|During the SIGGRAPH 2005 Conference, Doug Walker, CEO and
President of Alias,
excitedly announced that the Maya 7 release was, in his opinion, the
biggest feature release that Maya has ever done. Doug should know
... he has been in computer graphics for twenty years. Maya has
experienced a great deal of growth in digital publishing,
film/video, and games and has optimized workflow for those markets.
In addition, Maya is always customizing its releases for larger
customers who have specialized needs. Indeed, in 3 to 6 months,
Doug hopes to share additional new technologies. For now, the
features of Maya 7 include:
[The above screen grab shows the new blendshape weight painting
introduced in Maya 7. Allowing artists to use the Artisan brush
tools to paint weight maps for their blendshape targets.]
- Adobe Illustrator integration.
- Blend shapes are weighted. You can now create your own blend
shapes by mixing the blenders.
[The above image depicts a simple scene setup with render layers
... see render layer editor in the bottom right. With this addition
users are able to easily separate their scene elements into
manageable pieces that can easily be fed downstream to compositors
without the need to manage numerous scene files.]
- Hair styles that adjust between characters and can attach to
the head directly without a skull cap.
- Poly creasing a cage that pulls or weights the model towards
the edge of the cage. This is especially useful for those
- Workflow if a model is changed or altered after the animator
has rigged it, the new model can be substituted back into the
- Flash renders.
[The above scene shows Toon outlines being previewed in realtime in
the viewport as well as a rendered image in renderview.]
- New toe and foot movements and transfers to body and floor.
Animated jumping jacks just got a lot more realistic.
- High resolution to low resolution baking / texture conversions
to reduce poly count on large numbers of models used in a scene.
For example, if you have 100 space ships, only the ones up close
need to be high resolution. The remainder can use low resolution
and texture to provide the same level of realism.
- Export with layers in .psd format.
- Cartoon shader - intersection lines and crease lines that are
displayed around poly edges and intersections to make the render
look like cartoon renders. The pixel value of the lines that the
camera sees can be changed and are proportional.
- New controls to manipulate paint effect. Some of the paint
effects simulate burning off of grass, etc. After all, not
everything has to be done with particles.
- Maya is now incorporating several modeling features that work
with RenderMan technology. But thats not all. Maya 7 also
integrates with Motion Builder 7, now owned by Alias. Motion
Builder allows for complete transferability back and forth with
Maya 7. The floor plane, which traditionally used to be a flat
floor, now can move and rotate. This makes for great skateboarding
and the body responds to the rotation of the floor. You can even
take an animation of one character and apply it to another. Have
the dancing baby going, and want to apply the dance to a light
pole? No big deal create your light pole, and transfer the
animation rigging and all. Maya can even take advantage of the
64bit Mental Ray renderer sporting much greater speeds. For a full
look into Maya 7 we invite you to visit:
- The Alias Site
All supporting images within this article
and used by permission courtesy of Alias
images cannot be printed, published, or copied without written
Tech Views is a regular featured column
with Renderosity Staff Writer/Sr. Tech Editor Eric Post [EricofSD].
August 29, 2005