Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk announces new features of Maya 2013

Maya 2013’s new nHair system in action, along with Bullet physics and Alembic, first added in last year’s Subscription Advantage Pack. See videos of Maya 2013’s other new features on Autodesk’s YouTube channel.

Autodesk has announced the new features of Maya 2013, including the new nHair simulation system, the Viewport 2.0 display, a lot of new rigging and animation features, and better support for large data sets.

The upcoming release will form part of Autodesk’s 2013 digital entertainment creation product line, which also includes updates to 3ds Max, Softimage, MotionBuilder and Mudbox; and a new Ultimate product bundle.

Live linking between Maya and MotionBuilder in action.

Interoperability has been a major feature of the 2013 releases, so it’s little surprise that key features in Maya 2013 include a pretty impressive live connection to MotionBuilder (video above) and one-click conversion of 3ds Max CAT characters to Maya HumanIK.

However, there are an awful lot of other new animation and rigging tools, including the new ATOM file format for exporting and reusing animation data; a new Retime tool in the Graph Editor; and the addition of Heat Map skin binding to the Smooth Bind options.

Cory Mogk has a full list of these in his blog on Autodesk’s AREA website.

In addition, the updated Viewport 2.0 display now supports rigging and animation features such as HumanIK, joints, motion paths, ghosting and playblasts.

Hair, physics and large data sets
Maya 2013 also includes the new nHair toolset, previewed earlier this year – and which, as part of the Nucleus simulation framework, can interact with particle and cloth sims, unlike the existing Maya Hair.

Features from last year’s Subscription Advantage Pack update, including support for Bullet physics and the open source Alembic data-interchange format, have been rolled into the release.

Autodesk has also begun work on what it terms ‘Open Data’ – the ability to manage very complex real-world production datasets. There isn’t much detail on how this will work yet, but the developer has told us that it will be an ongoing focus for future releases.

And in the rendering toolset, mental ray has been turned into a ‘true’ plug-in. According to Mogk, this “makes it easier for the developers at Autodesk and Nvidia to talk to each other and improve mental ray in Maya”.

However, there’s still no sign of iray: a popular request in user surveys, and an omission that has already generated a fair few disappointed forum posts.

No official release date has been announced yet.

Read Cory Mogk’s blog post on the new features in Maya 2013

See videos of Maya 2013’s new features on Autodesk’s YouTube channel