Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

Videos: Autodesk reveals new features in Maya 2012

Maya 2012's updated Viewport 2.0 display supports depth of field and multisample antialiasing.

Autodesk has revealed that the next release of Maya will feature major updates to the viewport display, simulation framework and animation tools.

Maya 2012, which is scheduled to ship next month, will extend Maya 2011’s Viewport 2.0 display to support interactive depth of field, multisample antialiasing and ambient occlusion. The software will also feature a new node-based system for setting up and editing multi-pass renders via the mental ray engine.

Preview: Viewport DoF and multisample antialiasing in action
Note: this is a general technology preview, not specifically Maya 2012.

Preview: Node-based render pass management
Note: this is a general technology preview, not specifically Maya 2012.

As with 3ds Max 2012, the new release will integrate Nvidia’s PhysX engine for setting up dynamic rigid body simulations directly in the viewport (although initially only in the Windows edition of the software).

However, unlike Max, Maya 2012 also integrates Pixelux Entertainment’s Digital Molecular Matter technology, used on games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and movies like Avatar.

Existing simulation systems will also receive an update, with Maya Fluids being extended with tools to create splashing and pouring liquids, in addition to ocean surfaces. The Nucleus simulation framework benefits from improved threading for cloth and particles; and faster self-collisions.

“The high-fidelity viewport, enhancements to Nucleus and the overall performance improvements have made Maya 2012 more flexible, powerful and modern,” said Peter Shipkov, technical director at Digital Domain.

Preview: New fluid simulation features
Note: this is a general technology preview, not specifically Maya 2012.

Maya’s animation toolset has been enhanced, with the addition of editable motion trails providing a rapid way to create and preview animation directly in the viewport.

The Sequencer has also been updated – something that may reflect Autodesk’s increasing focus on marketing Maya in tandem with its Smoke for Mac OS X editorial finishing software – adding a configurable spreadsheet view to reorder clips, edit in and out points and change camera assignments; as well as support for multi-track audio and the ability to output multiple shots as a single sequence.

Other new features will already be familiar to users of the Maya 2011 Subscription Advantage Pack, including the new Substance Smart Textures library and built-in Craft Animation Tools camera rigs.

Pricing remains unchanged at $3,495. More details below.

Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced that Autodesk Maya 2012 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, rendering and compositing software now contains powerful new toolsets for previsualization and games prototyping, extended simulation capabilities and better pipeline integration. The new release also includes single-step workflows to enable users to move 3D data directly between the latest versions of Maya, Autodesk MotionBuilder, Autodesk Mudbox and Autodesk Softimage Interactive Creative Environment (ICE) for better pipeline integration.

“With Maya 2012, we have continued our long-term focus on improving production efficiency as well as real-time creative iteration with enhancements to the Maya viewport addressing new trends in previsualization, virtual moviemaking and games prototyping,” said Marc Petit, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment.

Key New Features in Autodesk Maya 2012 Software

  • Viewport 2.0 Enhancements
    Now offers full-screen effects: motion blur, depth-of-field and ambient occlusion, component and manipulator displays, batch rendering capabilities and a high-performance API (application programming interface).
  • Node-Based Render Passes
    Ability to create and edit node-based representations of render passes and render the composited output directly using the mental ray renderer.
  • Editable Motion Trails
    Edit animation directly in the viewport, without the need to switch context to the graph editor.
  • Sequencer Enhancements
    A Sequencer Playlist with a configurable spreadsheet view to reorder clips, edit In and Out points and change camera assignments; as well as support for multi-track audio and the ability to output multiple shots as a single sequence for easier game cinematic rendering or export to a games engine.
  • Substance Smart Textures
    A library of 80 dynamic, animatable and editable resolution-independent Substance smart textures and filters with a tiny disk space footprint. Textures can also be converted to bitmaps for rendering or baking purposes.
  • Craft Animation Tools
    Four new camera rigs from the Craft Director Studio animation tool to create believable, complex camera movements that mimic real-world setups and four pre-rigged models (two cars and two airplanes) to more easily simulate vehicle motion, terrain recognition, previsualization and in-game cinematics.
  • New Simulation Options
    Incorporates the multithreaded NVIDIA PhysX engine* for static, dynamic and kinematic rigid-body simulations directly in the Maya viewport and the Digital Molecular Matter plug-in for shattering simulations from Pixelux Entertainment.

Pricing and Availability
Autodesk anticipates that Maya 2012 will be available in English in April 2011. The Autodesk suggested retail price (MSRP) for an Autodesk Maya 2012 stand-alone license is US$3,495**. The price to upgrade from Maya 2011 to Maya 2012 is US$1,745** MSRP. Autodesk Subscription with Gold Support is available for purchase simultaneously with the product or upgrade purchase for US$895** MSRP per year.

Autodesk Maya 2012 is also expected to be available as part of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Premium 2012, which offers Maya together with Softimage, Mudbox and MotionBuilder software for $6,495** MSRP, representing a 42 percent** cost savings compared to purchasing the software separately.

*Available with Autodesk Maya 2012 Windows platform only.
** International pricing and savings may vary.