Posted by Cory Mogk, 27 March 2012 8:00 pm
I'm proud to say that we've announced Maya 2013 and all the other cool Autodesk Media and Entertainment products. If you like high level details, please refer to the 2013 Digital Entertainment Creation Software Portfolio announcement. I think the most exciting part of this announcement is that we now have the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate edition available. The Ultimate edition provides Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage, MotionBuilder, Mudbox and SketchBook Designer in one package. To facilitate all these products being together, we've made the following improvements:
Before we get to the Maya 2013 details, I wanted to share a couple of videos of the cool things the other products in the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate edition have added. First let's look at the HumanIK interop support in 3ds Max.
Next up is CrowdFX in Softimage which also has a 1 click workflow with Maya.
And SketchBook Pro Designer, if you haven't seen it, is pretty cool.
Maya 2013 introduces the start of something we're calling Open Data. Open Data is about working with and managing complex data with natural, high performance workflows. Based on some of the comments I've seen already, it's important to note that this is work that we see benefiting all Maya users - not just large studios. It can be some technically challenging stuff and we've tried to approach it in a way that small studios can get access to tools that, in the past, only big studios had access to by developing for themselves.
In the rendering realm, we see a lot of improvements to Viewport 2.0 and mental ray for Maya has been turned into a true plug-in. This update to mental ray makes it easier for the rendering developers at Autodesk and nVidia to talk to each other and improve mental ray in Maya. For other renderers, this improves the hooks that they have into Maya.
We've done a bunch of other things, most notably with Nucleus nHair and Animation - on to the details!
Node Editor: The Node Editor presents an editable schematic of the dependency graph, displaying nodes and the connections between their attributes. It allows you to view, modify and create new node connections.
Alembic Caching: The Alembic file format is an open-source format developed for exchanging complex 3D geometry data. Alembic files are highly portable and application-independent so they can be shared, processed, and played back by many content creation applications. Alembic caches provide several performance improvements, including accelerated scene loading of large scenes, faster playback of complex character animation, and real-time play back of geometry data with topology changes. Alembic files also let you share large scenes between various areas of a production pipeline without the large memory overhead of fully editable scene files.
GPU Cache Node: The GPU Cache node draws the contents of an Alembic file in a light-weight, non-editable form directly on the GPU. This allows you to create more complex scenes in Maya without taking a large performance hit.
Attribute Editor: Now you can customize the Attribute Editor window in several different ways.
Custom Attribute Editor templates: You can edit the way attributes are displayed in the Attribute Editor by creating XML-based template files for specific nodes and node types. A template can have one or more views associated with it. Each view describes a particular display layout and can be used to tailor the interface for different purposes.
Custom callbacks: You can use MEL or Python based callbacks to link an attribute to a control or a complex script. Using the <description language ="cb"> tag in your custom Attribute Editor template lets you specify a callback command and links your callback to an attribute.
Use node type filtering to improve Attribute Editor performance: When making a selection in Maya, having the Attribute Editor open may cause performance delays if too many nodes related to the selection are displayed as tabs. To avoid a slowdown, you can use node type filtering to customize which related nodes are displayed in the Attribute Editor.
Creating attributes using attribute patterns: You can create dynamic or extension attributes using attribute patterns. An attribute pattern is a description of the dynamic or extension attributes that can be added to any specific node, or node type. Using this feature, you no longer need to create each attribute using individual addAttr or addExtension commands.
Editing the file path in the file browser: You can now edit the file path in the Look in field of the file browser and use its auto completion functionality.
File referencing options in the Outliner: A new Reference Node display option in the Outliner makes it easier to locate and identify all the loaded and unloaded file references in your scene. You can access the option in the Outliner by selecting Display > Reference Nodes. The Reference Nodes display option is on by default.
Create and manage file references: New Reference menu items in the Outliner let you create and manage file references without opening the Reference Editor. In the Outliner, click a reference node or referenced object to access file referencing commands.
Allow Referenced Animation Curves to be Edited: You can now edit animation curves from referenced files. These changes are managed by the reference node like other reference edits. You can modify an animation curve, such as changing tangent types or editing keyframes, then export the updates as reference edits to an offline file.
Updated reference node Attribute Editor: An updated reference node Attribute Editor displays information about reference nodes, such as file path, namespace, and sharing details.
Operations on multiple references: Using the file referencing options in the Outliner, you can now perform referencing operations on multiple references including loading, unloading and reloading, importing, locking and unlocking.
