Maya® 3D animation, modeling, simulation, rendering, and compositing software offers a comprehensive creative feature set on a highly extensible production platform. Maya provides high-end character and effects toolsets along with increased productivity for modeling, texturing, and shader creation tasks.
New Features in Maya 2017
Dynamics & effects
3D rendering & shading
New Features in Maya 2016
Dynamics & effects
Adaptive foam in Bifrost
Add froth, foam, and bubbles (“whitewater”) to liquid simulations, creating even more realism and detail in scenes with oceans, beaches, lakes, and stormy seas. Create high-resolution simulations close to the camera, where detail is essential, while lowering the computation of foam particles in other areas. The result: shorter simulation times.
Faster, easier-to-use XGen
An all-new presets workflow enables you to quickly share looks between meshes by applying premade grass or hairstyles to the meshes for an improved starting point. The XGen library now includes presets previously included for Maya Fur, and allows you to build a library of descriptions with custom thumbnails. So you don't have to rebuild them from scratch every time.
Guided simulation in Bifrost
Drive the behavior of liquids using a cached simulation or an animated mesh object. With a guided simulation, use a full-depth, low-resolution simulation to guide a high-resolution simulation on the liquid's surface. Use guided simulation for carefully art-directed hero waves and similar effects. You can perform multiple iterations at high resolution while retaining the basic look and motion of the underlying guiding simulation.
Adaptive Aero solver in Bifrost
Create atmospheric effects such as smoke and mist. Aero produces simulations of higher detail and greater physical accuracy than Maya Fluid Effects. As with guided simulation, low resolution aero solves can drive higher resolution detail. The added benefit of adaptivity means that you can define regions of high resolution within a massively large computational domain.
Parallel rig evaluation
Increase the speed of character rig playback and manipulation. This new, multithreaded system distributes computation amongst existing cores and graphics processors in your computer. A new GPU-based mechanism performs deformations on your graphics hardware within Viewport 2.0. Create customized GPU-accelerated deformers with the provided APIs, and understand and target bottlenecks in scenes and plug-ins with the integrated performance profiler.
Delta Mush deformer
Smooth deformation to help guide the final result closer to the original geometry. Use Delta Mush in many different workflows, such as paint-free skinning, smoothing of coarse simulation results, and shot post corrections. A popular user request.
AVAILABLE WITH EXTENSION 1
Create branding, flying logos, title sequences, and other projects that require text with 3D Type. Use this tool to create easily editable, nondestructive, multiline, deformable type.
Improved vector graphics workflow
AVAILABLE WITH EXTENSION 1
Import or copy and paste SVG files into Maya, enabling interoperability with vector-based 2D design applications with enhanced SVG support in Maya 2016 Extension 1.
New sculpting toolset
Sculpt and shape models more artistically and intuitively. The new sculpting toolset represents a huge upgrade over previous editions. The new sculpting tools offer more detail and resolution. The brushes feature Volume and Surface falloff, stamp images, sculpting UVs, and support for vector displacement stamps.
Enhanced game engine workflows
AVAILABLE WITH EXTENSION 1
Move from Maya to game engines such as Unity, Unreal, or Autodesk Stingray with simplified and streamlined game exporter workflows.
3D rendering & imaging
Additional look development shading nodes
AVAILABLE WITH EXTENSION 1
Create sophisticated looks easily with new procedural texture and image processing nodes in the Hypershade. Fully procedural textures make shading complex scenes easier, with less reliance on file texturing and more opportunity to build flexible shading solutions.
Enhanced look development workflow
We've made building and editing materials in the Hypershade more artist-friendly and intuitive, with simpler workflows and a revamped user interface. A rebuilt node-editing interface makes it easier to connect, arrange, and work with shading components. New workflows enable you to visualize and diagnose complex shading graphs. Customize your UI for the way you work; new layout tabs allow you to work with shading graphs in a far more organized way.
Preserve creative intent throughout lighting and rendering workflows with a sophisticated color management system. Use the simple linear workflow provided out of the box, or customize the system to suit your color pipeline. Image handling is consistent and color-safe across The Foundry's NUKE software, Photoshop, Autodesk Creative Finishing solutions, and other applications.
Dynamics & effects
Bifrost Procedural Effects Platform
Create photorealistic, dynamic simulation and rendering of liquids.
- Developed from Naiad technology, fully integrated into Maya, and refined for ease-of-use.
