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Features

Toolsets for character creation and animation

Maya® software enables you to tackle challenging character creation and digital animation productions. Get powerful, integrated effect tools on a robust, extensible CG pipeline core.

 

Desktop Subscription gives you access to the latest updates and releases, 1-on-1 web support, priority support in the forums, flexible licensing, and more.

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    Dynamics & effects

  • Adaptive foam in Bifrost New

    Add froth, foam, and bubbles (“whitewater”) to liquid simulations, creating even more realism and detail in scenes with oceans, beaches, lakes, and stormy seas. Create high-resolution simulations close to the camera, where detail is essential, while lowering the computation of foam particles in other areas. The result: shorter simulation times.

  • Faster, easier-to-use XGen New

    An all-new presets workflow enables you to quickly share looks between meshes by applying premade grass or hairstyles to the meshes for an improved starting point. The XGen library now includes presets previously included for Maya Fur, and allows you to build a library of descriptions with custom thumbnails. So you don't have to rebuild them from scratch every time. 

  • Guided simulation in Bifrost New

    Drive the behavior of liquids using a cached simulation or an animated mesh object. With a guided simulation, use a full-depth, low-resolution simulation to guide a high-resolution simulation on the liquid's surface. Use guided simulation for carefully art-directed hero waves and similar effects. You can perform multiple iterations at high resolution while retaining the basic look and motion of the underlying guiding simulation.

  • Adaptive Aero solver in Bifrost New

    Create atmospheric effects such as smoke and mist. Aero produces simulations of higher detail and greater physical accuracy than Maya Fluid Effects. As with guided simulation, low resolution aero solves can drive higher resolution detail. The added benefit of adaptivity means that you can define regions of high resolution within a massively large computational domain.

  • Bifrost procedural effects platform

    Dynamically and photorealistically simulate and render liquids. Developed from Naiad technology, the platform fully integrates with Maya and is easy to use. You can choose whether to mesh liquids with a new particle surfacer or render voxels directly. Export particles, voxels, and meshes to a native file format, or to selected industry-standard file formats.

  • XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator

    Generate curves, spheres, and custom geometry on the surface of polygon meshes. Create and groom hair, fur, and feathers on characters. Populate large landscapes with grass, foliage, trees, rocks, and debris trails. Handle large amounts of instanced data that would slow down a system if loaded in memory, and preview rendered effects interactively in Viewport 2.0. 

  • Bullet Physics

    Create large-scale, highly realistic dynamic and kinematic simulations with the enhanced open-source Bullet plug-in delivered in conjunction with AMD. Simulate both soft and rigid bodies in a single system. Take advantage of continuous 3D collision detection. Create compound collision shapes from multiple meshes, and produce better collisions with concave shapes. Integrates with Maya Forces, and supports rigid sets for increased scalability.

  • Maya nHair

    Create highly realistic hair and other curve-based dynamics. Render complex simulations with multiple dynamic entities all working together. Use a common system of fields, forces, and constraints for all Nucleus modules.

  • Maya nParticles

    Simulate a wide range of complex 3D dynamic effects. Create and render smoke, spray, dust, and pouring and sloshing liquids. Self-collisions enable nParticles to accumulate within volumes. Map shading attributes, such as radius, color, opacity, and incandescence over time (or over age, radius, speed).

  • Maya nCloth

    Convert polygon mesh models into nCloth objects. Paint cloth attributes such as bend, stretch, shear, and dent. Make 3D objects stiff, viscous, or flowing. Attach buttons, tear cloth, and control movement with topology-independent constraints. Simulate cloth-on-cloth, such as a shirt over pants. Achieve highly realistic results without self-interpenetration errors, and blend multiple cached simulations to achieve complex effects. Bidirectionally interact with Maya nParticles and Maya nHair.

