today announced that customers on full annual maintenance contracts can now download Maya 5. The full version, and upgrades for other customers, will be released on May 1st.
Maya 5 is the latest major release of the industry-standard 3D rendering and animation, available for Mac OS X and other platforms. The new version sports new features and improvements for artists working in game development, broadcast graphics, Web content creation, design visualization and film productions.
Maya 5 sports a new Hardware Renderer engine that leverages graphics card technology, as well as a new Vector Renderer designed to export 3D content into formats that can be manipulated by Flash MX, Illustrator and GoLive. The four different renderers supported by Maya 5 are all now accessed through a consistent user interface and workflow, as well.
Other improvements have been made to the character animation, dynamics and polygonal modeling tools included with Maya, and more shader, particle, light and polygon data has been exposed for programmers working on custom Maya-based solutions, along with further extensions to the software’s open rendering framework. Data exchange has been enhanced, too, with broader file format support than before.
Additionally, online tutorials and documentation have been improved, and a free “Learning Tool” is now included with each shipment.
The only thing missing from the downloadable version of Maya 5 now available is the Shader Library. Alias|Wavefront explained that this has been omitted to reduce download size. The Shader Library will be included with physical shipments released in May; those kits will be sent to all maintenance contract customers too.
Maya Unlimited 5 has been improved as well, with enhancements to Maya Fluid Effects, Maya Fur and more. Alas, Maya Unlimited 5 is not available for the Mac.
Maya Complete is priced at US$1,999. Maya customers on full annual maintenance programs and registered for the company’s eSupport program can download Maya 5 from Alias|Wavefront’s
Web site. Others will be able to purchase the software through authorized resellers or online from Alias|Wavefront’s online store starting May 1. Version upgrades for Maya Compete cost $899.