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Alias Announces Latest Version of MayaAddressing the needs of next-generation productions (January 31, 2005)
Alias revealed today the latest version of its award-winning Maya software package, focused on meeting the demands of the most challenging next-generation productions. Maya 6.5 is a performance-driven release optimized to meet the needs of games, film, broadcast and digital publishing professionals seeking dramatic performance enhancements while working with massive datasets. By re-architecting the software to boost performance across the package, Alias has prepared Maya to provide the power and reliability to work with the heaviest models, scenes and animation data. Customers on the Maya Platinum Membership Program can download the software today at www.alias.com/maya/support. Maya 6.5 will begin shipping worldwide in February 2005.
"This latest version of Maya proves the dedication of Alias to meet the needs of the game development community," comments Stephen White, programming director, Naughty Dog, Inc. "Maya continues to evolve as a critical tool in our game development process and this version addresses many important current needs as well as features critical to the future of game development." Naughty Dog is widely regarded as one of the most forward-thinking games developers, having produced the highly acclaimed and successful Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter titles with Alias products.
"Maya 6.5 was clearly driven by daily production demands," says Dirk Bialluch, managing director at Lightstorm 3D. "Overall performance has increased drastically and working with Maya feels much more fluid in almost every aspect. With the tight level of integration reached in Maya 6.5, we switched our complete render pipeline to mental ray." Lightstorm3D is a German-based computer graphics firm offering advanced 3D and animation solutions for film, broadcast, computer games, internet and visualization.
Tools for Managing Large Datasets
In response to a massive increase in scene file complexity within the 3D community, Alias has introduced new scene segmentation features to Maya. These enhanced tools give artists more control over scene load times, project collaboration and overall data-handling performance.
Scene segmentation enhancements include new file referencing options such as proxies, reference locking and the ability to save changes back to a reference, as well as enhancements to existing file referencing features.
Additionally, the range of large CAD datasets that can be imported into Maya 6.5 has been expanded through the addition of the new STEP translator that allows efficient importing of files from most major CAD packages. Importing OBJ files on Windows platform is also significantly faster and the FBX plug-in is now included with Maya. The FBX plug-in allows for the exchange of 3D assets and media between a wide variety of applications.
Stunning Performance Improvements
Maya 6.5 is loaded with performance improvements throughout key areas of the software, which assists artists in dealing more effectively with their large scenes and datasets. New with Maya 6.5 is mental ray for Maya Satellite, and a host of new features (including rapid scan-line rendering) that stem from the integration of a new mental ray 3.4 core.
Modeling - Many polygon and UV texturing operations in Maya are now orders of magnitude faster, helping artists achieve their desired look with much greater efficiency. A series of enhancements have also been made to the polygon bevel tool.
Animation, Character Setup and Deformers - Toolsets have all been optimized, resulting in a more efficient workflow for character animators. Wrap deformer setup is many times faster in Maya 6.5 as are cluster deformation and sculpt tool deformations. Optimizations to the soft modification feature permits animators to quickly manipulate many vertices at a high-level - an ideal workflow accelerator for those working with dense datasets. Animators can now get better results when copying smooth skin weights between models with differing topologies and take advantage of the new ability to bind to non-joint objects and maintain max skin influence.
Large Address Awareness - Maya artists using the Windows XP platform can now take advantage of up to 2.6 GB of memory for Maya.
Rendering - Alias is introducing a new network rendering option that supplements the mental ray rendering capabilities within Maya 6.5 by taking advantage of the processing power of other networked computers. This allows artists to achieve faster rendering results including Interactive Photorealistic Rendering (IPR), improved interactive and batch rendering performance and faster pre-lighting of both textures and vertices. The mental ray for Maya Satellite feature comes free with Maya Complete (2 CPUs) and Maya Unlimited (8 CPUs) and is available for the Windows, Linux and Mac OS X platforms.
Addressing Customers' Highly Requested Features
Along with providing performance enhancements across the software, Alias has also addressed other highly requested features from the global Maya customer base. Areas of improvement include, Maya Cloth, Maya Hair, Maya Fur, Maya Fluid Effects, Maya Embedded Language (MEL), API, Plug-ins, Devkit and the embedded web browser. For full Maya 6.5 details, please visit www.alias.com.
New Platinum and Silver Membership Services Launch with Maya 6.5
Along with the numerous benefits of being part of the Platinum and Silver Membership Programs, Alias is launching additional new services for those members.
New Platinum services include: improved interactive online case management with automated bug reporting and 'super user' access; expanded hours for hotline support and improved response and resolution times; and until June 2005 members can take advantage of one hour of personal training via phone call with an Alias expert support engineer.
New Silver Membership services include: new textures and shaders database, selected Learning Tools at no charge and Alias weblogs by industry leaders and Alias product specialists who discuss how they create work using Alias software.
Pricing and Availability
The pricing of Maya remains unchanged from Maya 6 - Maya Complete 6.5 is $1999 and Maya Unlimited is $6999. Upgrade pricing is $899 for Maya Complete and $1249 for Maya Unlimited. Both Maya Complete and Unlimited are available on the Windows, IRIX, Linux and Mac OS X platforms.
mental ray 3.4 is offered from Alias as a stand-alone renderer and will be available to those customers on Alias' mental ray maintenance program on February 8, 2005. mental ray 3.4 will begin shipping to new customers February 28, 2005.
As the world's leading innovator of 3D graphics technology, Alias develops award-winning software, custom development, and training solutions for the film and video, games, web, interactive media, automotive, industrial design, education, and visualization markets. On March 1, 2003, for the awards year 2002, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Alias|Wavefront(tm) an OscarŽ for scientific and technical achievement for the development of MayaŽ software, the professional 3D animation and effects package. Alias offers a powerful range of services for new to advanced users in the most demanding environments; Learning Tools and training, support, and professional services help meet rigorous production deadlines.
Entertainment customers include: CNN, Digital Domain, Disney, Electronic Arts, Industrial Light & Magic, Factor 5 LLC, Midway Games, Nintendo, Pacific Data Images (PDI)/DreamWorks SKG, Pixar, Sega, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Square Enix Co., Ltd., Warner Feature Animation and Weta Ltd. Design customers include AT&T, BMW, Boeing, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Italdesign, Kodak, Kwikset, Mattel, Price Pfister, Renault, Rollerblade, Sharp, Trek Bicycle, Teague and Timex.
Alias is headquartered in Toronto with a Custom Development Center in Santa Barbara and offices worldwide. Please visit the Alias website at http://www.alias.com or call 1-800-447-2542 in North America. International contact numbers include: Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa, +44 (0) 1494 441273; Germany, East & Southeast Europe, 0049 89 31 70 20; France, Spain and Portugal, +33 1 44 92 81 60; Italy, 39 039 6340011; Japan and other parts of Asia Pacific, 81 3 5797 3500 and Latin America, 770 393 1881.
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