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Maya 2015 - what to expect!


By Jahirul Amin

Web: http://www.autodesk.com (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 20th March 2014
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Jahirul Amin gets a sneak peek at the coming release of Maya 2015 and reveals whether it will be worth the wait for Maya users. Find out in this special feature...


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A new year usually brings with it an updated release of Autodesk's Media and Entertainment toolset. I was fortunate enough to be asked to head up to the UK capital (London) to have a sneak peek at some of the latest features that have been implemented into the upcoming version of Maya.

Now, usually, new releases do not inspire or excite me and I generally like to stay a version or two back to avoid teething issues. However, I must say that from what I saw I very much look forward to getting my hands on Maya 2015. Read on to find out more...

"Chris Vienneau, Director of Media and Entertainment, considers it to be one of the best releases of Maya to date"


The main theme throughout the presentation for Maya 2015 was that Autodesk is hitting the R&D side of things very hard. There is a return to innovation, empowering users with up-to-date and beyond technologies. Autodesk is presenting a more forward-looking approach, and keeping customers in the loop regarding the direction of the product, where possible.

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With XGen, which is the technology used by Walt Disney Animation Studios, creating environments,
combing hair or styling fur should be a breeze

The coming iteration of Maya is the first release with this new innovative spirit, and Chris Vienneau, Director of Media and Entertainment, considers it to be one of the best releases of Maya to date.

The 3 overriding areas of improvement and additions to Maya 2015 are in the reworking of basic functions, Viewport 2.0 and effects. Now the effects side of things seems to be where the majority of the R&D has gone into so far, with Bifröst and XGen being the stand-out features in that area.




Before taking a look at the specifics of those, it's worth covering what's been revamped in Maya as a whole as there are a heck of a lot of improvements to make Maya users rejoice...

Firstly, through customer feedback and discussion boards, such as the Small Annoying Things and the Ideas for Maya forum, there has been an overhaul and a reworking of hundreds of legacy issues in Maya.

"It's not just the modeling tools that have been refined: the animation tools have also been improved, creating a more robust, reliable toolkit"


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The Modeling Toolkit has been refined to allow for a more streamlined approach to retopoly

Modeling

The modeling side of things in particular has seen a lot of attention. The Modeling Toolkit has been better integrated and should feel less like a plug-in now and more like part of the software. Boolean operations are more stable and you can use history to make changes more successfully to the tool. Operations that you would have handled manually as opposed to using a tool such as Bevel, have all been fixed and should give you the results you are after.

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Boolean operations are now more robust and with the use of history, changes can be made more easily

It may not sound like much, but fixes like this and the rest, really should make a difference to workflow. Still on the theme of modeling, I got to check out Dynamo, which is a node-based procedural modeling tool that can also hook into Revit, allowing you to very quickly generate buildings, terrain and vegetation etc. And in a day and age where gamers are asking for ever-increasing worlds, Dynamo should help meet their expectations. Moreover, with Open Subdiv coming into play, there should be plenty to keep the modelers entertained.

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UV tiling now supports multiple load methods for MARI, Mudbox and ZBrush

It's not just the modeling tools that have been refined: the animation tools have also been improved, creating a more robust, reliable toolkit. Skinning should also be less time-consuming now with the addition of Geodesic Voxel Binding. This method of binding will get you 80-90% of the way there instantaneously, allowing you to get a better idea of how the mesh will deform quicker than ever before.


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Geodesic Voxel Binding should allow you to envelope your characters in a fraction of the time


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