Autodesk has announced new releases of the company’s digital entertainment creation software. The 2012 versions enable iterative workflows, help users manage complexity and provide new creative tools, says the company. There are new versions of the company's animation tools:  Maya, 3ds Max, Mudbox, Motionbuilder, and Softimage -- plus upgrade to its Flame and Smoke finishing systems and also its middleware platforms for game developers.

“Our 2012 product releases harness the latest hardware technology to increase performance and deliver stunning graphics in the viewport,” said Marc Petit, Autodesk senior vice president, Media & Entertainment. “We have also enhanced interoperability and simplified pipeline integration, making it easier for our customers to take advantage of specialised toolsets; and provided new creative tools for modern production trends like virtual moviemaking and stereoscopic 3D production.”

3ds Max 2012 offers a new accelerated graphics core, mRigids for dynamic rigid-body simulations in the viewport and new sculpting and painting enhancements like the Clone brush. For more on 3ds Max, see our in-depth look here.

Maya 2012 provides significant enhancements to the viewport offering full-screen effects, editable motion trails for animation editing in the viewport, as well as new simulation options. For more on Maya 2012, see our in-depth guide here.

Softimage 2012 provides new procedural ICE modeling, integrated Syflex cloth simulation, stereoscopic capabilities and multiple core software development kit (SDK) additions.

Mudbox 2012  delivers enhancements to the painting toolset, innovative new UV and topology-independent workflows, practical posing tools and improved large dataset handling

MotionBuilder 2012 software provides new in-viewport stereoscopic display and camera rig, a unified interface and solver for Autodesk HumanIK 4.5 or 2012 middleware, as well as new tools for virtual moviemaking

Flame Premium 2012 gains ultrarealistic 3D lighting effects, a set of effects tools for finishing stereoscopic 3D projects, and a range of new tools designed to make 3D compositing as fast and interactive as traditional 2D compositing, says Autodesk.

Autodesk Smoke 2012 gains a redesigned 3D lighting system, and Flame FX, a new set of creative and technical tools for common finishing tasks, featuring Damage, Deform, Edge Detect and Pixel Spread.