Alias Announces Maya 7, MotionBuilder 7

Alias Maya version 7, its 3D modeling and animation software, and MotionBuilder version 7. Both updates are expected to begin shipping this month, the company said.

Maya version 7 features a redesigned render layers function which lets multiple versions of objects, including materials, lights and cameras and post processes like Maya Fur and Paint Effects, be managed in a single scene file. Other new features include improved improved tools for fast, realistic character animation, streamlined modeling and texturing, ground-breaking visual effects, and increased productivity.

Alias said that version 7 is a complete re-design of the Maya render layers functionality, and will ship this month at a retial price of US$1,999.

MotionBuilder is now integrated into Maya, to make rigging and posing characters simpler, as do paintable Blend Shapes and Wire deformers. Maya 7 now also supports collaborative, parallel workflows through its ability to iteratively substitute geometry and allow modelers, animators and technical directors to work on the same character simultaneously in a non-destructive way that maximizes productivity.

Maya 7 adds Renderman-compatible variable creasing on subdivided polygon meshes.A new Toon Shader supports non-realistic rendering styles and lets you control line style, placement and width and view interactive previews in near real-time. Maya Hair can now be transplanted from one character to another, Maya Fur is now integrated with Mayas dynamic curve technology, and Maya Fluid Effects adds a High Detail solve mode to increase the realistic effects it can produce.

Look for Maya 7 Complete in August for $1,999 with Maya Unlimited 7 costing $6,999. Upgrades from Maya 6.5 cost $899 for Maya Complete and $1,249 for Maya Unlimited.

MotionBuilder version 7 adds new character extensions and visual feedback on rigs to give animators better control over the setup of their characters. Users can now pose or key a character simultaneously, along with all attached extensions. And new visual feedback offers cues that highlight keying, manipulation modes and rig selection. New character manipulation enhancements let you sync characters and their controls, as well.

New save and load character animation features let users transfer and repurpose animation clips with any character. MotionBuilder 7 also has a new Save Reminder and incremental versioning support. New controls let users save and transfer animated character setups between MotionBuilder and Maya.

MotionBuilder 7 retails for $4,195 for a node-locked version and $4,795 for a floating license.