Announcing Maya 2013

Posted by Cory Mogk, 27 March 2012 8:00 pm

Maya 2013 has been Announced!

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:

  • Live streaming between Maya and MotionBuilder
  • More consistent hotkeys
  • Consistent animation curve editors
  • HumanIK and CAT interop with a 1 click workflow to Maya and MotionBuilder

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.

What's New in Maya 2013?

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!

Workflow Updates

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 Updates

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.

Animation Updates 

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 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.

Character Rigging Updates 

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.

Modeling Updates

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.

Dynamics Updates

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).

Rendering Update

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.

General Updates

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.

Documentation Updates

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.

Composite Update

You can now select the QuickTime movie (.mov) file format as a Render output for your Composite projects.

MatchMover Update

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.




Aaron F. Ross

Posted 27 March 2012 11:35 pm

Fantastic! The Mandelbrot stuff got added! Genius work, guys, I can't wait to get my hands on this.

Adnan ER

Posted 27 March 2012 11:47 pm

still no iRay for Maya? Shame!!!

Pete Shand

Posted 27 March 2012 11:53 pm

Nice! looks like some great updates. Just on a side note, the videos where the guy explains the features and shows them in action are 100000000000000x better than those little snippets with no sound. I think they did more to frustrate people than to psych them up for the release.


Posted 28 March 2012 2:15 am

Yep no iRay, and no XGen (tree, flowers, grass, walls, hairs generator) who is already integrated on Maya by Disney (probably not autorisation to integrate yet).
But it makes too much new functionalities, they need to justify buying a new version (1000 dollars Oo) by integrated features slowly and pushing innovation away. That's easy for them, they have killed Alias Research and Softimage... (they have killed Maya btw).
They integrate widgets and one or two interesting features (trax blending and nHair). Maybe iRay for Maya 2014 or 2015? But seriously i am thinking to switch of 3D software, because Blender will integrate Bmesh soon and i see everywhere a true thing : "Blender's getting better faster than Maya."
For example the Hypershade in Maya is extremely slow, in Blender shader nodes and compositing will be managed by the GPU via OpenCL.

Many users do not yet know the possibilities of compositing, uv mapping and basic sculpting on blender with multires, which is why they are still on Maya. And do not know all the power of BGE :

Autodesk do not use money in the research, but for business, they are dependant of studios who innovates and makes plugins, and they bought to add in Maya.

An example of real great updates:
Brush and create hair and Fur :
DynaMesh :
MicroMesh, NoiseMaker, BPR filter...

PS : this is a minor version of ZBrush, imagine ZBrush 5. And, the most awesome is that it is FREE.

Fast, free GPU rendering and real time interaction support OpenCL/CUDA/Linux :
With soon maybe modeling in the render.


Posted 28 March 2012 5:52 am

I was hoping for some serious modeling updates.

This is why i've switch to modo. modo 601 is such a superior modeler and now has all the rigging tools anyone needs.

I used blender for years before going to Maya(i switched because it's the app everyone used ). I was amazed by how much the rigging system in maya was behind blender's. One of the only features in maya that was better then blender was a good native renderer.

If you want a great app at a decent price, use modo (full license for the price of a maya update). If you want a great app for free, use blender.

Note: I would like to congratulate the Sketchbook team on a great product update.

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 6:10 am

re: No iRay

As iRay and Maya stood in 2012, we could not integrate iRay without it looking like a new renderer. If we couldn't make it a natural part of mental ray for Maya, we didn't see a big benefit in doing it. With the work this year to make mental ray for Maya into a standard plug-in, we're in a better place to do that. Whether we do that or not is an open question. We know some people would like that and we know some other people would prefer our resources spent elsewhere. These aren't always easy decisions to make and we know that they can be disapointing to some of you.


Posted 28 March 2012 6:11 am

Interesting but there is nothing here that is overwhelming to compel me to upgrade my current installation. One wonders if MatchMover still has the same memory cache bugs that it had in 2010, and 2011 and 2012..........

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 6:15 am

re: the death of everything

The Maya team has actually grown this year. We have a large group of people working on Open Data which is an investment in the future of Maya. It's a big initiative and we wouldn't be doing it if there was no future.

We've also spent a bunch of time fixing bugs, as many people have asked for, and I will post more info on that soon.

Alias Research was many teams. SketchBook being one that has done a lot of cool things. The Research in Alias Research has grown a tremendous amount under Autodesk. You can see a whole bunch of stuff the Research team is working on at

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 6:20 am

re: XGen

Yes, of course, XGen is running at Disney Feature Animation. There's a little more to it than just dropping something like that into Maya. Things like making it build on platforms other than linux and making it work outside of the Disney pipeline take time.

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 6:21 am

re: silent videos

We shared what we could at the time - we'll see about how we can improve things in the future

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 6:23 am

re: Positive feedback

Thanks very much for this - speaking for the whole team, we really appreciates it.

As for other feedback, we're happy to have that as well. Despite what some may think, we do care about Maya and our customers experience with it. Guidance on making things better for you always helps us make decisions for the future.


Posted 28 March 2012 6:37 am

Why development of such powerful technology like paintFX is stopped?

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 6:45 am

re: Ptex in mental ray

This is supported in 3.10 so you can use it in Maya. I'll be upfront with you and say the workflow is a bit rougher than we would like.