  • Maya Fluid Effects

    Simulate and render highly realistic atmospheric, explosive, viscous liquid, and open water effects. Select from presets for clouds, smoke, snow, steam, fog, and nuclear explosions. Create distinctive animated textures with 2D fluids. Maya Fluid Effects integrate with other Maya features. For example, you can create a fluid that acts as a force on particles created with Maya nParticles.

  • Rigid and soft-body dynamics

    Create convincing simulations of multiple rigid and flexible objects. Connect rigid-body objects with Nail, Hinge, Barrier, Pin, and Spring constraints. Create secondary motion effects with paintable goal-weights using soft-body objects. Simulate the motion of natural forces with dynamic fields.

  • Maya Fur

    Create realistic fur, short hair, wool, and grass. Choose from multiple fur type presets and multiple fur types per surface. Clumping controls enable natural looks such as wet, matted, or dirty fur. Use the attractor system for keyframed or dynamic fur motion.

    3D animation

  • Parallel rig evaluation New

    Increase the speed of character rig playback and manipulation. This new, multithreaded system distributes computation amongst existing cores and graphics processors in your computer. A new GPU-based mechanism performs deformations on your graphics hardware within Viewport 2.0. Create customized GPU-accelerated deformers with the provided APIs, and understand and target bottlenecks in scenes and plug-ins with the integrated performance profiler. 

  • Delta Mush deformer New

    Smooth deformation to help guide the final result closer to the original geometry. Use Delta Mush in many different workflows, such as paint-free skinning, smoothing of coarse simulation results, and shot post corrections. A popular user request.

  • General animation tools

    Nondestructive animation layering system works with attributes. The Set Driven Key tool enables you to keyframe complex relationships between animated parameters. Graph and Dopesheet Editors control how animated attributes change over time. Fine-tune animation in the viewport with editable motion trails. Block out and mark up animation directly in the 3D scene with the Grease Pencil.

  • Natural-looking character creation

    Human IK solver and built-in Spline IK, Spring IK, and single chain and lightweight 2-bone solvers enable you to rig and animate believable characters. Articulate natural-looking bipeds and quadrupeds. Nondestructive live retargeting workflow works with motion capture and other animation data. Maya Muscle has advanced deformation tools for realistic or highly stylized muscle and skin motion. Manipulate joints on a bound skeleton with a nondestructive workflow.

  • Reusable animation

    Save time by reusing, recycling, and adapting existing characters and animation. Transfer skinning information between models with the Substitute Geometry tool. Or transfer animation between characters via the ATOM (Animation Transfer Object Model) offline file format. Nondestructively edit poses and animation clips with the Trax Nonlinear Animation Editor.

  • Camera Sequencer

    Accelerate previsualization and virtual moviemaking production. Lay out multiple camera shots in a single animation sequence. Start laying out shots in Maya, or import an EDL in FCP or AAF formats from editorial with associated movie, audio, and time code information. Reorder clips, edit In and Out points, and change camera assignments with the Sequencer Playlist. Use Playblast to review the sequence before optionally re-exporting an EDL to editorial for refinement.

  • Geodesic Voxel Binding

    Produce high-quality, production-ready bound characters in less time with an innovative new skinning method that binds complex geometry to skeletons. Handle non-watertight geometry and meshes with non-manifold or overlapping components. The resulting weights are compatible with existing skinning methods in Maya and suitable for use in game engines.

    3D modeling

  • New sculpting toolset New

    Sculpt and shape models more artistically and intuitively. The new sculpting toolset represents a huge upgrade over previous editions. The new sculpting tools offer more detail and resolution. The brushes feature Volume and Surface falloff, stamp images, sculpting UVs, and support for vector displacement stamps.

  • Streamlined retopology toolset

    Optimize meshes for cleaner deformations and better performance. The Quad Draw tool integrates a Relax and Tweak feature with Soft Selection and an interactive Edge Extend tool. 

  • Polygon modeling

    Enjoy more reliable polygon modeling. An efficient library enables faster, more consistent Boolean operations on polygon geometry. Produce better bevels with an extended Bevel tool. A more deeply integrated Modeling Toolkit streamlines polygon modeling workflows.

