At SIGGRAPH 2008, Autodesk has announced the Maya 2009 3D animation and visual effects software, which coincides with the software's 10-year anniversary. Maya 2009 includes a host of advancements in modelling, animation, rendering and effects that maximise productivity, optimise workflows and provide new creative possibilities.

While the complexity and size of scenes continue to rise, Maya 2009 provides new tools designed to make them more manageable. These tools include the new Maya Assets toolset, which enables users to encapsulate a set of nodes into a single container and publish a view of the data suited to the artist’s task. The release also offers a new Render Proxy feature in mental ray and additional multi-threading work and algorithmic speed-ups that boost interactive draw, simulation and rendering performance for even the heaviest scenes.

Maya 2009 gives modellers and texture artists improved control over polygon modelling and UV texturing through powerful selection management features, efficient modelling workflows and precision UV unfolding and layout options.

To help with tighter schedules and budgets, Maya 2009 supports collaborative, iterative workflows and promotes data reuse. The software has a new animation-layering paradigm that provides animators with increased non-destructive flexibility, as well as an updated Render Pass toolset that offers precise control over render output and optimises integration with Autodesk Toxik procedural compositing software.

Maya 2009 offers the Maya nParticles dynamic simulation module and an extensive Maya Muscle feature set. nParticles is part of the Maya Nucleus Unified Simulation Framework, a ground-breaking approach to creating complex physics simulations that interact directly with each other. Furthermore, to help studios create stereoscopic 3D films, Maya 2009 offers a new stereo camera rig, complete with in-viewport stereo viewing.

Autodesk expects that Maya 2009 will be available in in October 2008 for Windows (64-bit and 32-bit versions), Linux (64-bit versions only), and Mac OS X for Intel-based Macintosh and PowerPC computers (32-bit version only).

Maya 2009 costs £1,750 (€2,225) for Maya Complete 2009 (standalone) and £4,350 (€5,575) for Maya Unlimited 2009 (standalone). The upgrade price from Maya Complete 2008 to Maya Complete 2009 is £775 (€1,000), and the upgrade price from Maya Unlimited 2008 to Maya Unlimited 2009 is £1,575 (€2,000). All prices exclude VAT