Alias|Wavefront has fleshed out the details about its forthcoming Maya 3 3D modelling, animation and rendering suite, building on the bare bones that it released details about previous to the NAB show. Although no new major features have been announced, the company has expanded greatly upon previously announced features and introduced a free rendering policy.
The Tracks NLE (non-linear editing) system utilizes both a traditional (for editing) clip-based timeline and a system based on poses and blends. This uses a style more familiar to animators, as figures are set in multiple poses with Maya producing the motion by blending between these.
Alias has also introduced subdivision surfaces, which allows detail levels to be different across the same object. This is performed by a toolbar in the AW context-sensitive menu, and allows both fine and wide changes to be accomplished without having to change the detail level of the whole object.
Other implementations of previously announced features include the mooted workflow improvements. These are designed to make Maya more efficient for experienced and high-end users – and easier for new and lower-end animators. Tools aimed at providing this include a new Create pull-down menu,
Productivity enhancements have also been detailed – and include a 40 per cent boost in raytracing performance. Also Maya now supports multi-threaded interactive software rendering, high-quality displacement mapping, and shadow map generation – all of which should boost rendering performance to a high degree.
Alias has also introduced a universal rendering policy. This allows Maya Complete and Unlimited users to run the applications’ batch renderers across an almost limitless number of machines. Maya Batch Renderer runs on Windows NT, Irix and Linux machines.