Preview unloaded content: A new Preview unloaded content option lets you view the hierarchy of the unloaded references in your scene without loading the reference in the scene.
Archiving unloaded references: An option has been added to scene archiving that lets you include files associated with unloaded references in the scene archive.
Merge into selected namespace: A new Merge into selected namespace option lets you choose to merge referenced or imported object namespaces with a namespace that exists in the parent scene. When duplicate namespaces occur, the namespaces are merged and duplicate object names are
incrementally suffixed with a number. This new option lets you keep duplicate namespaces and avoids an accumulation of new namespaces each time your referenced or imported objects have the same name.
Live character streaming: The options in the new Live Connection window (> Edit > Live Connection or File > Send to MotionBuilder > Live Connection) are an extension of the Send to commands that were introduced in Maya 2012. Now you can send your HumanIK defined character to MotionBuilder and establish a live streaming connection. This new workflow lets you drive your skeleton or Custom rig with motion capture data, so you can previsualize your retargeting result before baking the final animation from MotionBuilder into your Maya scene.
Thanks to Christian Bloch at www.hdrlabs.com for the Tokyo Big Sight environment!
Improved import and export with ATOM file format: You can now share and reuse animation more efficiently using Maya's ATOM (Animation Transfer Object Model). The .atom file type and its associated import/export options let you save specific poses or animation sequences, then easily reload them onto other objects. ATOM options let you set precisely which animation to reuse and how you want to import and export it. After exporting, you can import animation based on the character hierarchy, name matching, or using a template file as a filter.
Trax Clip matching: When manipulating clips of animation in the Trax Editor, new clip matching tools let you define an offset object to better align the movements in your animation sequence.
More easily set relative or absolute clip offsets: Updated clip Offset settings are now included in the Create Clip Options (Animate > Create Clip > ) and in the Trax Editor context-sensitive menu, letting you more easily view and set whether channels have an absolute or relative offset from the previous clip.
Retime animation: In the Graph Editor, the Retime Tool lets you directly adjust the timing of key movements in your animations. This tool provides a new type of timing manipulator in the graph view, letting you shift key moments in time, or warp entire sequences to make them occur faster or slower. For animators working in a pipeline with multiple Autodesk applications, similar animation retiming tools are available.
Converting CAT to HumanIK: The new Send to commands in Maya and 3ds Max let you convert a CAT bipedal character into a Maya compatible HumanIK character. This direct connection lets you transfer your character structure, definition, and animation from 3ds Max into an FK representation on a HumanIK skeleton in Maya. Any changes or new animation that you create in Maya can be updated on your original CAT character, so you can continue to animate in the context of your 3ds Max scene.
Stepped Tangent preview mode: The new Stepped Tangent preview playback mode lets you temporarily set all keys to display with Stepped tangents, switching easily from Spline to Stepped and back. Play your animation in this mode to get a quick view of object positions as they hit each keyframe.
Keyframe and Tangent marking menu updates: The marking menus available for editing keyframes and tangents have been updated to allow manipulation of motion trails, keys, and tangents directly in the scene view.
Camera Sequencer improvements: You can now create an ubercam for camera shots that are keyed with weighted curves. In addition, sequences with gaps between camera shots are now handled correctly.
Improved baking options: New options in the Character ControlsBake menu let you bake animation to a HumanIK skeleton, Control rig, or Custom rig. The Bake menu updates dynamically to display options that reflect the current character's state.
Playblast updated: Maya now supports H.264 Quicktime output on Windows 64-bit. In addition, audio and multi-track audio are supported.
Unified Character Controls: The new Character Controls let you perform multiple character setup tasks in a single window. As you set up your character, the previously independent HumanIK tools appear as tabs in the consolidated Character Controls, simplifying the character set up process. The Skeleton, Definition, Controls, and Custom Rig tabs appear as you select options from the Start pane, Source menu, or Character Controls menu button.
Start pane: Begin the character setup process using the Start pane in the Character Controls window. Whether you are creating a new HumanIK skeleton from scratch, defining an existing skeleton, or adding a Control rig or Custom rig mapping to your character, this pane is designed to guide you through the setup process.
Source management: The new Source menu provides feedback about the type of source driving your character. The Source menu is available in the Character Controls window at all times, regardless of the HumanIK tool that is active.
