Tech Views - Alias' Maya 7

deemarie · August 29, 2005 9:59 am

Message2389515.jpgDuring 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:
  • Adobe Illustrator integration.
  • Blend shapes are weighted. You can now create your own blend shapes by mixing the blenders.
[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.]
  • 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 semi-organic looks.
  • Workflow if a model is changed or altered after the animator has rigged it, the new model can be substituted back into the animation.
  • Flash renders.
[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.]
  • 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.
[The above scene shows Toon outlines being previewed in realtime in the viewport as well as a rendered image in renderview.]
  • 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 are copyright,
and used by permission courtesy of Alias
images cannot be printed, published, or copied without written permisson.

Message2255156.jpgTech Views is a regular featured column with Renderosity Staff Writer/Sr. Tech Editor Eric Post [EricofSD].
August 29, 2005

Article Comments

Paula Sanders ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 29 August 2005

Thanks Eric. It sounds exciting.

nemirc ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 29 August 2005

Must get Maya 7... drool Actually that thing about paitable blendshape weight maps isn't THAT new. You have the "makepaintable" command that does the same with a little more work ;) What I DO wanna try out is using animated weightmaps on the blendshapes... did anybody say "full body morphing a la Shang Tsun?" evil grin

LillianH ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 30 August 2005

Nice to see what's up with Maya7. Thanks for the insight Eric! All the best, Lillian

EricofSD ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 30 August 2005

Lillian, as I recall you and Jenny were at the conference too sitting right behind and gabbing with George Lucas. (Did I spell her name right?)

deemarie ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 02 September 2005

Thanks so much for giving us the inside scoop on the new version of Maya :] Great information! Dee-Marie

OneShot ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 02 September 2005

Nice article on Maya 7

OneShot ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 02 September 2005

Nice article on Maya 7

Modulok ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 03 September 2005

Nicely done.