Autodesk has launched Maya 8, the newest version of its 3D modeling, animation and rendering software for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. New to this release are improvements that enable the software to handle larger datasets and myriad performance and productivity enhancements. Maya is available in Complete and Unlimited versions for $1,999 and $6,999 respectively; upgrades start at $899.
Skinning, draw tessellation and subdivided polygon proxy meshes have been multithreaded, to provide performance improvements on multicore and multi-processor machines. What’s more, Maya 8 features 64-bit support, but only in its Windows and Linux products — the Mac version remains 32-bit for now, and it does not appear that Maya 8 is shipping as a Universal binary that runs natively on Intel Macs.
New productivity features include the Transfer Polygon Attributes feature, which lets modelers transfer UVs, colors per vertex and vertex position info between surface meshes — helpful for working with low-res and high-res versions of objects and characters, for example. Other new features include Polygon Bridge, multiple edge loop insertion and enhanced UV layout.
Enhancements have been made to Application Programming Interface (API) extensions and Autodesk FBX file exchange technology. Geometry caching is now interchangeable with Maya and Autodesk’s 3ds Max animation software.
The mental ray renderer included with Maya has been optimized for performance and memory usage; High Dynamic Range (HDR) and floating-point images are now supported and more.
Maya 8 is available in English, with additional localizations coming.
System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.4.6 or later, Safari, Firefox, Netscape 7 or higher, G5, 1GB RAM, OpenGL graphics card, 3-button mouse, 450MB hard disk space.