Custom Rig Mapping: The new Custom Rig tool gives you a visual interface for mapping your non-HumanIK rigs. Designed to streamline the mapping and retargeting process, this tool lets you map and retarget bipedal HumanIK character animation to and from a Custom rigged character. You can define your rig using the familiar click-and-assign workflow. Other controls let you save and load mapping templates and adjust the offsets between a Custom rig and the character's skeleton joints.
Customizable character layout: You can now customize the character layout in the Character Controls to fit your character. The layouts for the Controls and Custom Rig tabs are available as user-editable XML files, located in the new CharacterControls directory. Editing these files lets you create custom layouts. For example, you can replace the background image or change the position, quantity, color, and size of cells.
Improved controls for roll bone behavior: Updated Roll properties for the HumanIK skeleton definition are now available in the Attribute Editor to give you improved control over roll bone behavior as you rotate character limbs. See Define roll bone behavior.
Stance pose on body parts: Now you can force a stance pose ( > Edit > Controls > Stance Pose) on selected body parts. This functionality is useful during pose-to-pose character animation when only specific body parts need to be reset to create a new pose.
Continuous rig align: When manipulating your character in Full Body or Body Part mode, the IK and FK effectors of your character's Control rig now appear synchronized. By default, the IK and FK solutions visually merge to show the final solving of the character's skeleton. This feature replaces the Align Rig After Time Change option.
Heat Map Skin Binding: In the Smooth Bind Options window, the Bind Method options now include a Heat Map method. This method uses a heat diffusion technique to distribute weights, and generally gives better default results than the existing Closest Hierarchy and Closest Distance binding methods. Heat Map binding sets initial weights based on each influence object inside the mesh acting as a heat source, emitting weight values onto the surrounding
mesh. Higher (hotter) weight values occur closest to the object, and dissipate to lower (cooler) values as you move away from the object.
Paint weights for nonlinear deformers: You can now paint weights for the Bend, Flare, Sine, Squash, Twist, and Wave deformers. Select the new Edit Deformer > Paint Nonlinear Weights Tool menu item to use a Maya Artisan brush and paint point weights on your deformed geometry.
Move Weights improvements: When moving weights (using the Move Weights button in the Paint Skin Weights Tool or Skin > Edit Smooth Skin > Move Weights To Influences), the first selected influence now acts as the source influence and all other selected influences act as targets. If an influence is locked in the Paint Skin Weights Tool, it will not receive weights when you move weights from neighboring influences.
Extrude tool improvements: The following improvements have been made to the extrude tool: Allows for more precision with the Thickness, Offset and Divisions values; Uses the same precision settings as the Channel Box. Select Edit > Settings > Change Precision to set; Sliders have been removed so you are no longer limited to a maximum or minimum value; Background color added for improved readability; Respects the use of Ctrl and Shift to adjust the speed of changing the values.
Sculpt Geometry Pinch Tool improvements: The new Brush strength slider lets you achieve more pronounced pinching while sculpting your NURBS and polygon surfaces. The Pinch brush algorithm has been improved to provide smoother results.
nHair: The nHair hair generation system has been added to the Nucleus dynamic simulation framework. As part of a Nucleus system, dynamic nHair curves can self-collide and interact with other Nucleus objects, including nParticle, nCloth, and passive collision objects. nHair has many advantages over the previous hair system including: Performance improvements especially for hair systems with a large number of follicles; Nucleus-based solving for collisions and self-collisions that provide better collision accuracy and control; nConstraints that let you create constraints between Nucleus object components; nCaching for saving and playing back hair simulations.
MayaBullet physics simulation: Maya now includes the MayaBullet physics simulation plug-in. Built from the Bullet physics library, the plugin lets you use the Bullet physics engine to create largescale, highly-realistic dynamic and kinematic simulations. MayaBullet simulations can include interacting soft body and rigid body objects, as well as constrained collision objects, all contained in a single dynamic system within Maya.
Fluid nCaching improvements: The Create Fluid Cache Options window now includes a One file per geometry option, which lets you can select multiple fluid objects in your scene and create individual fluid nCache files for each object.
nParticle: A new Post Cache Ramp Evaluation attribute lets you determine how ramp attribute data is evaluated. When on, the ramp output is re-evaluated using the cached input attribute rather than the cached data. This attribute is off by default.
Particle count heads-up display: A new Particle Count heads-up display option lets you display the total number of particles and the number of selected particles (including nParticles and classic particles).
