Alias|Wavefront has announced Maya 5, the latest major version of its 3D animation and rendering software. The new version adds new rendering options, “future-proofing” and expanded support for other applications.
In addition to Maya’s own software renderer and mental ray for Maya, the new version includes Vector Renderer and Hardware Renderer — all of them handled through a unified user interface and workflow. Vector Renderer has been created to create Macromedia Flash vector graphics, EPS, Illustrator and SVG files. Hardware Renderer produces images up to 20 times faster than previous Maya versions.
Maya 5 also adds enhancements to animation constraints, new ghosting and channel muting options, and a “highly visual” form of FK/IK blending. There’s also a new polygon reduction facility, new UV editing and extrusion tools, and the Maya Artisan brush feature to paint Face Vertices. Maya 5 gets improved performance in dynamics computation, too.
The Maya API has been enhanced in version 5 with a new node/attribute callback mechanism, more detailed exposure of light data and high-level polygon operations. The Maya Embedded Language (MEL) adds a “renderer” command that simplifies the use of third-party renderers.
Maya Paint Effects can be drawn as or converted to polygons, as well. A new Thin Line brush mode enables artists to create effects like multi-streaked hair. A hundred new preset brushes are included.
Maya Learning Tool DVDs are now included in every box, as well.
Maya 5 offers enhanced and new data exchanges, with support for Macromedia Flash, DWG, DXF, Illustrator, EPS, SVG, IGES, OpenFlight, StudioTools and OBJ formats.
Maya Complete for Mac OS X, Windows, IRIX and Linux is priced at US$1,999. The new version will be released in May. Upgrades are priced at $899. Prices are for node-locked versions.