to-follow step-by-step lessons that teach readers about storyboarding and planning while they explore modeling with NURBS and polygons, animation, texture maps, visual effects and scene rendering.

To be released next month, LEARNING MOTIONBUILDER 7 | FOUNDATION and ALIAS MOTIONBUILDER 7 BEGINNERS GUIDE DVDs can further support the learning process by providing easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorials, helpful demonstrations and useful scene files that teach readers about the most powerful and exciting features of Alias MotionBuilder and how they apply to a production environment. Entire projects have also been dedicated to MotionBuilder in the following books: LEARNING MAYA 7 | THE MODELING & ANIMATION HANDBOOK, available now, AND DISCOVER THE GAME WITH ALIAS, available Sept. 25.

Alias (www.alias.com) develops software for the film and video, games, web, interactive media, industrial design, automotive, architecture and visualization markets. Alias is headquartered in Toronto with a custom development center in Santa Barbara with offices worldwide.

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