- Preview results in the Viewport 2.0 hardware-accelerated display, and render them in the NVIDIA mental ray renderer.
- Choose whether to mesh liquids with a new particle surfacer, or render voxels directly.
- Export particles, voxels, and meshes to a native file format, as well as to selected industry-standard file formats.
XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator
Generate curves, spheres, and custom geometry on the surface of polygon meshes to create fur, feathers, foliage, and more.
- Create and groom hair, fur, and feathers on characters.
- Populate large landscapes with grass, foliage, trees, rocks, and debris trails.
- Handle large amounts of instanced data that would slow down a system if loaded in memory.
- Preview the rendered effect interactively in Viewport 2.0.
- Control the appearance and behavior of primitives by setting attributes, painting maps, creating expressions, or using the included XGroom interactive grooming toolset.
- Control long hair by creating guide hairs.
Create large-scale, highly realistic dynamic and kinematic simulations with the enhanced open-source Bullet plug-in delivered in conjunction with AMD.
- Simulate both soft and rigid bodies in a single system.
- Take advantage of continuous 3D collision detection.
- Create compound collision shapes from multiple meshes.
- Produce better collisions with concave shapes.
- Integrates with Maya Forces.
- Supports rigid sets for increased scalability.
Create highly realistic hair and other curve-based dynamics.
- Render complex simulations with multiple dynamic entities all working together.
- Use a common system of fields, forces, and constraints for all Nucleus modules.
Simulate a wide range of complex 3D dynamic effects.
- Render smoke, spray, and dust.
- Create pouring and sloshing liquids.
- Use self-collisions to enable nParticles to accumulate within volumes.
- Map shading attributes, such as radius, color, opacity, and incandescence over time (or over age, radius, speed).
- Gain control by using flexible nConstraints without the need to write complex expressions.
- Use geometry instancing to replace particles with objects.
- Bidirectional interaction with Maya nCloth and Maya nHair.
Create realistic clothing and other deformable materials using an integrated toolset.
- Convert a polygon mesh model into an nCloth object.
- Paint cloth attributes such as bend, stretch, shear, and dent.
- Make 3D objects stiff, viscous, or flowing.
- Use topology-independent constraints to attach buttons, tear cloth, and control movement.
- Simulate cloth-on-cloth, such as a shirt over pants.
- Use self-collisions to help achieve highly realistic results without self-interpenetration errors.
- Blend multiple cached simulations to help achieve complex effects.
- Bidirectional interaction with Maya nParticles and Maya nHair.
Maya Fluid Effects
Simulate and render highly realistic atmospheric, explosive, viscous liquid, and open water effects.
- Select from presets for clouds, smoke, snow, steam, fog, and nuclear explosions.
- Use 2D fluids to help create distinctive animated textures.
- Integrates with other parts of Maya: for example, a fluid that acts as a force on particles.
Rigid and soft-body dynamics
Create convincing simulations of multiple rigid and flexible objects.
- Connect rigid-body objects with constraints: Nail, Hinge, Barrier, Pin, and Spring.
- Use soft-body objects to help create secondary motion effects with paintable goal-weights.
- Simulate the motion of natural forces with dynamic fields.
Create realistic fur, short hair, wool, and grass.
- Multiple fur type presets.
- Multiple fur types per surface.
- Clumping controls for natural looks such as wet, matted, or dirty fur.
- Attractor system for keyframed or dynamic fur motion.
Geodesic Voxel Binding
Produce high-quality, production-ready bound characters in less time, with an innovative new skinning method.
- Quickly bind complex geometry to skeletons.
- Handle non-watertight geometry, and meshes with non-manifold or overlapping components.
- Resulting weights are compatible with existing skinning methods in Maya and suitable for use in game engines.
General animation tools
Get specialized 3D animation tools for keyframe, procedural, and scripted animation.
- Nondestructive animation layering system that works with attributes.
- Comprehensive assortment of generalized constraints.
- Set Driven Key tool to keyframe complex relationships between animated parameters.
- Graph and Dopesheet Editors to control how animated attributes change over time.
- Deformers for static modeling or animation.
- Editable motion trails to fine-tune motion animation in the viewport.
- Grease Pencil for blocking out and marking up animation directly in the 3D scene.
Create, skin, rig, and pose believable characters with realistic deformations in less time with Maya 3D animation software.
- Full-body inverse kinematic rigging with Human IK solver.
- Built-in Spline IK, Spring IK, and single chain and lightweight 2-bone solvers.
