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April 2014
Issue: SIGGRAPH 2006 - DAY 1

AUTODESK DEBUTS MAYA 8 & MAX 9

By: Marc Loftus

BOSTON – Autodesk (www.autodesk.com) is at this year’s SIGGRAPH show with 3D tools that are designed to “make the story come alive.” The company is debuting new versions of its Maya and 3DS Max applications, both of which have been enhanced with performance, productivity and pipeline efficiencies.

The 64-bit 3DS Max 9 will ship this October and is even easier to use, with more intuitive tools that require less steps to achieve desired results. The application also boasts more efficient rendering and a layered blending system that can be added to custom rigs and controllers. Hair and cloth tools have been enhanced, and users can now style hair in the viewport. XAF files can be saved and loaded onto bipeds, allowing for the easy transfer of information to and from custom rigs. Pricing for 3DS Max 9 will be $3,495. An upgrade from Version 8 will cost $795.

Maya 8 is now shipping and offers a combination of 64-bit support, multithreading and algorithmic optimizations that enable artists to load massive datasets and interact with them more efficiently than before. Additional features include the ability to override viewports with a user-definable renderer (such as a game engine), support for high dynamic range (HDR) and floating-point images, and support for interactive viewing of native and custom Mental Ray shaders.

Pricing for Maya 8 is $1,999 for Maya Complete and $6,999 for Maya Unlimited. Upgrade pricing from Maya 7 starts at $899.

Animators from the Texas-based animation studio DNA were at Autodesk’s SIGGRAPH press conference, recounting their use of Maya on the recently-released feature Ant Bully. The studio created some 1,700 shots for the film, its trailers, interstitials and DVD bonus content. DNA spent two years on the film, creating its 13 main characters and 18 supporting characters, among others. All of the animation and rigging was done using Maya.