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 6:45 am

re: Paint Effects

What kind of updates are you looking for?

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 6:46 am

re: Scripting and API Updates

I'll post some more details on that soon


Posted 28 March 2012 6:55 am

Paint Effects

1 is support of custom meshes for twigs branches and flowers
2 ability to tweak secondary tertiary branches attributes
3 rendering without converting to polygons in mr
is first what come to my mind


Posted 28 March 2012 7:16 am

Looks like a nice update!

Is there support for implicit shapes/ deformer sculpts, and instanced particles in viewport 2.0 now?


Posted 28 March 2012 7:18 am

Your interoperability things is a joke for the no windows user.
Maya definitely lose this "3d generalist" soft description today. Just be honest with that. The idea is to specialize the tools... so you can sell more tools. Right?
That's disappointed.


Posted 28 March 2012 7:27 am

Paint Effects (cont)

4 roots
5 trunk (with multiple trunks option)
6 ability to draw trunk by hand (like speed tree)


Posted 28 March 2012 8:14 am

I really like the update, nice work! I am most looking forward to VP 2.0 enhancements and better MR integration. nHair looks sweet too and I am looking forward to all the Dynamics improvements/possibilities. Maya 2012 was solid for me and 2013 is looking to be also.

I was hoping for a few more modeling updates. I saw one Artisan improvement listed but this is an area that can definitely use some work (Move Brush?). Also, an 'Insert Smooth Edge Loop' tool is overdue. And finally, I had hoped that the HUD overlays that were introduced in the 2012 Extrude Tool would make their way into other tools.

I second the sentiment that audio-less preview videos are frustrating. I know everyone keeps trotting out Modo 601 as the new poster-boy (it is kinda sweet, actually) but the guy who does their little feature playblasts does a nice job informing/entertaining. The Autodesk feature videos that do have audio are terrific, so thumbs up on those.


Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 9:52 am

re Alembic and the SAP (Subscription Advantage Pack)

Everyone who gets Maya 2013 will get the Alembic support - whether you are on subscription or not. It's important to note that this is the Alembic i/o as well as the GPU Cache node that does the super-fast drawing of Alembic data.

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 9:55 am

re: interop on non-windows platforms

The 1 click workflows should work where the products do, eg Maya and Mudbox exist on windows, mac and linux so you should have the workflow available.

Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 9:57 am

re: when is this available on the Subscription site?

It will be soon - stay tuned.


Posted 28 March 2012 12:07 pm

no multithreaded improvements?


Posted 28 March 2012 12:22 pm


Sorry I did not credit your HDRI is it amazing as is Let me take the time to thank you for adding so much value to the 3d community with hdrilabs. I am always telling users and friends how amazing it is.


Cory Mogk

Posted 28 March 2012 12:33 pm

Thanks, Christian - I've updated the post with the attribution.


Posted 28 March 2012 1:14 pm

Does VP2 in Maya 2013 support displaying textures outside of the first UV tile?
The classic Maya viewport does.

You mention some dynamic features are now displayable in VP2, what are these features?

Quite a decent release, though not amazing, it would have been nice for a small sprinkling of modeling features. Hopefully Maya 2014 is a bigger release. My wishes for the next release is: iRay, xGen, multi-threading, modeling, more node workflows, viewport 2 becomes default viewport by supporting almost everything (with old one as backup)


Posted 28 March 2012 3:11 pm

Maya should really need to be re-written from the ground up, especially on the modeling side..
by adding "new" features that most of us won't probably even use will just gonna create more bugs on every release.
it's sad to see now its just another "high-end" animation package for big productions/companies.


Posted 28 March 2012 7:04 pm

While the addition of iRay would certainly be welcome (and very much on nVidia's list I'm sure) I would at least like to see some of the recent technologies exposed.

Unified Sampling alone (an iRay inspired technology) improves rendering performance nearly a magnitude from previous methods. The simplification of render setup (often bemoaned by non-techies) is worth the price of admission. All it takes is a simple UI change and nothing else. Modeling and animation tools, etc can improve productivity but not to the extent a simple render setup with fast turnaround can allow you to iterate and refine much faster on a visual product. I can use Unified Progressive to preview frames at 2k in nearly 10-15 seconds a (sub)frame on a regular workstation. To say nothing of 3k in 20-30 minutes for full frame raytraced renders at production quality. It's an amazing shame this is hidden in Maya and I'm hoping more people will expose and use it and finally ENJOY the process of making an image.

I'm hoping the new plug-in setup will see many more updates during the year unlike 2012 which languished behind 3ds Max and XSI in feature updates.

These updates alone would improve the likelihood a customer would upgrade rather than stay with the same piece of software year after year and opt for a cheaper purchase of a rendering license of something else.

T. I. Burbage

Posted 28 March 2012 10:58 pm

nHair looks like a well integrated and powerful solution. Pretty clearly the big feature of the release, and advances Maya's simulation tool set yet again. Does that complete the "n" cycle? Many of the other enhancements look useful ... will have to digest, and wait for more expansive demos. Maya's animation tool set is really top notch, and always advancing. "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." Again, will have to wait and see, but that sounds like yet another promise of a better MR integration in the future. Maya's MR integration should be second to none (and should have been versions ago).


