Alias/Wavefront announced a free version of Maya, called Maya Personal Learning Edition, designed for students and individuals interested in learning the product. The product, which will be available in February, is a free seat of Maya Complete for non-commercial use. There is an annual, renewable registration, and users will have full access to the Maya Complete toolset.
What's the catch? The Maya Personal Learning Edition restricts users to non-commercial applications by displaying a watermark on the images it generates, as well as by using a special non-commercial file format. Moreover, Maya Personal Learning Edition cannot be used with industry-standard plug-ins.
Alias/Wavefront will also create a web-based user center. complete with learning materials, discussion forums, and content exchanges where users can share work and galleries for showing users' projects.
Maya Personal Learning Edition will be available for free download beginning in February at http://www.aliaswavefront.com/freemaya
. CD copies can be ordered for $5 plus shipping and handling.