Alias Wavefront is rolling Maya 4 out to consumers, its sixth major release of its professional 3D animation and visual effects software. This major new release has numerous enhancements and optimizations in the areas of rendering, character animation, brush and paint tools, and games related functionality, such as per pixel shading.
Maya 4 has several improvements regarding its ease of use, with several improvements in workflow and workspace layout, with an improved hypershade, pre-render optimization and automatic alpha for transparency on file and layered textures. The new rendering optimizations can show up to 20% performance increases on recent Pentium 4 processors.
Animation has improvements as well, with new enhancements to the trax non-linear motion editing technology and new character animation features such as quaternion-based IK, motion trails and ghosting along with a powerful new jiggle deformer. Maya 4 also has improvements to its Maya Artisan, and Maya Paint Effects technology and Alias Wavefront's true 3D paint technology has now been incorporated into Maya and integrated with Maya Paint Effects so that any Paint Effects brush can be used for 3D Paint.
Maya 4 is shipping for the IRIX and Windows NT platforms with early access for the Linux version in July 2001. Maya Complete 4 is priced at $7,500 and includes modeling, rendering, animation, dynamics, Maya Artisan, Maya Paint Effects and MEL, an open interface for programming and scripting. Maya Unlimited 4 is $16,000 and includes Maya Fur, Maya Cloth and Advanced Modeling features. Maya Builder 4 is priced at $2,995 and includes polygon modeling, texturing and animation capabilities for level editors, games tool programmers, and web applications.