Posted 29 March 2012 1:54 am

I'm not a programmer so my opinion may appear naif, but the lack of a better mentalray integration is shameful. I'm not sure i need iray, but I definitely need unified sampling and native mr ibl. These feature are already available in mental ray trough string option, and they work. I don't think that so much work would be necessary to expose those feature and, hopefully, make it work even with mr satellite... but, as I already told, I'm not a technician and I may be wrong.
On the other side, nice work on the animation part.


Posted 29 March 2012 2:47 am

I'm quite impressed with the additions to animation and general workflow - good job!

"mental ray for Maya has been turned into a true plug-in" - does this mean Mental Ray won't unload itself when Maya crashes?

Will Composite ever be able to import video files?


Posted 29 March 2012 7:57 am

Im sorry for autodesk Not good not good , features in maya 2013


Posted 29 March 2012 8:02 am

Death maya near The progress


Posted 29 March 2012 8:29 am

Cory thanks for the reply, but i will tried to explain why we need iRay (with my french-glish language, sorry for that :p) :
In Mental Ray you haven't a direct feedback of your lightning setup, shadows because the render is slow. Also, it's hard to get a good render and impossible to have something photorealistic it stay biased.
Artifacts appear and many areas are darkened and requires and advanced user to be fixed who know all features of Mental Ray.

Here an open room (Naboo) rendered with Mental Ray by an average user (me). They still a lot of problems artifacts and dark areas. The lighting is definitively not photorealisc even with FG, GI, Sun and Sky and others parameters. And fix this is also very hard, must add additionnal light, control bounce, etc.

Now the same scene, i've kept the sun and sky lightning but i render this time on iRay. 0 parameters, 0 skill needed :

Without surprise the lighting is photorealistic, no dark area the light bounce infinitly all is bright. Stay noisy, but after 10 minutes of rendering in 1920*1080 this is acceptable (and it's JPG) on a GTX 570.
After a quick compositing of my iRay render:

Maya 2013 is not a bad version for persons who want to do characters animation with motion capture (retargeting, trax blending to combine, motion trail to adjust, animation layer to create an overlayer). But features really expected, awaited from a long time are still not there, and no improvement in modeling, PaintFX, etc. For example sculpting mutli res, pixar subd, etc. Hypershade is slow even on a ssd!
You will lose a lot of users if you continue. Yet I loved Maya until Alias Maya 8.5 PLE . :'(

But caution Autodesk, Zbrush, Modo, Blender, Houdini and C4D growing much faster.

For persons who want iray on maya (bugged, no support for textures), here the trick :

And also can you make an overview of XGen ?

Cory Mogk

Posted 29 March 2012 8:56 am

Re: importance of iRay

We know that iRay brings value to people's workflows. We also know that mrfM needs work. We don't want to hack iRay in at the expense of user experience. Our approach has been to fix the base so that we don't continue the problems of the past and possibly make them worse.


Posted 29 March 2012 9:06 am

About the interop on non-windows platforms...
Since Max appear to be your only real modeling/rendering tool, the interop max/maya is limited to window only. So your suitish strategy is not appropriate for lot of your maya customer(the non windows one and all the other that dont want to learn several big tool to work). You expect user to use several soft to work. So, as i have to search fonctionnality outside of maya to progress in my work, I'll not search this fonctionnality in another autodesk soft.
Maya is not anymore a tool for 3d generalist.


Posted 29 March 2012 9:07 am

To cory :

Ok, you want to fix things, but when this will be fixed? Why Pixologic can integrate so many new features at the same time on ZBrush?
His integration in futures version of Maya is scheduled?

Why 3ds max, Cinema4D and CATIA have iRay from two years already? iRay 2.0 is already supports animation and is even faster, one more reason to adopt.
Even if it is not stable or that there are compatibility issues, listen the needs of users.

Our needs are your priorities! Especially when everyone harasses you with one feature : iRay (PaintFX, modeling and XGen behind).


Posted 29 March 2012 9:10 am

I would love if the mayatomr translator were given to nVidia. What considerations would there be for such a move? You have a few customers that are more than willing to help refine the integration and experience for mental ray inside Maya.

As opposed to customers passively (or aggressively) hammering forums, what can be done constructively to resolve this?

"Our approach has been to fix the base so that we don't continue the problems of the past and possibly make them worse."

Ok, what steps can be done to complete this fix? What areas specifically need work or solutions? Are you getting enough testing or feedback for features? Are there concerns you perceive from existing features in mental ray? I see a lot of complaints about non-exposure of new features, some of which are designed to eliminate the problems (or replace) old features. Are these features causing integration problems?

Can you leverage your partners more? It's my understanding that resources aren't very high for rendering at Autodesk. There are quite a few of us that are very interested in helping you improve this area but for one reason or another are getting nowhere.

Cory Mogk

Posted 29 March 2012 2:20 pm

re: Autodesk and nVidia working together on mental ray for Maya and customers helping

Turning mrfM into a true plug-in was a big chunk of work and it was late in the development cycle when it was completed. For the bit of time between when we completed that and locking Maya 2013 down, my understanding is that the teams, Autodesk and nVidia, were much more productive than previously. At this point in time it was fixing bugs but it seemed to go well (a higher than average rate of bug fixing) so we see that as a positive improvement.

Can we give the plug-in to nVidia? That's a fair question that a number of people have asked. I don't have a solid answer for you at the moment.

