Alias|Wavefront is developing a free version of its high-end Maya 3D animation software. Dubbed Maya Personal Learning Edition, Alias says it will provide unlimited, free access to Maya for both Mac OS X and Windows users when it ships in February. The company says the move is aimed at introducing 3D graphics and animation users onto Maya, and the software can be used fully for non-commercial use. The company says that the software will be fully working, and simply requires an annual registration. It will feature access to the full toolset of Maya Complete, including NURBS modelling, animation, inverse kinematics, Maya Artisan, Maya Paint Effects, particles, dynamics, and Maya's advanced rendering capabilities. There are, however, some restrictions, the company notes. The Personal Learning Edition restricts users to non-commercial use by watermarking images produced and only saving in a special, non-commercial format. Industry standard plug-ins cannot be used. "For the first time in history, 3D computer graphics will become truly accessible to everyone," said Alias|Wavefront president Doug Walker. "CG professionals, students, and aspiring 3D animators will be able to realize creative aspirations that might otherwise lie dormant. As the leaders in 3D graphics technology we are excited about engaging a whole new 3D community and equipping them with the tools, skills, and support necessary to move ahead in the age of digital communication." The software release will be backed by a dedicated Web site, providing access to support materials, discussion forums, and content exchanges, says the company. It will be available for free download from the beginning of February.