Autodesk Maya 2011: Modern Look, High Performance Core and New 3D Editorial

March 14, 2010 2:02 pm

Tags: 3D, 3ds Max, Autodesk, Maya, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, product reviews, Softimage

Customizable User Interface, 3D Editorial Timeline and Skinning Workflows Make 3D Animation Easier

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., March 9, 2010 - Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), announced Autodesk Maya 2011 software - the latest version of its Academy Award-winning 3D animation software. A new user interface (UI), 3D editorial capability and enhanced skinning workflow help provide computer graphics (CG) artists with an end-to-end creative workflow at an exceptional value. Autodesk Maya software has been used on countless games as well as every Oscar-winning movie for Best Visual Effects since 2001.




Enhanced User Interface - Enjoy a consistent, enhanced user experience on all supported platforms with an updated user interface that offers a fresh new look, dockable UI elements, more flexible editors, and a new color chooser and file browser.


"Maya continues to help artists set new standards in entertainment with credits such as 'Avatar' and 'Uncharted 2: Among Thieves,'" said Stig Gruman, Autodesk vice president of digital entertainment. "The 2011 release is a key milestone for Maya. With a new customizable UI and a new graphics architecture, Maya strengthens its position as a foundation for modern film and game pipelines. The innovative 3D editorial timeline helps communicate and validate the creative vision behind a project and enables previs and virtual moviemaking workflows for users."




Accelerated Skinning Workflow - Create better skinned characters with more realistic deformations in less time, with new skinning tools and workflows: a dual quaternion option for smooth skinning, interactive volume binding, multiple enhancements to the Paint Skin Weights tool, deformer weight mirroring, and a surface falloff mode for the Wrap deformer.


Key New Features in Autodesk Maya 2011 Software:

  • Redesigned User Interface - Maya 2011 has a fresh new look and feel. Based on Nokia Qt, the new UI is simpler to customize, featuring dockable UI elements and improved editors. As beta tester Rob van den Bragt, supervisor/director, The Mill, explained, "I am loving all the positive steps taken in Maya 2011. With the UI now based on Qt, Maya has become more flexible, powerful and modern."
  • High Performance Core - Maya 2011 features a completely redesigned graphics pipeline that helps deliver new levels of performance for complex scenes while improving the quality of the viewport feedback.
  • Mac OS X 64-Bit Availability - Mac OS X users can access considerably more memory to handle larger and more complex scenes with the new 64-bit executable.
  • Accelerated 3D Editorial - The software's new Camera Sequencer adds powerful multicamera editorial capabilities to help facilitate pre-visualization and virtual moviemaking production using a Maya timeline. Developed on-site in production to meet the needs of large-scale CG animations, the Camera Sequencer supports import of both AAF and Final Cut Pro EDLs. "The most exciting feature in Maya 2011 is the Camera Sequencer," said beta tester Matt Wood, visual effects supervisor, Space Digital Ltd. "I found it to be an amazing solution. The ability to edit and animate at the same time is truly remarkable - not just sequencing cameras but slipping, reordering and even retiming them individually. It's so valuable."
  • Enhanced Skinning Workflow - Creating believable CG characters is also made easier with a new, dual quaternion option for smooth skinning, interactive volume binding, enhancements to the Paint Skin Weights tool, deformer weight mirroring and surface falloff mode for the Wrap deformer. "The Paint Skin Weights tool overhaul has made working with large numbers of joints much easier, and the interactive skinning envelopes will be very helpful for working with multiple characters of the same size with various mesh topologies," said beta tester Ryan Trowbridge, character technical director, Naughty Dog.
  • Improved Maya Composite - A new Vector Paint feature in Maya Composite dramatically improves its paint and rotoscoping capabilities. Now, animatable and trackable paint strokes can be used to paint colors and reveal or clone data across a sequence or on a per-frame basis. "We absolutely love the new Vector Paint tools, which nicely round out the robust toolset in Maya Composite," said beta tester Michael Vaglienty, visual effects supervisor, Giant Steps, VFX.




3D Editorial - Accelerate pre-visualization and virtual movie-making production with new 3D Editorial capabilities in Maya. The new Camera Sequencer enables artists to layout and manage 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. Then change the timings of shots, create alternate versions, and use Playblast to playback and review the sequence before optionally re-exporting an EDL to editorial for further refinement.


More information is also available on AREA blogs: Cory Mogk's Mayalicious, Steven Roselle's My Oh Maya! and Duncan Brinsmead's Duncan's Corner. Videos of the new features are available on the Autodesk You Tube channel.




Vector Paint in Maya Composite - Perform complex rotoscoping operations such as removing or replacing elements from live action plates using the new vector paint option in Maya Composite. Vector paint strokes are animatable, and points can be controlled by trackers. Strokes can be used to paint color, or to reveal or clone data from another source, which can be offset, rotated, scaled, or sheared. Visibility can be set on a per-frame basis.


Pricing and Availability

Autodesk anticipates that Maya 2011 will be available in English and Japanese in April 2010. The Autodesk suggested retail price (SRP) for an Autodesk Maya 2011 stand-alone license is US$3,495.* The SRP to upgrade from Maya 2010 stand-alone to Maya 2011 stand-alone is $1,745.* Autodesk Subscription is available for purchase simultaneously with the product or upgrade purchase for $595 SRP per year.


64-bit Support for Mac OS X - Mac OS X users can access considerably more memory to handle larger and more complex scenes with the new 64-bit executable.


Autodesk Maya 2011 will also be available as part of the Autodesk Maya Entertainment Creation Suite 2011. The Suite offers customers Maya 2011 together with Autodesk Mudbox 2011 and Autodesk MotionBuilder 2011 software. Artists and production facilities have access to a range of powerful creative tools at more than 35 percent** cost savings, compared to purchasing each product separately.

*International pricing may vary.
** International savings may vary.

About Autodesk

Autodesk, Inc., is a world leader in 2D and 3D design, engineering and entertainment software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment markets. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art software to help customers experience their ideas digitally before they are built. Fortune 100 companies - as well as the last 15 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects use Autodesk software tools to design, visualize and simulate their ideas to save time and money, enhance quality and foster innovation for competitive advantage. For additional information about Autodesk, visit

Autodesk, AutoCAD, Maya, MotionBuilder and Mudbox are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. Academy Award is a registered trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.

© 2010 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Article Comments

Qualien ( posted at 8:04PM Wed, 17 March 2010

Thanks for the mouthwatering review (now I am trying to figure up how many pints of blood I would have to sell to get US$3,495).

Danas_Anis ( posted at 1:32PM Thu, 18 March 2010

Finally they did something good about their ugly and terrible UI and now it is quite good. I wonder if it still has this annoying rigging bug?.. Anyway, Bravo.

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