In terms of working with our customers, feedback is always welcome. Bug and enhancement submissions always help (find the link under Maya's Help menu). Beta testing is another option and you can sign up at


Posted 29 March 2012 2:39 pm

I was working at The Mill for a long period where we were using 3.10 early (Standalone). Between myself and an amazing developer named Brenton, we tried as hard as we could to squash bugs. We continue to work with ARC to solve as much as we can. But we have a very direct line of communication with ARC which makes it easier to solve these issues (The Mill is a direct customer, much like Autodesk) This means bug fixes are faster to find, report, and resolve in our production environment.

I noticed new drops were accepted into 2013 much later than usual, which we appreciate very very much. We're hoping this continues with the new plug-in structure! We're very excited at the possibilities.

I would love to give you my experience with but will not do so on the public forum. . . . But would love to share it. You can find that I am signed up for the Beta already.

--David Hackett


Posted 29 March 2012 6:42 pm

good stuff.

Is there a change in the animation playback frame-rate of a skinned character within the Maya viewport to be expected with the new version?

...especially when working with HIK in Maya compared to directly in Motionbuilder (e.g. currently I am having 20fps for 1 cut-up character vs. 100fps with 4 skinned characters in MB)

What's the plan with ATOM vs. .fbx vs. .anim - they all seem to be the same thing in different flavors, what's the difference and what will be the future. Do any Game Engines support the Atom format?


Posted 29 March 2012 6:45 pm

... in addition to my previous question - about viewport playback:
interacting with the HIK rig in Maya currently seems way slower than when doing the same thing in MB - will this change in Maya2013?

Will the HIK allow squash and stretch? In MB it can be faked with scaling the Forward Controllers, but in Maya it doesn't work


Posted 30 March 2012 4:25 am

Somebody knows a video to see Disney's XGen in action? I found nothing on Youtube.


Cory Mogk

Posted 30 March 2012 11:59 am

re: HIK and Character Performance

We have isolated some performance issues with characters but the fixes are not in 2013.

Squash and Stretch is not in HIK.

Cory Mogk

Posted 30 March 2012 7:48 pm

re: Pixar Subdivision

This has been in for some time with the Smooth Mesh Preview mode (1/2/3 hotkeys on a poly mesh). I had to check and it appears to be Maya 7 (

T. I. Burbage

Posted 31 March 2012 1:01 am

Cory, I'm pretty sure Subdiv Surfaces is the (at least partial) Pixar SDS implementation, which, like regular poly meshes and NURBS surfaces, supports the 1-2-3 viewport smoothing controls. I think Smooth Mesh Preview on ordinary polygonal meshes is just a fast, simple uniform subdivision algorithm (which is fine for most work, and was a very welcome addition when it was put in a few versions back). I think if users are bringing up Pixar SDS, you can look at Modo and see what they are thinking about.

Cory Mogk

Posted 31 March 2012 4:40 am

From what I can see, it looks like the same thing (there have been some refinements on the Maya side since the initial implementation) - they even show side by side view of the products with the same mesh results transferred via FBX. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something?


Posted 31 March 2012 8:51 am

Cory why you don't create an "UserVoice" for Maya? To see the main awaited Maya's users features.
In each Maya release their is ton of bad reactions or harrass because what we want to see still not avalaible since a long time and we've never an answer or maybe just an excuse "we need to fix this first" (still don't know what is planned). But a new version of Maya is not a service pack we need more to improve our workflow.

And my review of Maya 2013:
Originale review (in French) :


Posted 31 March 2012 9:47 am

Cory, Can please you give us example what kind "Open Data" is ?
And what benefit mortal user can have from it?

Cory Mogk

Posted 31 March 2012 11:23 am

re: ATOM vs. anim vs FBX

ATOM is meant to replace .anim; ATOM and .anim are focused on animation while FBX supports lots of other data and interoping between products. ATOM and .anim are more for work in Maya.

ATOM is XML based and uses the same description as the custom AE Templates and Asset Templates. One of the points of Open Data is that we make the solution open so that people can tweak the data and/or the way the data is created.

Cory Mogk

Posted 31 March 2012 12:04 pm

re: Open Data for mere mortals

One of the first thing is that you have access to the Alembic file format in Maya. Alembic is a very compact file format so you get a lot of data with a small memory footprint. You can use Alembic for a single object (like you would OBJ) or you can use it for animated objects like characters or particles (like with the nucleus cache).

The second part of Alembic is that you get the GPU Cache node. In the movie we show 500 cities with 21 billion triangles. If this was in the standard Maya representation it would be very slow, if not impossible (depending on your hardware). The data in the GPU Cache node is non-editable (you cannot move points on the mesh) but you can snap to it. If you are building something like a large, complex city, this is very powerful.

We are also calling the File Referencing improvements (access to file referencing in the Outliner) part of Open Data. If you are working with a large dataset, this makes it easier to break it into chunks and selectively load the most important pieces so that you keep a high framerate in Maya.

I'll post some more detailed movies of this soon.

Cory Mogk

Posted 31 March 2012 12:05 pm

re: bug fixing and User Voice

I have about 15 pages of bugs that we've fixed in Maya 2013. This is a big request - fix more bugs - so we've done that.

We are looking into setting something up like the 3ds Max team has done with User Voice. We think it's been successful and would like to use that as a way to get more direct feedback from the community.


