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Maya for Free? All-Rightee

Personal Learning Edition for OS X coming next month By Dave Nagel
At the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Alias|Wavefront announced a new program for its software distribution that could change the way people learn 3D. The company's Maya package, which is a leader in the high-end 3D market, will soon be available for free for Mac OS X and Windows in the form of a Personal Learning Edition.

The approach is unique in the high-end 3D space and certainly new to Alias|Wavefront, whose approach to software licensing has been on a per-seat basis. The new Personal Learning Edition is not a demo or a limited version of Maya (in terms of tools). It's the complete Maya package with three restrictions. First, the output will include a watermark. Second, the files in the PLE can't be imported into the commercial version of Maya because they use a special file format that can't be read by the commercial version. And, third, it does not include plugin support.

But for students of 3D and those looking to evaluate the software for later commercial use, the new PLE program will offer a no-cost way to break in. The licenses themselves are free and renewable on an annual basis. Support will come in the form of a Web-based user center, which will house an information exchange, learning resources and a user gallery.

The Maya Complete PLE should be available in February for free download. A CD version will be available for $5. For more information, visit

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at [email protected].

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