Alias|Wavefront launched the first global event for the 3D graphics community yesterday. 29 events were held worldwide in cities as far apart as Wellington, New Zealand and Tel Aviv, Israel. The largest events were held in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Toronto and London.
The London event was held at the Starship, one of the smaller structures surrounding the Millennium dome in Greenwich. As well as the obligatory Maya workshops, the event offered talks and effects walkthroughs by well-known effects houses such as CineSite, Digital Domain and Industrial Light and Magic.
Digit spoke to Maya senior product manager, Chris Ford, at the event to catch up on the current state of play on the future developments of the 3D suite.
"Maya for Apple’s OS X is currently still on schedule to ship alongside OS X itself in February or March next year," he said, "although this does depend upon Apple getting the platform out on time. Whatever happens we’ll ship the product when OS X ships."
The Red Hat Linux version of Maya is also on target to ship at the end of February, according to Ford. He also revealed that Alias is working on Maya for Intel’s next generation of processor, the 64-bit Itanium (the Pentium is 32-bit). However, a launch announcement is likely to some way off as Intel is yet to give a release date for the first Itanium chips. The Itanium version of Maya is also only at the alpha test stage, or as Ford puts it, "it runs".
Ford also gave a few hints about Maya 4, which is to be released at some point next year, implying that the next major release will be more about give users many smaller updates to make their lives easier than about whizz-bang new feature groups.
"We’ve been looking carefully at the massive amount of user feedback we’ve received," he said, "and our users tell us that smaller workflow-related features can be more important to them than new levels of functionality. So we’ve got to take this on board for the next version of Maya."
Alias also announced a 3D Paint FX plug-in for Maya 3 at the event. Available as a free plug-in downloadable from the Alias Web site, it follows Caustics and Skeleton Builder in the line of free plug-ins to be made available by the company from its site. According to Ford, these plug-ins form a bridge between the 3.0 release earlier this year and the 4.0 release at some point in next year. The 3D Paint FX plug-in works within the Artisan toolkit to allows 3D texture painting directly onto models.
Plans for next year’s event, which will also be held on December 3, have already begun.
"We’re planning to have events in 50 cities next year," Bill Coleman, director of global marketing at Alias told Digit. Coleman headed the organisation of the event and was in London on the day. "We’re looking to have around 100,000 people across the world turn up."