Alias|Wavefront has announced its new Maya 5 can be downloaded immediately by customers on full annual maintenance and registered for eSupport via www.aliaswavefront.com/maya/support, a week before its due to ship, May 1, 2003, for new and upgrading customers. Maya 5 offers enhancements especially helpful for character animation, dynamics and polygonal modeling, and has become more applicable to 2D artists, Web developers and technical illustrators.
Maya's new Hardware Renderer uses next-generation graphics cards to create broadcast quality and pre-visualization images 20 times faster according to A|W. The new Vector Renderer readily transforms 3D content into Web-ready 2D graphics or outputs them to graphics applications such as Macromedia Flash MX, Adobe Illustrator and Go Live, as well as Mayas regular list of bitmap formats. All integrated renderers are unified through a consistent rendering user interface and workflow that allows users to switch between them. Mental ray is now a standard part of Maya, introducing the 3D industry to the mental ray renderer, version 3.2
Extensive enhancements have been made to its animation constraints, one of the most widely used tools in everyday character animation, which should save time while providing improved flexibility when working with characters. Maya 5 introduces a highly visual form of FK/IK blending, plus new ghosting and channel muting options to speed up animation tasks.
Among the enhancements to Maya Fur is the addition of a new Fur Clumping feature that supports a range of hairy looks such as wet, matted or dirty fur. This new feature, together with support for animated file textures, enables artists to achieve time-based effects such as fur spreading out over a surface.
Maya Paint Effects can now be drawn as, or converted to and output to other renderers, including mental ray. In addition, a new Thin Line brush mode in Paint Effects makes multi-streaked realistic hair attainable. The user has available more than 100 new preset brushes and new mesh-based features including everything from buildings, to crystals to infinitely detailed flowers and trees.
The softwares improved polygon reduction method should help those creating game models. The new method allows better preservation of important details in optimized models. Reduction may be calculated based on geometry, UV mapping, pre-lighting (ie. color per vertex) values or via an intuitive brush interface that allows for manual weighting of detailed areas, enabling users to brush back to detailed areas where desired.
Maya Complete for the Windows, IRIX, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems is priced at $1,999 and includes modeling, rendering, animation, dynamics, Maya Artisan, Maya Paint Effects, mental ray for Maya and Maya Embedded Language (MEL). Maya Unlimited for the Windows, IRIX and Linux operating systems is priced at $6,999 and includes all features in Maya Complete along with Maya Fluid Effects, Maya Fur, Maya Cloth and Maya Live. Version upgrades for Maya Complete are priced at $899 and for Maya Unlimited at $1,249. Alias|Wavefront is a wholly owned, independent software company of SGI with headquarters in Toronto and a custom development center in Santa Barbara.
Image courtesy of Kevin Pinchbeck, ©2003 Alias|Wavefront.