Posted 1 April 2012 1:20 am

A User Voice system could be so much more than just feature requests though...

Imagine having a public system where all those bugs you report are aggregated and exposed to the users.
People could see if a bug had already been logged and confirm the the issue and share additional info (severity, example scenes etc.), instead of logging a separate bug of the same issue.
We used to have something similar at before Michiel pulled the plug out of his own frustrations. It was great to be able to discuss issues and confirm problems with others (it felt like it was making a difference anyway).
I'm guessing there is something like this if you're on the beta, but we all know the bugs don't stop when the product ships right? ;-)

Trust the users.

We all want a better Maya.


Posted 1 April 2012 3:16 am

And for the User Voice, you'll can show what is planned, what is started, why this features (iRay or XGen) can't be integrated yet. Their will have discussions between developpers and Maya users. Maya is alive by its users.

Anyway, if you continue to ignore users in each new version, remember even if you bought the three largest 3D software (max, maya, softimage), software less expensive exists and begins to integrate the essential functionality and exceeds in certain areas. Blender is better than Maya for sculpting, for uv mapping, for compositing (based on OpenCL) and previewing with OpenCL/CUDA render compute (but cycle is biased and iRay is not a reason to integrate).

But if you create an User Voice don't do like Unity. Their is tons of votes for Unity on Linux since 2009, but none of the developers responds at this suggestion :


Posted 1 April 2012 4:28 am

By mogkc : Our approach has been to fix the base so that we don't continue the problems of the past and possibly make them worse .

iam happy with that

thanks mogkc

Cory Mogk

Posted 1 April 2012 6:17 am

re: User Voice

I'm glad to hear there's support for this. Let's get it up and running like the 3ds Max team and then explore what else we can do.

In terms of a public bug board, it's not that easy to do as a lot of the information customers send in is confidential.

Like CER's (Customer Error Reports), the more times we hear of a bug, the higher the priority gets. Never assume we know about an issue. Even if we know about an issue, additional reports can help us in reproducing it and/or making sure we fix it from the proper angles.

If you want to get the status on an issue, the Support team can update you.


Posted 1 April 2012 10:11 am

Good but please show some love to the "Modeling" department, lack of modeling improvement since 2011 simply mean go buy modo we're not plan to update it anytime soon?!


Posted 1 April 2012 5:42 pm

I'm very disappointed in the lack of improvements to the modeling tools.

Blender is just one tool away from me switching for good...


Posted 2 April 2012 2:08 am

The CER system is good to have for sure, but it doesn't really motivate you to keep submitting bug reports when you never hear back about the issue. You send off some info and it "vanishes" into the Autodesk monolith, so you just cross your fingers and hope that it will show up fixed on the bug list when it is released for the next version.

I think if people could in some way see their submissions in the context of a user community, where others can post workarounds or fixes, see the status of known bugs and answer requests for additional information about a given bug, then you empower users and more effectively leverage the vast user-base, who all have an interest in improving the software.

I think generally Maya users love using it, but are frustrated with the bugs and un-realised potential. How can we open it up the community to help make Maya even better?


Posted 2 April 2012 4:47 am

One of the reason i think explain why Maya have so many bugs, it's because Autodesk just trying to stick plugins on Maya, they develop nothing, just buy, adapt and kill inovation (and dominate?). This is why the source code of Modo is much more clean, stable, faster, complete and fonctionnalies growing much faster. I think Modo 701 or 801 will be the direct competitor of Maya and 3ds max. I just hope that Autodesk will never buy it and begin to innovate. Modo have also a fast and realistic render engine (almost unbiased) and the most powerful modeling tools. He is also multiplatform (Maya can't use Nvidia's features on a Mac).

How long modeling, Paint Effect haven't been improved?
Some say that nHair of Maya 2013 was ready for several years but Autodesk has deliberately delayed its release, as with other features. A lot think that you push and delay upgrade to do the minimum.
Especially as Maya are extremely expensive, an update of the software costs the price of Modo or a powerful computer or small renderfarm.
ILM and ZOIC ( ) begin to integrate modo. Small studios integrate modo, blender, C4D or Houdini.

The source code of Maya is crap, full of bugs and patches who create another bugs, not suitable for some project. Blizzard has even thought of switching of Mental Ray to Renderman for the sake of stability for StarCraft II cinematics.

Clearly Maya is not the future of 3D (if you continue) : we must switch of software? Or you will begin to make Maya a great program like it was? Remember Autodesk: Alias Maya was the number one 3D programs with the most advanced features during more than 10 years!
For example Pixologic have released a bug fix version : release 2b, but have integrate tons of features like FiberMesh who beat Maya Hair/nHair for brush hairs and make hair style.

So can you imagine the incoming ZBrush 5? Specially if the render engine of a sculpt program become more powerful than the engine of an animation program! I laugh in advance by imagining what's new in Maya 2013.5/2014. I even think that it's useless to follow Maya developement because he will soon be far behind others programs. Can i say "RIP Maya"?

