Key features of Maya

From fantastic creatures and sweeping landscapes to explosive battle sequences, the Academy Award-winning Maya toolset is a top choice for creating believable characters and worlds.

Cast of Barbie dancing disco


Create 3D props, environments, and characters with powerful polygon and NURBS modeling tools.

Rigging and animation

Bring characters to life with features like keyframe, nonlinear, and motion capture animation.

Simulations and effects (Bifrost)

Create physically accurate simulations and effects like explosions and ocean surfaces with Bifrost.

Look development

Build procedural materials across multiple tools with LookdevX, a material authoring plug-in.


View real-time scene changes, including lighting and materials, with the Arnold renderer integration.

OpenUSD workflows

Improve collaboration with integrated open standards like OpenUSD (Universal Scene Description).


Supercharge your tools with scripting and plug-ins like Unreal Live Link.

More features of Maya


Smart Extrude

Extrude faces on a mesh in a flexible and predictable way, minimizing manual cleanup of resulting geometry.

Polygonal modeling

Create 3D models using geometry based on vertices, edges, and faces.

NURBS modeling

Construct 3D models from geometric primitives and drawn curves.

UV editing and toolkit

View and edit the UV texture coordinates for polygon, NURBS, and subdivision surfaces in a 2D view.

Sculpting toolset

Sculpt and shape models more artistically and intuitively.

Rigging and animation

Keyframe animation

Animate objects or skeletons by setting markers (keys) to indicate timing and position.


Add deformation effects to your characters and objects to tweak their appearance and enhance their animation.

Motion capture animation

Create animation in Maya using motion capture (or “mocap”) systems.


Pose and animate models with hierarchical, articulated structures known as skeletons.


Bind a modeled surface to a skeleton with smooth, rigid, and indirect skinning.


Easily retarget animation between characters of differing size, proportions, and skeletal hierarchy with HumanIK.

Time Editor

Create and edit animation sequences with any keyframeable object or attribute in Maya.

Nonlinear animation

Assemble animation in sequences that you can rearrange and edit, like film clips in a nonlinear editor.

Graph Editor

See a graphical representation of interpolation between animation keys that you can modify.

Cached playback

See changes made to your animation without needing to create a playblast.

Simulation and effects (Bifrost)

Simulation and effects

Deliver natural looking effects like snow, particles, or waves with Aero, MPM, Particles, and BOSS systems. (video: 5 sec.)

Scattering and instancing

Create large-scale complexity for world building or set dressing with expressive scattering and instancing tools.

Ready-to-use templates

Access a variety of pre-built compounds and graphs to use as a starting point for creating your own effects.

Geometry nodes

Work at the lowest level of mesh creation, organize with component tags, and create geometry inside the Bifrost Graph.

Procedural USD

Assemble, organize, and edit USD assets non-destructively with the flexibility of the Bifrost Graph.

Look development


Build materials that work across multiple renderers with LookdevX, Autodesk’s agnostic material authoring plug-in for Maya, supported by OpenUSD.

LookdevX Graph Editor

View, author, and edit materials on Maya geometry in a single node-based visual programming environment.

Native USD and MaterialX material authoring

Use native USD and MaterialX shading graphs simultaneously within the same Maya session.

MaterialX data structures

Automatic MaterialX Stack and Document data structures ensure you can use MaterialX comfortably in your daily tasks.

Color management

Trust color accuracy with color management data precisely embedded in USD files, controlled by Maya's Color Management Preferences.

Arnold integration

Dive into more advanced graphing using the integrated Arnold shading graphs.


Integrated Arnold renderer

Use Arnold Render View to view scene changes in real time, including lighting, materials, and cameras.


Create and apply a wide range of materials with Arnold shaders in Maya like the standard_surface, distance, or toon shader.

GPU and CPU rendering

Use Arnold for production rendering on both the GPU and CPU.


Simulate the effect of exposure, focus distance, aperture size, and more with cameras including the cylindrical and fisheye camera.


Pick from multiple light settings to simulate illumination in a scene with efficient techniques like global light sampling.


Quickly reduce noise while preserving details in rendered images with denoising options like the OptiX Denoiser.

Color management

See accurate previews of final colors in the viewport and Render View with OpenColorIO v2.

Arnold USD

Leverage Arnold within USD-based workflows in production scenarios for efficient flow of 3D data.

OpenUSD workflows

Lightning speed

Load and edit massive data sets in a matter of seconds using OpenUSD in Maya.

Seamless import and export

Import USD data as native Maya data and export native Maya data as USD data.

Lightweight previews

See quick previews of USD scene structure using the Hierarchy View window.

Native OpenUSD support

Work with USD data directly in common Maya editors, such as the Outliner, Attribute Editor, and Channel Box.

OpenUSD in the viewport

See USD natively alongside Maya data in the viewport.

Open source and fully customizable

The Maya USD plug-in is available as an open-source project for studios to customize as needed.


Unreal Live Link

Stream animation data from Maya to Unreal Engine in real time, which lets you work on character assets in Maya while seeing a preview inside Unreal.


Create Maya scripts and write plug-ins using Python 3.

Scene assembly

Create large, complex worlds without slowing down your workflow.


Customize the interface, hotkeys, search, and more to tailor Maya to your preferences and workflow.

Plug-In Manager

Easily identify and manage which plug-ins are loaded into Maya.

Adobe Live Link

View and update scenes in Maya and Adobe After Effects simultaneously.

Flow Production Tracking integration

Access production management tools directly in Maya with a Flow Production Tracking (formerly ShotGrid) subscription.