Summary: Those starting from scratch with this complex suite of tools will face a steep learning curve, so a printed manual or learning reference would be a welcome addition for the price. However, the online help does seem more detailed with this version.
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
Summary: The new features make Maya an even more rounded and productive tool. The Nucleus framework continues to provide the wow factor – so it’s a pity it’s not available for everyone. As before, there are two versions of the software: Maya Complete and the more comprehensive Maya Unlimited (at more than twice the price), but only the latter has access to Nucleus, Fluid Effects, Hair, Fur and Maya Live.
Pros: Animation layers; nParticles and enhancements to nCloth; Soft Selection and other modelling enhancements; improved UV workflow
Cons: Nucleus, Fluid Effects and so on only available in the much pricier Unlimited version; no 64-bit Mac version
Debuting in Maya 2011 is the Camera Sequencer which manages multiple camera shots in an animation sequence.
Good Gear Guide.au
27 February 2011
Summary: 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. Performance and computing boosts aside, much of what’s new in Maya 2011 focuses on its traditional strengths: character animation and dynamics.
Pros: 64-bit support Mac for Mac OS X, improved performance and productivity, enhanced character animation, new Camera Sequencer, updated dynamics
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. That can be a good enough reason to upgrade if those headline-grabbing new features aren’t compelling enough.
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 tools are better in both Max and SoftImage.
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. Inserting an edge loop on a curved surface doesn’t automatically flow with the curve like it does in 3ds Max and Softimage for example.
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: 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 Vista Business. Windows XP Professional x64, Vista and the two flavours of Linux are additionally supported by Maya 2008 64-bit.
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.