Alias|Wavefront Announces Maya 5

Mon 7th Apr 2003 | News

Alias|Wavefront has announced Maya 5 -- the latest version of its Oscar award-winning 3D software. With the eighth release of its flagship software, Alias|Wavefront delivers a host of innovative new ways to create digital content along with numerous customer suggested productivity enhancements. Improvements added to both Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited software will energize artist and programmer workflows in such creative industries as game development, broadcast graphics, web content creation, design visualization and film production.

Unique Image Creation Possibilities
Maya 5 now boasts four distinctive options for rendering -- the Maya software renderer, mental ray for Maya, a new Vector Renderer and a breakthrough Hardware Renderer -- allowing users to choose the image creation method according to the task at hand: whether it be a photo-realistic design visualization or a toon-shaded Macromedia Flash Vector graphic for the web. As of Maya 5, all rendering options are unified through a consistent rendering user interface and workflow.

With Maya 5 Hardware rendering, customers can produce broadcast quality images up to 20 times faster than ever before possible. The new Vector Renderer allows Maya artists to create content in popular graphics formats such as Macromedia Flash (SWF), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), Adobe Illustrator (AI) and Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG). As a result, Maya is suddenly more applicable to 2D artists, web developers and even technical illustrators. Furthermore, mental ray is now a standard part of Maya, and Maya 5 brings the 3D industry its first introduction to the mental ray renderer, version 3.2.

Maya 5 Pumps Up Productivity
The Maya software's industry-leading modeling, animation and effects features have been fine-tuned using customer input to make production workflows more efficient. For example, extensive enhancements to animation constraints, one of the most widely used tools in everyday character animation, will save valuable 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 that speed up animation tasks.

In the realm of modeling, an expanded range of tools includes an innovative new polygon reduction facility, new UV editing and extrusion tools, including a graph-based profile curve for taper control. In Maya 5, artists can now use the Maya Artisan brush feature to paint Face Vertices for more precise placement of and even paint weighting values for polygon reduction, to intuitively keep detail in a chosen area.

Performance in Maya 5 has also been improved in the area of dynamics computation while speed on the Windows operating system has been improved by up to 90%.

Programmers and Technical Directors will see numerous enhancements to the Maya API, including a node/attribute callback mechanism, more detailed exposure of light data and high-level polygon operations. There is also a new Maya Embedded Language (MEL) "renderer" command that simplifies the hook-up of third party renderers.

Building on Existing Innovation
Enhancements to the Maya software's, artist-friendly, brush-based toolsets amount to a new paradigm in organic modeling. As of Maya 5, Maya Paint Effects can now be drawn as, or converted to, polygons. This latest advance enables Maya Paint Effects to be edited with regular polygon tools and output to other renderers, including mental ray. In addition, a new Thin Line brush mode in Maya Paint Effects brings multi-streaked realistic hair within reach. Well over a hundred new preset brushes lend further artistic possibilities to the user and demonstrate the new mesh based features; everything from buildings, to crystals to infinitely detailed flowers and trees, are included.

Maya Unlimited delivers exciting new features in Maya Fluid Effects, which have been enhanced so that previously unobtainable effects, including true dynamic computation of wakes and the accurate simulation of ponds and lakes, are now easily achieved. A new, Make Motion Field feature, lets users more accurately simulate the effect of objects moving through a fluid, such as a character emerging from a smoke cloud or a helicopter hovering above rippling water. 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.

Another first is the inclusion of a free Maya Learning Tool DVD in every box of Maya software.

Enhanced Data Exchange
Maya 5 also offers enhanced and new data exchanges with leading technology applications which allows customers to interface with their choice of today's most popular data formats including; Macromedia Flash, DWG, DXF, Adobe Illustrator, Encapsulated PostScript, Scalable Vector Graphics, IGES, OpenFlight, StudioTools and OBJ.

Pricing and Availability
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), an open interface for programming and scripting. 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. Maya will be available to purchase in May 2003 through the Alias|Wavefront network of authorized resellers or online at:

Version upgrades for Maya Complete are priced at $899* and for Maya Unlimited at $1,249*.

* Prices are list prices for node-locked licenses; floating licenses for Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited are available at an additional fee. All prices quoted are in U.S. dollars. International pricing may vary.

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