Autodesk Maya 2012 Announced. What's New?

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Autodesk MayaAutodesk officially announced new version of Maya — Maya 2012. Products of 2012 line have release date set to April ( rumors says 8th ), and while we waiting for it — I propose to take a look on what's new will be in Maya 2012. New version, as expected, introduces a couple of new features and enhancements of tools, including those that first was introduced in Maya 2011, and some of them are really exciting ( enhanced Viewport 2.0, for example ).

Autodesk Maya 2012 New Features

  • Enhanced Viewport 2.0 — high performance renderer for viewport window that allows to work in complex scenes with high FPS value. First appeared in Maya 2011, in Maya 2012 Viewport 2.0 was significantly improved. Now it supports full-screen effects, such as Antialiasing, Motion Blur, Gamma Correction, Depth of Field, Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion. And the most exciting feature: Viewport 2.0 can be used as general Renderer in Maya! Yep, that's it: along with Maya Software, Maya Hardware, mental ray и Maya Vector now you can use new one — Maya Hardware 2.0, which uses all features of Viewport 2.0. With this renderer high-quality pre-viz pictures even in high resolutions can be rendered in few seconds, using your GPU resources. For example, in following video that demonstrates Viewport 2.0 features, 4096px wide picture was rendered in just 3 seconds!

  • Node-Based Render Passes — adds to Maya base functionality of compositing software, allowing to have more controls over rendered image and render passes without need to switch into other application. In general this process is very similar to Shading Networks creation and done inside of Hypershade — it's same nodes, connections, etc.  Nice to have such feature in Maya, watch next video for details.

  • Editable Motion Trails — this feature allows to edit animation right in viewport window, moving keyframes, scaling tangents and more. In overall it's just a part of Graph Editor's functionality that was translated into viewport. With editable motion trails animation editing will be faster, more effective and convenient.

  • Enhanced Sequencer - with this will be possible to change clip order, edit In and Out points, change Camera assignments in new Sequencer Playlist.

  • Substance procedural texture — previously available only in Maya Advantage Subscription Pack, in Maya 2012 Substance procedural textures will become available to all Maya users. Substance is a library of 80 procedural textures, including wood, metal, concrete, asphalt and more, many parameters of which can be controlled and changed "on fly" by user. In other words, this textures are created programmatically, unlike the bitmap textures that can be edited only in graphics editor software such as Photoshop. Procedural textures even can be animated, allowing to create different and unique effects. Also they can be exported to classic bitmap file and used as general texture in game engine, for example.

  • Craft Animation Tools — 4 new camera rigs for creation of realistic, real-world camera movements.
  • Enhanced Graph Editor and HumanIK — added some very interesting new features, including updated Human IK and Characterization Tool ( better watch video below ). HumanIK was unified in MotionBuilder 2012 and Maya 2012 ( previously in Maya it was called FBIK ).

  • New Dynamics simulation options — development of Nucleus dynamic simulation system led to new simulation options in Maya 2012, like liquids simulation in Maya Fluids. Also dynamics and physics plugin Digital Molecular Matter ( DMM ) will be integrated into Maya 2012. DMM allows to simulate different kind of materials and their behavior. Plugin can be used for exporting completed simulations to game engines or used inside of Maya. Maya 2012 also features PhysX plugin for acceleration of some physics simulations by GPU resources, and Nvidia's Apex Clothing technology.

  • Support for Vector Displacement Map — now in mental ray it's possible to use Vector Displacement Maps, created in Mudbox or other applications, for adding geometry details to low-polygonal models with this maps.

So this is the main new features that will be available in Maya 2012. For full announce of Maya read  Maya 2012 announced features on Autodesk's website. I personally will just impatiently wait for April — updated Viewport 2.0 and Maya Hardware 2.0 look really nice for me, and I think game developers will benefit most from it ( Viewport 2.0 supports Normal Maps display in viewport window ).

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About the Author: Sergey “Treidge” Danchenko

AvatarSergey "Treidge" Danchenko is a founder and the author of 3DG.Me blog, 3D Artist and game developer, Drupal web-developer and one-man-band with experience in some other areas. Personal credo — "If you want a thing done well, do it yourself". In times of great inspiration writes poetry and plays volleyball. Primary professional tools — Autodesk Maya & Mudbox, Adobe Photoshop. Wild about turkeys and parrots, loves music and videogames.  Thanks for reading and come again!


At Autodesk Area available more detailed list of What's New in Maya 2012.

Maya 2012 is just released! balloon As expected, it was April, 8th for Autodesk's 2012 line date of release.

Autodesk Maya 2012 Hotfix 1 is out. Gladly they managed to create some kind of patcher instead of need to do complete Maya re-install with new distributive for having Hotfix 1.

Maya 2012 Hotfix 1 includes enhancements to Python scripting with the new Maya Python API 2.0. This new API performs better and faster, offering programmers a more idiomatic experience of Python. The new Python API is similar in structure to the original Python API, making transition easy. To offer the most flexibility, programmers can use both Python APIs in code, respectively, to extend and customize Maya.

In addition, Maya 2012 Hotfix 1 also includes an updated DMM™ (Digital Molecular Matter) plug-in for Maya from Pixelux Entertainment™ that lets you solve up to 2500 tetrahedrals. On Mac OSX and Linux systems, DMM now supports performance improving multithreading. The update also includes the following fixes:
DMM no longer stops unexpectedly on Linux systems.
The DMM shelf item no longer disappears after a Maya session is restored.
Issues with Passive Regions has been fixed on all platforms.

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