  • OpenSubdiv support

    Open-sourced by Pixar, this feature incorporates technology from Microsoft Research. Use both parallel CPU and GPU architectures for faster draw performance when deforming. Interactively view displacement maps without the need to render. Closely match subdivision surfaces generated in Pixar's RenderMan renderer.

  • UV toolset

    A multithreaded unfolding algorithm and selection workflows enable you to quickly create and edit complex UV meshes and get high-quality results. Easily toggle checkerboard and compression shaders to visualize UV distribution. Maya supports loading, visualizing, and rendering UDIM and UV tagged texture sequences, for a more streamlined workflow with Mudbox 3D digital sculpting and texture painting software and certain other applications.

  • Polygon and subdivision mesh modeling

    Create and edit polygon meshes with a production-proven, intuitive 3D character modeling and environment modeling toolset. Integrated modeling feature set built on technology from the NEX toolset from dRaster. Tools include Bridge, Poke, Cut, Wedge, Bevel, Extrude, Quad Draw, and Chamfer Vertex. You can preview or render smoothly subdivided meshes while editing a lower-resolution proxy or cage.

  • Surface modeling

    Create mathematically smooth surfaces using relatively few control vertices via NURBS or hierarchical subdivision surfaces. Add complexity to different regions of subdivision surfaces. Attach, detach, align, stitch together, extend, fillet, or rebuild NURBS surfaces with a high degree of control over parameterization and continuity. Convert NURBS and subdivision surfaces to polygon meshes, and vice versa. Use precise spline-based curve and surface construction tools.

  • UVs, normals, and color-per-vertex

    Create and edit UVs, normals, and color-per-vertex (CPV) data with a streamlined creative texturing workflow. Software, interactive, or in-game 3D rendering requires extra data. Multiple UV sets support separate texture coordinates for separate texture channels. Use a single mesh to represent multiple objects with per-instance UV sets. Multiple sets of animatable CPV, prelighting, user-defined normals, and normal map generation are suitable for game design.

    Pipeline integration

  • Scripting and API

    Create Maya scripts and write plug-ins in Maya Embedded Language (MEL) or Python scripting language to increase efficiency, customize features, and differentiate your work. Maya plug-ins and stand-alone applications can run from the Maya command line in C++, Python, or .NET languages.

    Python is a registered trademark of Python Software Foundation.

  • 2D and 3D integration

    Use Render Layers to manage multiple passes within a single scene and export to your compositor of choice, or as Adobe Photoshop (PSD) or Flash (SWFT) output. Generate and update a compositing tree based on the render layers in the scene. Import an EDL in Apple Final Cut Pro, XML, or AAF formats, change shot timings in the Camera Sequence, and re-export. Create and edit bevels in Illustrator files while maintaining the ability to update the original.

  • Data and scene management tools

    Manage large data sets with specialized tools and workflows. View and edit node relationships with the powerful dependency graph architecture. Segment scenes using assets and file referencing to help manage workflows, and to improve performance by offloading scene elements until you need them. Group nodes into containers and create custom and user-specific views. Extensively modify modeled data without rebuilding.

  • Scene Assembly tools for smarter data

    Create large, complex worlds more easily, and manage production assets as discrete elements. Easily swap between different representations, such as varying levels of detail. Apply, animate, or query edits at different levels in the scene assembly hierarchy. Track overrides on assemblies via an improved Edits system. Use the API to customize the toolset to create proprietary solutions.

  • Advanced file path handling

    Quickly diagnose and fix broken file paths, and work with nonlocal data and nonstandard file paths with URI support. The File Path Editor lists nodes that use external files, such as textures, image planes, references, and audio files. When a file path is broken, you can quickly relocate the file, or search recursively within a directory structure. Set paths to nonexistent files for handoff to users who may have different directory structures. Use the API to teach Maya about URI schemes.