New Viewport 2.0 features: Viewport 2.0 now supports animation and rigging features such as HumanIK, joints, motion paths, ghosting and playblast. Image plane support is also included as well as a new depth peeling transparency algorithm. In addition, support for several other shaders and tools, and polygons, NURBS and dynamics features have been added. Furthermore, Viewport 2.0 now includes widespread improvements in tumble performance of large scenes
and in animation performance with large or complicated scenes.
New render passes added: Two new multi-render passes have been added: UV pass and world position pass. A UV pass converts UV values to R/G values and creates a rasterized version of UV space. Using a UV pass, you can replace textures in 3D renderings as a post-process without the need to track new textures in place. A world position pass converts position (x,y,z) values to R,G,B values. Use the world position pass for relighting workflows in compositing.
Mandelbrot 2D and 3D texture: The new Mandelbrot node allows you to texture your model with the Mandelbrot set. You can create a 2D version of this node (Mandelbrot), a 3D version of this node (Mandelbrot 3D), or shade a fluidShape node using the built-in Mandelbrot texture. The Mandelbrot set is a set of mathematical points in the complex plane, the boundary of which is an interesting fractal shape. Through this node, you can select the Mandelbrot Set, the Julia set, the Mandelbox set and other hybrid evaluations. Using this node, you can add interesting effects to your Mandelbrot set fractal, such as circles, leaves, points, checker patterns, and Pickover stalks. Choose among different shading methods and customize the range of the color values used to represent your
Mandelbrot set points.
New substance textures and functionality: You can now automatically bake a substance texture to disk to render it with mental ray for Maya, IPR, or other 3rd party renderers. The following new substance textures have also been added: Clouds_2_Animated, Impact_01, Make_It_Tile, metal_plate_009, Plasma_Animated, Space_Ship, Sunshine, Water_Drips, Waves, Windscreen_Glass_01. The new Make_It_Tile substance texture allows you to easily and seamlessly tile a file texture.
New callbacks command added: The new callbacks command allows you to extend the Maya UI with your own components. Use this command to add your own callbacks to standard Maya hooks without the need to overwrite Maya MEL files. Currently, Maya hooks are provided for the Hypershade, the Create Render Node dialog, and Attribute Editor templates.
Free image planes: You can now create a free image plane. A free image plane is an image plane that is not attached to the camera; one that you can select and transform in your scene. Select Create > Free Image Plane to create one.
mental ray rendering support for GPU cached Alembic files: mental ray supports the rendering of GPU cached Alembic files, including baked diffuse
color information if the GPU cache was used to create the Alembic file.
New mental ray BSDF shaders: Built in BSDF (bidirectional scattering distribution function) shaders from NVIDIA mental images are now exposed in Maya. You can find them by selecting Window > Rendering Editors > Hypershade > mental ray > Materials. For more information about these shaders, please see the mental ray shader documentation.
mental ray version 3.10: Maya now uses mental ray version 3.10.
Module support for plug-ins: You can now easily create a distributable deployment of your plug-in. The site administrator can setup a plug-in as a folder on a network, along with a module description file. Each user's machine should point to the module description file through the MAYA_MODULE_PATH environment variable. This way, making changes to the plug-in is simple even across multiple Maya versions and platforms. Multiple versions of a plug-in are now supported, where the version used is determined by a combination of the current operating system, the version of Maya, and the language setting (locale). The details of the new module file syntax are outlined in the following section.
Send to 3ds Max: You can send various forms of data, including geometry, animation, materials, and textures, to 3ds Max. You must have matching versions of Maya 2013, 3ds Max 2013 and FBX 2013 to use this command.
Live Update Service: Check for updates including Service Packs and Hotfixes using the new Autodesk Maya Update Manager.
Improved search in the Maya Help: The Maya Help now includes an improved search that queries a wider variety of sources with greater efficiency than ever before. Matches from the Maya Help documentation and other websites, like the Autodesk YouTube channels and forums, are included in your search results. Each match includes an excerpt of text, the name of its source, and the date it was last updated, so you can quickly navigate your results. Note If you search with the locally installed Help, you do not get results from online sources.
Updated Navigation Buttons: Clicking the new Share button lets you send a link to the currently viewed topic. This button launches your default email application and places the link in the body of a new email message.
You can now select the QuickTime movie (.mov) file format as a Render output for your Composite projects.
Autodesk MatchMover now includes Python scripting support. Use MatchMover's Script Editor and Script Manager to create and load scripts that process input and output data as well as launch interface commands.
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