Shame on you Autodesk you're triying to kill inovation, progress just for dominate the market and practice your prices. Users are nothing for you! You just see money everywhere!
How many award have you won Autodesk? Alias Research had 11 awards for Maya before you buy it!
And Maya at his price is not complete, some users need to switch into 3ds max for iRay rendering, Blender for UV Mapping and compositing, Modo or ZBrush for retopology. And now ZBrush to make hair style, pose, fast UV Mapping, Decimation.
Since Maya 2008 i heard : need to fix this before. Before what? Buying a new plugin or demo plugin like DMM and Craft Animation to put on Maya's next version?! And why there is more bugs in each new versions? Bad plugin integration...

So you have fix things since Maya 2008 (since you have bought it). Now 5 years later can you create a great Maya 2014 VS Modo 701 battle with all the warning and suggestions you have received? Can you innovate for the first time?
I am just waiting for the last time, what Maya 2014 will be. If there is nothing new for modeling, rendering, etc. I will change of program like a lot will do (someone have already changed).

It will certainly be much easier for our workflow to work with another(s) 3D program than Maya in the future... because for now we must use an other program for each task. I use an animation program but i must switch to do physically correct and fast rendering with my GPU...
I don't want to insult Autodesk team, but I'd really would to shake you, because persons paid to kill inovation aren't human being. Especially in an area that needs to evolve a lot, like next gen incoming consoles and futures movies.


Posted 2 April 2012 6:14 am

ok with you Danyl i'm just affraid ,what 're the rules of the game Autodesk ? this is my last year for maya (with sad), swittch to modo .
if you don't have time for doing a true inovation , you have to think ok this year we rewrite source code of maya and next year we built innovation (modeling rendering dynamics)with realistic intégration , and no plug in and it's ok for me i stay i can work two years with maya 2011 or 2012 without update , but be honest !!!! you are at the limit , the money make you blind
Silo have very great tool for modeling also , it cost 100 dollars !!!! You have to sse what appening around you

Cory Mogk

Posted 3 April 2012 4:14 am

re: nHair was ready for several years

I wonder where you heard such a thing - it is definitely not true. Why would we hold something back if it was ready to be used?


Posted 3 April 2012 5:59 am

Is it compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 and later


Posted 3 April 2012 9:54 am

I don't understand why Autodesk can't (doesn't want to) make better modeling tools for Maya. all other software companies are creating great tools for modeling, for example modo or even blender. I can't see why autodesk can do this with Maya. There have not been any good modeling improvements for maya in years and I am thinking about swapping to a software that can do more than model simple things (unless you spend a huge amount of time), simulate hair and create animations. I mean the new fetures are quite OK but...
Whats with modeling are you all meant to get 3ds max for that?
I mean no offence to the Autodesk team, but I sure would like some modeling tools(and Iray).


Posted 3 April 2012 12:48 pm

Forget Maya 2013...
Looks like 2015 or 2016 will be the upgrade to get..

Anyone else noticed the SketchBook video above??
That just blew me away !!!


Posted 3 April 2012 1:48 pm

I wouldn't try to do what the 3dsMax boys have done. The program is a POS. I'm forced to use it at work so I can render multi-millions of particles with Krakatoa (thanks to the cutting edge Dynamation particles in Maya). I have had no end of problems with Max's buggy interface. Maya seems solid as a rock in comparison.

Currently, I'm working 13 hrs/day, 7 days/week. Jumping back in forth between software consumes more time that you can imagine.

In my off time I'm learning Houdini. I'm tired of trying to deliver on a deadline with Maya's ancient particles that look so-so when rendered(IF they render). I just had to spend the last 10 minutes at work trying to find out why my coworker's particles weren't inheriting color, and he probably wasted 30 mins before he spoke to me. Turns out, my friend had to restart. A BUG.

I still frequently get crashes when the scene has nCached particles and I press the "Go to start of playback range" button. This occurs whenever my playback range begins at the same frame as the cache. This has been a frequent problem since nParticles existed. The next time I get a scene with this problem, I'll send it to you. (I'm on 2012 sp1 BTW)

I've had to fix the "clear initial state" script myself. The script crashes if it tries to clear a PP attr that has an incoming connection. And don't get me started on "mel" programming. Heaven forbid if a line in your userSetup.mel file errors out. Everything after that line goes "bye-bye" on startup.

nParticles is just a kludge to address issues that should be addressed by implementing a more modern dynamics system. Internal ramps? Are you kidding me? A node is making connections into itself and you can't see them in any node editor?

Maya should not be a "fixer-upper". FumeFX and Krakatoa are eating Maya's lunch. Try to simulate an inferno with Maya fluids and watch your life creep away -- one minute at a time.

I don't know who's to blame for the lack of any true dynamics innovation on the Maya front. I don't want to be forced to use more than 2 different apps during the course of my job.


Posted 4 April 2012 12:34 pm

It is clear that Maya is being oriented towards animation and is not considered a fully equipped and "stable" 3d software like Max. Maya users still work with stone age modeling tools not to mention the mental ray integration which is almost a prank in Maya.


Posted 4 April 2012 4:53 pm

Will viewport 2.0 support deformer sculpts/ implicit shapes now?


Posted 5 April 2012 1:48 am

Hi guyz from Autodesk,
this year I wanted buy for my company YOUNG & RUBICAM new version of Maya, but know
it looks that is time to say GOODBYE to MAYA and switch to MODO you IDIOTS.
Thanks for Maya 2009.


Posted 5 April 2012 2:48 am

well, i hoped this maya release would bring some improvements in modeling and rendering. i think that was it for me with maya. although modo lacks of some features yet (particles, etc.) it is for 90% of my 3d-creation-time way better suited than maya. so, i think it's time to say: "good bye autodesk".