    3D rendering & imaging

  • Enhanced look development workflow New

    We've made building and editing materials in the Hypershade more artist-friendly and intuitive, with simpler workflows and a revamped user interface. A rebuilt node-editing interface makes it easier to connect, arrange, and work with shading components. New workflows enable you to visualize and diagnose complex shading graphs. Customize your UI for the way you work; new layout tabs allow you to work with shading graphs in a far more organized way.

  • Color management

    Preserve creative intent throughout lighting and rendering workflows with a sophisticated color management system. Use the simple linear workflow provided out of the box, or customize the system to suit your color pipeline. Image handling is consistent and color-safe across The Foundry's NUKE software, Photoshop, Autodesk Creative Finishing solutions, and other applications.

  • Integrated renderer options

    Get a choice of integrated renderers in addition to the native Maya software renderer. The integrated mental ray for Maya has advanced photorealistic features. Maya includes 5 licenses of mental ray for Maya Batch* and 8 licenses of mental ray for Maya Satellite. 

    *Feature available only with network license.

  • Painting in Maya

    Create realistic, natural detail and painterly effects with intuitive brush-based tools. Select, edit, and blend between 500 pressure-sensitive preset brushes that enable you to paint textures directly onto surfaces. Simulate plants growing and other effects with built-in animation. Control how Paint Effects strokes react with surfaces, volumes, and each other. 

  • Toon Shader

    Transform 3D scenes into compelling cartoon animations with nonphotorealistic styles. Mimic hand-drawn, traditional cartoon, comic book, and Japanese manga/anime looks. Work in 3D to create complex transitions, camera tracking, and simulated effects. Create outlines with painterly effects and precise control over line style, placement, and width. View interactive previews in real time, and render results in mental ray for Maya, Maya software, or hardware renderers.

  • Next-gen viewport display and shading (enhanced)

    Work in a higher fidelity high-performance interactive environment to edit assets and images in less time.

    • Viewport 2.0 supports additional effects, rendering, and texturing features such as particles, Maya nHair, Maya nCloth, and more.
    • Interactively preview output from the XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator and the Bifrost Procedural Effects Platform.
    • Get powerful DirectX 11 software with the Maya DX11Shader* for real-time shader effects.

    *DX11Shader is available only on the Windows 64-bit operating system.

  • ShaderFX 3D shading

    Easily create advanced HLSL, GLSL, and CgFX viewport shaders with the ShaderFX real-time visual shader editor. Create shader networks by connecting different nodes with a click-drag workflow. Select floating-point values, mathematical operations, texture maps, normal maps, and color nodes. Visualize materials in real time, and drill down into the inner workings of each basic node.

     

  • Rendering, 3D shading, and camera tracking

    Flexible camera rig features in-viewport stereo viewing. Multithreaded Interactive Photorealistic Renderer (IPR) enables easier iteration. Intuitively create, edit, and organize shading networks with advanced node-based editors. Work with node-based representations of render passes directly in Maya. Transfer normal, displacement, diffuse, shaded, ambient occlusion, and custom mental ray shader information between models. Library includes 80 Substance procedural textures.

  • Ptex support in mental ray

    Render Ptex texture files in mental ray for Maya. Eliminate the need to create and assign UVs to meshes by creating Ptex files in Mudbox 2015 3D digital sculpting and texture painting software or certain other texture painting applications and rendering them in mental ray for Maya.

     

  • Maya Composite

    The fully featured, high-performance, high dynamic range (HDR)-capable compositor enables you to collaborate effectively with stakeholders in nonlinear workflows. Enhance rendered passes from Maya and incorporate them into live-action footage, and interact smoothly with visual media regardless of bit depth or image size.

  • Professional camera tracking

    Extract accurate 3D camera and motion data from live-action sequences and insert CG elements into a scene using MatchMover software. Use advanced automatic 3D tracking with Push-Button Matchmoving. Create a 3D reference system for your camera and 3D content with manual controls. Filter and fine-tune tracking parameters, track from multiple footage sources and stills, and track moving objects.

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