As well as launchng Maya 7, Alias also announced MotionBuilder 7, the latest version of the 3D character animation software it acquired as part of its acquisition of software maker Kaydara.

MotionBuilder 7 adds new character extensions and visual feedback on rigs to give animators better control over the setup of their characters; extensions let you augment the character's control rig when you're using objects like tails, wings and props. You can now pose or key a character simultaneously, along with all attached extensions. And new visual feedback offers cues that highlight keying, manipulation modes and rig selection. New character manipulation enhancements let you sync characters and their controls, as well.

New save and load character animation features let you quickly transfer and repurpose animation clips with any character. MotionBuilder 7 also touts improvements to its workflow and UI, like a new Save Reminder and incremental versioning support. New constraints to MotionBuilder's save function let you transfer animated character setups between MotionBuilder and Maya, as well.

3D in motion

MotionBuilder Pro 7 adds other functions like Live Device Support for multi-stream motion capture devices (this capability is coming to Mac OS X "pending platform specific third party vendor drivers, according to Alias); data mapping and asset management integration; Python scripting support and the Alias "Open Reality" Software Developers Kit (SDK), that let you create pipeline automation and workflow tools.

Coming in August, MotionBuilder 7 costs £2,725 plus VAT for a node-locked version and £3,115 plus VAT for a floating license. It's available for Mac OS X and Windows.