Maya 8.5 Released: Introduces Unified Simulation Framework

Autodesk Maya 8.5 has been released and is now shipping, providing artists enhanced creative control, enabling faster completion of complex animations and simulations.

"Autodesk is committed to making Maya the foundation for modern production pipelines. Maya 8.5 supports industry-standard Python scripting, offering improved workflows and development productivity," said Marc Petit, Autodesk's Media & Ent. vp. "We're excited to offer Maya 8.5 as a Universal application for both Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macintosh computers. As well, the software features innovative new capabilities for character animation; the new Maya Nucleus unified simulation framework enables interactive simulations while keeping artists in full control of the animation."

Maya Nucleus features technology developed by Autodesk's Academy Award-winning principal research scientist Jos Stam. This unified simulation framework allows artists to create elements that interact, in a 3D animation, with other dynamic objects such as fluids, cloth and rigid bodies.

Maya 8.5 includes Maya nCloth, which is the first module of Maya Nucleus. With Maya nCloth, artists can quickly direct and control a range of simulations, including cloth, plastic, metal and other materials. Believable cloth-on-cloth simulations with complex cloth collisions, such as a cape over a jacket, can be created more easily. A unique air-pressure model enables artists to use any geometry -- whether a closed, sealed volume such as an inner tube, or an open volume such as a balloon -- to create an inflatable object with internal and external pressure.

Python scripting is also new in Maya 8.5. This popular open-source programming language helps accelerate facility-specific custom script development and plug-in prototyping, extending and automating Maya production pipelines. Python scripting offers a powerful alternative to Maya software's native scripting language, MEL, while featuring the same deep level of integration with the Maya command engine. Python scripting further augments the creative control gained with Maya Nucleus, giving scriptwriters the ability to efficiently manipulate, customize and automate the software.

Anders Langlands, R&D lead at The Moving Picture Co. (MPC) and Maya 8.5 beta tester, commented: "Having Python support available in Autodesk Maya means we can leverage many of our existing tools directly within Maya, rather than having to write glue code to bind Maya to our pipeline. This allows us to develop new node and command plug-ins in a fraction of the time it would normally take using other solutions."

In addition to being available as a Universal application release for Intel- and PowerPC-based Macintosh computers, Maya 8.5 is also available on the Microsoft Windows and Linux platforms. The software includes a number of new artist-driven features and performance optimizations. For a complete list of features in Maya 8.5, visit www.autodesk.com/maya.

With seven million users, Autodesk Inc. (www.autodesk.com) is the world's leading software and services company for the manufacturing, building, infrastructure, wireless data services and media and entertainment fields. Founded in 1982, Autodesk is headquartered in San Rafael, California.

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