A new version of Autodesk's Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE) software is now available for download. Based on Maya Complete 8.5 software, this Maya PLE provides free access to Maya 3D animation, modelling and rendering software for non-commercial use by students, industry professionals and others interested in learning the application.

The Maya PLE software provides an integrated learning path that orients new users and guides them through a series of documentation and tutorials. Beginners are also directed to books, DVDs, classroom training options, and events and seminars that can assist in their learning. Additional tutorials, as well as free shaders, models and sample scene files are available on the Area community portal.

The majority of features found in the commercial version of Maya Complete 8.5 are offered in the Maya PLE, including:

  • Modelling (NURBS, polygons, subdivision surfaces)
  • Character rigging and animation technology, including full body Inverse Kinematics (IK)
  • Advanced Maya Trax non-linear animation editor
  • Full dynamics system including soft and rigid body dynamics
  • Complete particle system
  • Maya Paint Effects
  • Maya Artisan brush-based interface
  • Toon shading capabilities
  • Adobe Photoshop integration and Adobe Illustrator connectivity
  • Four renderers: Maya software, hardware, vector and mental ray for Maya renderer
  • The ability to import and export FBX files to and from Autodesk MotionBuilder 7 PLE
  • Modelling (NURBS, polygons, subdivision surfaces)

The Autodesk Maya PLE is a 32-bit application that is available for the Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Apple Mac OS X (for Macintosh Power PC or Intel-based Macintosh computers) operating systems. You can download the software from the Autodesk Maya PLE Web site.