Posted 5 April 2012 7:45 am

I admit it's hard to leave Maya, because the Marking Menu is just awesome, best way for modeling, i hate shortcuts (i can't use Blender). This is why i am waiting for Maya 2014.

Autodesk you have a last chance, the others software aren't powerful as Maya in some areas, so keep your advance, and focus on modeling, rendering, Paint FX and performance with more GPGPU features.
Because they stay iRay that i hope to see, Blender Cycle is biased, Modo render is biased (but almost unbiased). You can add retopology, multi res sculpting, environment generator (XGen), video game editing (Skyline), real time fluid (Nvidia Maximus), you can also do a native compatibility with Kinect on Maya 2013.5 on Windows 8 for Motion Capture for all, and face capture (with HumanIK's retargeting this can be awesome), etc.

And I fell in love with Maya and 3D since i've seen the first pixar's movie Toy Story, hard to leave the software, but I am saddened to see how the speed of development was reduced on my favorite software since you had buy it!

Can you tell us when the most awaited features, waited from a long time, will be released? iRay. Each time i see iRay renders on youtube, the GTX 680 with 1536 CUDA cores and move to Mental Ray after i cry...

Cory Mogk

Posted 5 April 2012 3:11 pm

re: Maya as an Animation focused tool

It's true that there are more animation features in Maya 2013. I wouldn't count Maya down and out in other areas. I wish I could say more but right now you'll have to trust me. I'll try to cover some things in upcoming posts to show off some more of the other new tools.


Posted 6 April 2012 1:34 pm

"It's true that there are more animation features in Maya 2013. I wouldn't count Maya down and out in other areas. I wish I could say more but right now you'll have to trust me. I'll try to cover some things in upcoming posts to show off some more of the other new tools. "
I would definitely (without any doubt) count Maya out when it comes to rendering/modeling. To be honest, I have been hearing "I couldn't say more" from Autodesk develepors since Maya 2010 pre release:

Really, what does it take to fix the MR integration (make it normal like in Max or Softimage) and fix old bugs that have been hanging for ages. 3D world, 3D artist magazines, CGsociety and 3DTotal sites also have been giving Maya a bad modeling/rendering review since 2010 (simple exemple: and yes Viewport 2.0 and other commercial features are not important as fixing Maya.

-the whole integration is broken, when MR options override maya in certain shaders/situations, the maya options dont get grayed out and thats everywhere.

-the light nodes are confusing in mr4maya, u start with a maya light then add a mr shader and start tweaking options every where, and plugging/unplugging theses diffrent mr light shaders for different maya lights specially for maya/mr area lights....

-set up time or (shader/lights/render) takes a lot of time compared to max/xsi, and producers/art directors dont like this at all.

-the color management system is still broken (color swatches dont get gamma corrected for no reason at all) in max its just one click and this was done 3 years ago

-2d motion blur doesnt work with particles (crash) and 3d motion blur doesnt work with moving fluids.

-Certain shaders available in max/xsi just arent in maya like the essential glare shader.

-mia_materials can get unstable and present weird shadows and FG artifacts when you duplicate them in the hypershade.

-alot of workflow bugs, u cant use this with that or that with this just try to use scanline with fur, displacement and motion blur in a medium scene (mr4maya will become unstable) or just try to use a mia_material could go one for a while...

- baking and displacement generation don't support multithreading (it'2012!)

I have another 20 or 30 bugs in my mind right now (out of the hundreds that exist) and I could go for a real long time like this...

with each release i keep telling myself that the next one will be "THE" release that will bring Maya next Max in the race.As a 3d artist that works alot on modeling/rendering, i have been repeatedly disappointed since Maya 8.5 (this was the last time i went WOW!).

Why can't there be a program that's good for arch modeling, has a good tree system, good rendering engine?
Max is an atomic bomb when it comes to modeling/renderingh specially the max/vray combo with all the plugins like VrayPattern, VrayScatter,Autograss,ForestPro,ghosttown and we don't even have 1 similar plug in for Maya.

Once thing is for sure, Maya is starting to look like a caveman in front the modern max and its "Excalibur" project.I don't understand why Autodesk is doing this, i mean they have no interest at all in doing so.I really don't understand why they are doing this, the only logical explanation is that they are orienting Maya towards animation and they don't want it to be powerful in modeling and rendering tools (btw modeling tools in Maya are a complete joke compared to MAX or Modo).
The reason i say this its because its becoming more and more aubvious, they can make Maya the number 1 tree generator just by incorporating accurate pfx tree presets (just like prodan`s trees but I guess viewport 2.0 is more important : it's just a viewer for god's sake, we should have that by default.


Posted 8 April 2012 7:37 am

Someone complained that deleting a vertex with Backspace is a problem. I would just select the vertices, press "Shift+RMB", then quickly gesture to "Delete Vertex". Very fast and effective. That's the Maya experience. Why are you reaching for "Backspace" when you could use the marking menu? Remembering 50 hotkeys just for modeling and then remembering hundreds more for other aspects of the software isn't very productive, especially if you're a generalist and using a good portion of everything.