- IK system for natural articulation of biped and quadruped models.
- Nondestructive live retargeting workflow to work with motion capture and other animation data.
- Maya Muscle advanced deformation tools for realistic or highly stylized muscle and skin motion.
- Nondestructive workflow to help manipulate joints on a bound skeleton.
Reuse, recycle, and adapt existing characters and animation to save time.
- Substitute Geometry tool for transfer of skinning information between models.
- Ability to transfer animation between characters via the ATOM (Animation Transfer Object Model) offline file format.
- Trax Nonlinear Animation Editor for nondestructive editing of poses and animation clips.
Accelerate previsualization and virtual moviemaking production.
- Lay out multiple camera shots in a single animation sequence.
- Start laying out shots in Maya, or import an EDL in FCP or AAF formats from editorial with associated movie, audio, and time code information.
- Use the Sequencer Playlist to reorder clips, edit In and Out points, and change camera assignments.
- Use Playblast to review the sequence before optionally reexporting an EDL to editorial for refinement.
Streamlined retopology toolset
More easily optimize meshes for cleaner deformations and better performance.
- The Quad Draw tool integrates a Relax and Tweak feature with Soft Selection, and an interactive Edge Extend tool.
- Optimize meshes for cleaner deformations and better performance.
Enjoy more reliable and faster polygon modeling with better Booleans, enhanced beveling, and deeper integration of the Modeling Toolkit.
- Get an efficient library for faster and more reliable Boolean operations on polygon geometry.
- Produce better bevels with an extended Bevel tool.
- Streamline polygon modeling workflows with a more deeply integrated Modeling Toolkit.
Get faster draw performance, displacement map visualization, and RenderMan matching for subdivision surfaces with support for OpenSubdiv libraries.
- Open-sourced by Pixar and incorporating technology from Microsoft Research.
- Use both parallel CPU and GPU architectures for faster draw performance when deforming.
- Enable interactive visualization of displacement maps without the need to render.
- Closely match subdivision surfaces generated in Pixar's RenderMan renderer.
Quickly create and edit complex UV meshes, and get faster results when working with tiled texture sequences.
- Multithreaded unfolding algorithm for faster and easier high-quality results.
- Ability to quickly toggle checkerboard and compression shaders to help visualize UV distribution.
- New selection workflows for increased productivity.
- Support for loading, visualizing, and rendering UDIM and UV tagged texture sequences, for a more streamlined workflow with Mudbox 3D digital sculpting and texture painting software and certain other applications.
Polygon and subdivision mesh modeling
Use a production-proven and intuitive 3D character modeling and environment modeling toolset for creating and editing polygon meshes.
- Integrated modeling feature set built on technology from the NEX toolset from dRaster.
- Bridge, Poke, Cut, Wedge, Bevel, Extrude, Quad Draw, and Chamfer Vertex tools, and more.
- Ability to preview or render smoothly subdivided meshes while editing a lower-resolution proxy or cage.
- True soft selection, preselection highlighting, and camera-based selection culling.
- Polygon reduction, data cleanup, blind data tagging, and level-of-detail tools for scene optimization.
- Ability to transfer UV, color-per-vertex, and vertex position information between polygon meshes of differing topologies.
- Topology-based symmetry tools for working on posed meshes.
Get two methods for creating mathematically smooth surfaces using relatively few control vertices: NURBS and hierarchical subdivision surfaces.
- Different levels of detail in different regions of subdivision surfaces. Add complexity only where needed.
- NURBS surfaces can be attached, detached, aligned, stitched together, extended, filleted, or rebuilt with a high degree of control over parameterization and continuity.
- Convert NURBS and subdivision surfaces to polygon meshes, and vice versa.
- Precise spline-based curve and surface construction tools.
UVs, normals, and color-per-vertex
Create and edit UVs, normals, and color-per-vertex data. Extra data is required for software, interactive, or in-game 3D rendering.
- Streamlined workflow for creative texturing.
- Multiple UV sets that support separate texture coordinates for separate texture channels.
- With per-instance UV sets, you can use a single mesh to represent multiple objects, helping reduce scene overhead.
- Multiple sets of animatable color-per-vertex (CPV), prelighting, user-defined normals, and normal map generation suitable for game design.
Scripting and API
Create Maya scripts and write plug-ins to increase efficiency, customize features, and differentiate your work.
- Choose from Maya Embedded Language (MEL) or Python* scripting language.
