Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Video: the future of modelling in Maya


Over the past couple of days, a video of Autodesk product manager Andrew Camenisch’s presentation from Siggraph 2015 showing upcoming digital sculpting tools in Maya has been popping up various hosting sites.

The original YouTube upload was taken down within a day, so we’re not sure if the video is officially supposed to be out in the wild, but if the link above isn’t working, you should be able to Google it fairly easily.

Sculpting in Maya with adaptive topology
In the presentation, entitled ‘The Future of 3D Modeling’, Camenisch runs through the evolution of digital sculpting tools: something that Autodesk has begun to introduce into Maya in the current 2016 release.

The video gets interesting around 07:40, when Camenisch shows what Autodesk is working on for future releases: an adaptive topology system, similar to ZBrush’s DynaMesh.

Adaptive topology enables artists to sculpt more as if they were working with real clay, extending the geometry almost indefinitely, or rejoining part of a sculpt back to the main body.

Works with Maya’s existing deformers and rigging tools
In the video, Camenisch shows the system in action, including some nice-looking Boolean operations on the digital clay, and the use of surface curves to pull out hard edges.

Camenisch also shows the digital clay interacting with Maya’s existing tools, including Lattice and Bend deformers, and the use of a bone-based rig to pose the overall sculpt.

The video includes two extended timelapses, one of the creation of a tree, and one of a character model – interestingly, seemingly using the same tools to style the hair as sculpt the body.

Camenisch only describes the technology as “something we’re working on”, so there’s no indication of when it will appear in a commercial release of Maya, or in what form.

However, it’s a natural extension of the functionality introduced in Maya 2016, and it already looks a powerful toolset, so we can’t imagine that users will have too long to wait.

Visit Autodesk’s Maya product website