By Marc Loftus
Issue: Animation - Jul 21, 2003


TORONTO - Alias|Wavefront is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and is breaking ground on a new corporate venue called the Alias Visualization Studio, which will allow customers to see the potential of its animation tools. The customer briefing facility will be equipped with "best of breed technology" from Alias and its partners and will allow them to collaborate and share ideas to help define the future of digital visualization for film, video, games, automotive and industrial design.

It's also decided to drop the "Wavefront" portion of its moniker. The two companies had merged in 1995, with Wavefront bringing its expertise in the development of dynamics engines. Alias|Wavefront president Doug Walker points out that the company is referred to solely as "Alias" most of the time, and that it has decided to build on that strong identity. Its new look will be unveiled at this year's SIGGRAPH show in San Diego later this month.

Alias has substantially increased its market share after dramatically dropping its prices in 2002. Today, 25 percent of its Maya sales are to existing customers, while 65 percent are to users of other applications, and 10 percent are to those new to the animation industry. Alias offers Mac, NT and Linux releases.

According to Walker, Alias is number one in the design business, representing 95 percent of the user base designing cars and other consumer products. Walker, who's headed Alias for the past three years, also claims that the company is number one in the entertainment industry, representing the "number one shipper of UNIX software." He adds that since 1995, every film nominated for visual effects Academy Awards has used Alias tools.

On March 1st of this year, Alias|Wavefront was presented with an Oscar statuette by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its development of Maya software. Since 1930, only 40 Scientific and Technical achievements have been recognized with this level award, Maya being the first 3D software package.