- Write Maya plug-ins and stand-alone applications that run from the Maya command line in C++, Python, or .NET languages.
- Develop new types of Maya objects: file translators, hardware shaders, and surface shapes.
- Create interface components for proprietary tools with Qt Designer or Pyside and load them directly into Maya.
*Python is a registered trademark of Python Software Foundation.
2D and 3D integration
Take advantage of streamlined workflows for 2D paint, vector, editorial, and certain compositing applications.
- Use Render Layers to help manage multiple passes within a single scene and export to your compositor of choice, or as Adobe Photoshop (PSD) or Flash (SWFT) software output.
- Generate and update a compositing tree based on the render layers in the scene.
- Import an EDL in Apple Final Cut Pro application program, XML, or AAF formats; change shot timings in the Camera Sequencer; and reexport.
- Create and edit bevels in Adobe Illustrator software files while maintaining the ability to update the original.
Data and scene management tools
Efficiently manage large data sets with specialized tools and workflows.
- View and edit node relationships with the powerful dependency graph architecture.
- Segment scenes using assets and file referencing to help manage workflows, and to improve performance by offloading scene elements until needed.
- Group nodes into containers and create custom and user-specific views.
- Extensively modify modeled data without rebuilding
- Replace scene elements with a simple, low-resolution mesh, and load pretranslated data only when required for rendering using the mental ray* Render Proxy.
- Read and write the Alembic open source computer graphics interchange framework format to distill complex animated and simulated data into application-independent baked geometry.
*mental ray is a registered trademark of NVIDIA ARC GmbH licensed for use by Autodesk, Inc.
Scene Assembly tools for smarter data
Create large, complex worlds more easily.
- Manage production assets as discrete elements.
- Easily swap between different representations, such as varying levels of detail.
- Apply, animate, or query edits at different levels in the scene assembly hierarchy.
- Track overrides on assemblies via an improved Edits system.
- Use the API to customize the toolset to create proprietary solutions.
Advanced file path handling
Quickly diagnose and fix broken file paths with a File Path Editor, and work with nonlocal data with URI support.
- The File Path Editor UI lists nodes that use external files: textures, image planes, references, and audio files.
- When a file path is broken, quickly relocate the file—or search recursively within a directory structure.
- Set paths to nonexistent files for handoff to another user who may have a different directory structure.
- Access files on nonstandard file paths with URI support.
- Use the API (application programming interface) to teach Maya about URI schemes required.
3D rendering & imaging
- Create shader networks by connecting different nodes together using a click-drag workflow.
- Select floating-point values, mathematical operations, texture maps, normal maps, and color nodes.
- Visualize materials in real time.
- Drill down into the inner workings of each basic node.
Ptex support in mental ray
Render Ptex texture files in mental ray for Maya.
Eliminate the need to create and assign UVs to meshes by creating Ptex files in Mudbox 2015 3D digital sculpting and texture painting software or certain other texture painting applications and rendering them in mental ray for Maya.
Get a choice of integrated renderers in addition to the native Maya software renderer.
- Integrated mental ray for Maya, with advanced photorealistic features.
- Five licenses of mental ray for Maya Batch* and 8 licenses of mental ray for Maya Satellite.
- A vector renderer, to turn 3D content into 2D content for the web or print, with output to Flash and Illustrator.
- A hardware renderer, to generate high-quality images faster.
- Ability to override the viewport with certain third-party or proprietary renderers.
*Feature available only with network license.
Painting in Maya
Use intuitive brush-based tools.
- Create realistic natural detail and painterly effects.
- Select, edit, and blend between 500 editable, pressure-sensitive, preset brushes.
- Use built-in animation to simulate effects like plants growing.
- Control how Paint Effects strokes react with surfaces, volumes, and each other.
- Draw fully rendered strokes during interactive painting and get immediate feedback.
- Paint textures directly on surfaces.
- Sculpt geometry, paint weight maps, comb fur, and apply custom scripts over a surface.
- Control how Paint Effects strokes react with surfaces, volumes, and each other.
Transform 3D scenes into compelling cartoon animations rendered with nonphotorealistic styles.
- Mimic hand-drawn, traditional cartoon, comic book, and Japanese manga/anime looks.
- Work in 3D to create complex transitions, camera moves, and simulated effects.
- Create outlines with painterly effects and precise control over line style, placement, and width.
- View interactive previews in real time.
- Render results in mental ray for Maya or Maya software or hardware renderers.
