Coming Attraction: Maya Marches On

For Alias/Wavefront, the big news at this year's National Association of Broadcasters trade show was the announcement that Maya 4 would be available for Windows, Irix, and Linux users in June. But Mac users shouldn't feel left out -- an OS X-native version of the powerful 3-D animation software is coming to the platform. And Alias/Wavefront's progress on the Mac version of Maya was on full display this week at the Las Vegas trade show.

Apple's booth featured frequent demos of Maya running on OS X. NAB attendees saw a robust and stable version of the product used to create 3-D images in movies, commercials, and video games. Look for Maya to ship this summer -- if not at July's Macworld Expo New York, then certainly at Siggraph 2001 in Los Angeles this August.

One of the highlights of the Maya demonstration included the creation of a jellyfish using the animation software. Alias/Wavefront showed 3-D painting of animated tentacles and used the program's Jiggle Deformer feature to create the fluid, pulsing motion of its creation.

Maya 3 for OS X supports OpenGL -- one of the three graphics technologies built into the new operating system. Maya also can render directly to QuickTime -- a good feature for moviemakers who want to quickly prepare daily samples of their work.

The OS X version of Maya will have the same features as the existing Maya 3 does -- not the new tools of the latest version announced by Alias/Wavefront at the NAB show. But Mac users can expect feature parity with the PC version in three to six months after Maya's release. The reason for the modest lag? Maya includes some 26 million lines of code -- more than even OS X itself.

Alias/Wavefront will charge $7,500 for the OS X version of Maya -- the same price as the PC versions. Alias/Wavefront recommends a PowerMac G4 system with 512MB of RAM and an ATI Radeon or Nvidia GeForce video card.

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