Excerpt: As with previous versions, Maya 2008 comes in two flavours: Maya Complete and the Unlimited version, which adds nCloth simulations, Fluid Effects, and Fur and Hair. Both editions ship with mental ray 3.6 and run on Windows XP, Mac OS X on Intel and PowerPC, Red Hat and openSuSE Linux and now Windows...
Pros: New polygon modelling tools. Character animation and skinning enhancement. New nCloth capabilities. mental ray 3.6. Windows Vista support. Improved hardware rendering.
Cons: Fairly steep learning curve. Relatively expensive. High system requirements.
Excerpt: Maya 2011 delivers important performance and workflow improvements including 64-bit support for Mac OS X. With 64-bit support Mac users can access valuable computing resources and take advantage of the performance improvements available in this release.
Pros: 64-bit support Mac for Mac OS X, improved performance and productivity, enhanced character animation, new Camera Sequencer, and updated dynamics.
Excerpt: Autodesk Maya is a huge, sprawling package that offers an entire workflow for the 3D process. However, some elements of it are better than others, with the modelling tools in particular, starting to lag behind, compared to both Autodesk and rival packages.
Pros: Lots of improvements to workflow including file referencing and the new Node editor, animation gets bulked up with HumanIK enhancements, heat map skinning, bullet physics and Trax Clip matching, Maya nHair adds more complex simulations while display quality in Viewport 2.0 hits new highs
Cons: Lots of small bugs, some flaws in the modelling tools, cluttered viewport, very steep learning curve, mental ray is awkward to use, some camera issues, lots of minor workflow irritations compared to rival apps, no full screen option
Excerpt: With Maya being an industry-leading, monster of a package, each year sees fixes and tweaks that don’t qualify for headline treatment yet, when discovered, have a positive effect on your workflow.
Pros: Industry leader adds scene assembly to reduce memory overheads; new Node Editor; Grease Pencil is handy for quick markups; new Paint Effects features; integrated modelling feature set.
Cons: mental ray is still slow compared to V-Ray; 3D Paint tool is poor compared to Cinema 4D’s BodyPaint; custom HumanIK doesn’t support fingers; liquid simulations getting dated; doesn’t support fractions for Imperial measurements; Illustrator support weak; text modelling tool inflexible; modelling t...