Next-gen viewport display and shading (enhanced)
Work in a higher fidelity high-performance interactive environment to edit assets and images in less time.
- Viewport 2.0 supports additional effects, rendering, and texturing features such as particles, Maya nHair, Maya nCloth, and more.
- Interactively preview output from the XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator and the Bifrost Procedural Effects Platform.
- Get powerful DirectX 11 software with the Maya DX11Shader* for real-time shader effects.
*DX11Shader is available only on the Windows 64-bit operating system.
Rendering, shading, and camera features
Take advantage of 3D shading, rendering, and camera features.
- Work with a flexible stereo camera rig that features in-viewport stereo viewing.
- Iterate faster with the multithreaded Interactive Photorealistic Renderer (IPR).
- Intuitively create, edit, and organize 3D shading networks with advanced node-based editors.
- Create and edit node-based representations of render passes directly in Maya.
- Transfer normal, displacement, diffuse, shaded, ambient occlusion, and custom mental ray shader information between models.
- Use a library of 80 Substance procedural textures.
Get the benefit of a fully featured, high-performance, high dynamic range (HDR)-capable compositor.
- Collaborate effectively with stakeholders in nonlinear workflows.
- Enhance rendered passes from Maya and incorporate them into live-action footage.
- Interact smoothly with visual media regardless of bit depth or image size.
- Take advantage of advanced tools for keying, color correction, camera mapping, and more.
- Perform complex rotoscoping workflows with both raster and vector paint and integrated tracking.
- Work in a full 3D compositing environment that incorporates tools for stereoscopic productions.
Professional camera tracking*
Extract accurate 3D camera and motion data from live-action sequences and insert CG elements into a scene using MatchMover software.
- Use advanced automatic 3D tracking with Push-Button Matchmoving.
- Create a 3D reference system for your camera and 3D content with manual controls.
- Filter and fine-tune tracking parameters, track from multiple footage and stills, track moving objects.
Specifications & Licensing
System requirements for Autodesk Maya
Autodesk Maya software is supported on the following 64-bit operating systems and at a minimum, requires a system with the following 64-bit hardware:
|Browser||Autodesk recommends the latest version of the following web browsers for access to online supplemental content:
|CPU||64-bit Intel® or AMD® multi-core processor|
|Graphics Hardware||Refer to the Recommended Hardware wizard for a detailed list of recommended systems and graphics cards|
|RAM||4 GB of RAM (8GB recommended)|
|Disk Space||4GB of free disk space for install|
|Pointing Device||Three-button mouse|
Maya is available as either standalone (node-locked) or network (floating) licenses. Licenses can be perpetual or termed rentals (desktop subscription)
Upgrades / Support
Autodesk offers the following Upgrades and Support options:
- Software upgrades
- Exclusive updates
- Access to training and learning materials
- Entitlement to use in previous versions
- Home-Use licensing
- Enhanced license management tools
Maintenance Subscription / Gold Support
- Includes all of the Subscription benefits above, plus
- Unlimited Phone and Web Support
- Access to SDK and API Support
- Defect Tracking
- Upgrade from Standalone to Network Licenses
- Upgrade to Maya Entertainment Suite
- Upgrade to Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate
RFX is available for all your support needs.
- Autodesk provides initial installation support upon purchase
- Unlimited Phone and Web Support available with Subscription / Gold Support (see above)
Enhance your Maya pipeline with the following products:
- Autodesk MotionBuilder
- Autodesk Mudbox
- Autodesk Maya Entertainment Creation Suite: Maya + MotionBuilder + Mudbox
- Autodesk Maya Entertainment Creation Suite Premium: Maya + MotionBuilder + Mudbox + Softimage
- Blast Code Megaton / Kiloton
- Chaos Group Vray for Maya
- Cebas finalRender Stage -2
- Craft Animation Director Studio
- Joe Alter Shave and Haircut
- e-on Vue xStream / Infinite / Ozone
- Massive Software Prime / Jet
- Maxon BodyPaint 3D
- Next Limit RealFlow
- Next Limit Maxwell Studio
- Pixologic Zbrush
- Syflex Cloth Simulator
Training / Resources
Go to Autodesk Subscription site for updates, downloads, and support inquiries
Go to Area for Maya tutorials, tips, downloads and forums.
Go to LAMRUG.org for rendering with mental ray® for Maya training and resources (Los Angeles Mental Ray User Group).