Best Buy
  • Price: 1449 . 659 . 4899 . 909

  • Company: Alias

  • Pros: Maya 7 is a comprehensive update with wide-ranging improvements to just about every area of the program.

  • Cons: Maya is a serious application for advanced 3D work. As a result it’s a necessarily complex tool that casual 3D artists might struggle with.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

A new version of Alias Maya is usually a significant event for the 3D modelling and animation industry. This latest release sees changes throughout, with virtually no major area of the program left untouched. Maya 7 introduces a host of new features as well as changes and revisions to existing ones, and includes some reworking of the UI and workflow.


Maya 7 now sports a small view-manipulation widget at the top right corner of the main view panel. This 3D compass lets you access all six orthogonal views and the perspective view without having to flip the layout between single and four panes.

 border=0 />The default behaviour animates the transitions when clicking on the widget, spinning the 3D view to its new position, though this can be disabled. It actually works really well. If an object is selected then the view zooms to that object. The View Compass preferences lets you customize the behaviour, and change the transition time making it quick, slow, or turned off. The animated transitions apply to all view changes such as Fit All or Fit Selected and to Bookmarks, although each can be toggled on or off in the preferences.
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Another view improvement is the ability to tumble the view about a selected object if the tumble cursor is over them. It’s a bit hit and miss, though – the Paint Effects objects, for example, don’t seem to allow the feature to work properly. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t precisely orbit the view around the selected object’s pivot – even if this option is enabled in the Camera preferences. It does, however, work quite well for selected components. You can tumble about them as you work and keep them central in the view.
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<b>Origin of symmetry</b>
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The Move tool now sports a Reflection option to allow for symmetrical edits about a plane – useful when modelling characters or other object with a single plane of symmetry. You’ve the option of aligning the manipulator axes for objects and components in various ways, such as pointing to another object in the scene or to the edge/face of any object.
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There are other modelling improvements and additions, such as the Text tool and Adobe Illustrator Object, both of which are new additions to the Create menu. The Text tool lets you create 3D type more easily. You can output bevelled geometry as you would with Bevel Plus, except now you can enter the text directly in the object’s Attributes. 
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The lack of letter-spacing control is a drawback, as all type seems to have extra wide spacing that can’t be corrected. 
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