Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people
Siggraph is winding down this week and just as it had last year, Autodesk announced new releases of its animation, modeling and rendering software, now called Autodesk Maya 2008 and Autodesk 3ds Max 2008.
Last year saw 64-bit support for Windows and Linux as well as new lighting options, more shaders, and other improved features.?Reading the reports from Siggraph this year regarding the new versions, it sound like big strides have been made. Although what may be even bigger news for CG artists is Autodesk’s acquisition of Skymatter, the maker of Mudbox, a brush-based, 3D-sculpting application used in many visual effects houses. The three creators of Mudbox were at the Autodesk User Group Meeting Monday night at the Marriott Hotel in San Diego to discuss how the deal came about. You can read their press releases here.
Here are some of the highlights of the new versions of Maya and 3ds Max:
Autodesk Maya 2008
New Modeling Tools and Workflows
Improvements and new features for more efficient modeling workflows. As an example, you can now preview a smoothed mesh while editing the mesh cage—with better performance. Other workflow enhancements include the ability to position objects along a curve, replace objects within a scene, and convert instances to objects.
There is also a new Slide Edge feature—as well as enhancements to Booleans, Bevel, Bridge, Reduce, and other tools. Two new selection management features appear in this version: X-Ray selection highlighting and the ability to “pick walk” edge loops.
Other features include: faster, more accurate viewport / hardware rendering, support for DirectX HLSL shaders, nondestructive skin editing, API enhancements, mental ray 3.6 core, and support for Windows Vista.
Maya 2008 will be available in September 2007 and will run on the Windows and Linux operating systems (64-bit and 32-bit versions) as well as Mac OS X for Intel-based Macintosh and PowerPC computers (32-bit version only). Suggested retail pricing is $1,999 for Maya 2008 Complete (standalone) and $6,999 for Maya 2008 Unlimited (standalone). The upgrade price from Maya 8.5 Complete to Maya 2008 Complete is $899, and the upgrade price from Maya 8.5 Unlimited to Maya 2008 Unlimited is $1,249. You can find more info here.
3ds Max 2008
Scene Explorer Scene Management
A new tool dubbed Scene Explorer gives you a hierarchical view of scene data and fast scene analysis, along with editing tools for working with more complex, object-heavy scenes. It gives you the ability to sort, filter, and search a scene by any object type or property (including metadata), with stackable filtering, sorting, and searching criteria. You can save and store instances of scenes and then link or unlink, rename, hide, freeze, and delete objects. You can also configure columns to display and edit any object property; because it’s scriptable, you can use callbacks to add custom column definitions.
Now you can get immediate feedback on various render settings, enabling you to iterate rapidly. Review delivers interactive viewport previews of shadows (including self-shadowing and up to 64 lights simultaneously), the 3ds Max sun/sky system, and mental ray Architectural and Design material settings.
This is a new interface for working with MAXScript and includes multilevel undo functionality; fast, high-quality code colorization; rapid opening of large documents; line number display; regular expressions in search/replace; and folding of sections of the script; support for user customization.
Other features include: artist-friendly modeling options (including selection previewing and the ability to have existing modeling hotkeys and pivots become temporary overrides.), enhanced DWG import, biped enhancements, accelerated performance, and support for Windows Vista.
3ds Max 2008 will be available in October 2007. The suggested retail price is $3,495. The retail price to upgrade from 3ds Max 9 to 3ds Max 2008 is $795. Read more here.