Price When Reviewed: 1449 . 599 . 4899 . 849
Pros: Useful improvements to features across modelling, rendering and UV editing. Still the all-round champ for character animation and effects work.
Cons: Fewer features than we’d like for a new version – considering the associated upgrade price. A few stability issues on non-certified systems.
The latest release of Maya is the first version since Autodesk acquired Alias earlier this year. Autodesk has stressed that it would continue to develop Maya, but users are keen to see how Autodesk stamped its ownership on the product.
The company also produces 3DS Max, and there is considerable overlap between the two programs, though Maya’s prevalence in the film industry makes it a perfect partner for Autodesk’s high-end editing and finishing solutions.
Maya 8 doesn’t bring any drastic changes, and the new features aren’t exactly awe-inspiring either.
The main change from older versions is a new Menu scheme. The Modeling menu has been replaced by separate Polygon and Surfaces sets. This new scheme allows you to create custom menu sets with the Menu Set Editor.
Apart from that adjustment, visually there’s nothing that strikes you as different. In fact, this release is devoid
of any major new creative tools. Instead, there are a number of improvements and subtle changes that should make Maya 8 more productive for content creators. Perhaps the most important for studios is support for 64-bit operating systems (Linux and Windows).