Quoting "User Guide + Basics + Interface overview + Marking menus": "Marking menus are very fast for experienced users because once you get used to showing them and the positions of their items, you can select the items using very quick gestures with the mouse or tablet pen, sometimes so fast the entire menu won’t even display."

Then you have the same selection-type sensitive marking menu "Shift+RMB" (with no selection) to create polygon primitives at nearly the speed of thought. All these other 3D applications have "press big button on this window over here that's hogging up screen space" compared to Maya's "gesture through polygons marking menu to create any primitive in less than a half a second" without 12 hotkeys, just one "Shift+RMB", and you can have the entire UI hidden (Ctrl+Space) in Maya and just use the Hotbox and default marking menus for polygon modeling and normals editing.

I used to use 3ds Max and having to assign dozens of hotkeys for Edit Poly was a hassle, the quad menu wasn't bad though. In Maya you get a default set of marking menus (Shift+RMB and Ctrl+RMB) that are just awesome for polygons, with no need for customizing. In 3ds Max (in 2009 at least), you had to move the mouse over to the Command Panel and "Ctrl+Click" on a selection type (faces, edges, etc), to convert the selection. In Maya, you just press "Ctrl+RMB" anywhere in the viewport and then quickly convert the selection with the polygons marking menu rather than clicking on a huge panel taking up screen space.

There is a genuine need for having more modern polygon tools, but I often see a lot of users who appear to not know what the software offers in terms of marking menus and the productivity they bring (judging by the thousands of "modeling" videos on the internet for Maya, in which marking menus are completely ignored), and then complain that "modeling is slow" (which it is if you're not using marking menus), and then want Autodesk to change the software to the point where we'll get some huge "ribbon" thing at the top of the UI hogging up screen space when all we really need are just modern polygon tools in that Edit Mesh menu and improvements to the old ones, along with incorporated edits into that fantastic polygons marking menu. Local-based symmetry would be great too; a lot of people have voiced their needs for modeling improvements so I won't repeat much. To Autodesk: Whatever modeling improvements you make in future versions, please don't forget about the marking menus; don't "depreciate" that workflow, because that's a significant productivity feature that Maya has that the competition doesn't, and oddly enough makes Maya's relatively old polygons toolset a pleasure to model with (with polygons at least) despite other software (such as Modo) having much more modern poly tools.

The marking menus in Mudbox are kind of slow and not as responsive compared to Maya's, but they do allow you to fly through them (as you can in Maya), so they're good. In Maya for example, the vertex skinning marking menu added in 2011 is very well done. You can hide the entire interface (Ctrl+Space), and use the right click marking menu on joints in the Paint Skin Weights Tool, then use the "U+LMB" key marking menu to change between Replace, Scale, Add, Smooth and the N key to control the intensity of your value, then B hotkey for brush size; Alt+F to flood, Alt+A for wireframe toggling; so there's only 5 hotkeys to remember to be able to skin extremely effectively and fast, all are default, and even better; the Artisan hotkeys are consistent across other tools such as Sculpt Geometry Tool, and well, many others. It's another reason I really like Maya; consistent, organized interface and same hotkeys for similar tools (Artisan). I think the Nucleus stuff is looking really good by the way.

I know Maya has its share of problems, personally I'd like to see significant Mental Ray updates, such as a blend material (using mib_color_mix is okay, but not as feature rich as a true blend material is), Unified Sampling and MIP shaders officially supported, iRay, and things along those lines, along with better render passes support. It's annoying to have to construct a funky network just to get sss_fast_skin_maya's 3 different subsurface effects out, that one should be converted to _x_passes. I do like how nodal Mental Ray in Maya is though; that mia_envblur is a node rather than as a checkbox option like it is in 3ds Max. For example, attach a mib_blackbody to the Whitepoint to a mia_exposure_photographic and you have color balance in your scene. It's little things that make the actual design intent of Mental Ray in Maya quite good, but there are problems in implementing it all like photon intensity not matching light intensity and of course, many bugs including odd workflows for certain light shaders that should be automated, and unfinished AE templates for many Mental Ray nodes (Write Operations not be displayed as worded options, etc). Proper gamma-encoded color swatches would be nice too, along with having more modern features that Mental Ray offers. That Autodesk has converted Mental Ray to a true plugin brings me hope that maybe it will be better done in future versions of the software.

On the plus side, 2013 seems like a relatively solid release in other areas from reading this announcement. I'll be looking forward to reading the "What's New" section in the Help documentation while downloading the free trial and giving it a test run.


Posted 8 April 2012 8:35 am

quote "I'll be looking forward to reading the "What's New" section in the Help documentation"

Maya 2013 Docs

before downloading the free trial :-)


Posted 8 April 2012 8:57 am

Let me also add that I've seen a lot of harsh statements here, but I respect the efforts of the developers. You can't please everyone and Maya is a massive piece of software. I am looking forward to checking out all the new improvements and features. Keep them coming Maya team, great work!


Posted 8 April 2012 10:11 pm

I really wish poly modeling got more attention... I pretty much use all marking menus to model but I've been drooling over modo's features for a while now.

Maya needs:
- real re-topo tools ( like snap to mesh, I think max has this... just go cheat off their homework, I won't tell Teacher.)
- real symmetry tools (mirror merge never works, and how about symmetrical modeling?)
- mesh cleanup / decimation is still in the stone age (it's currently my favorite way to crash maya)

Summary: When most of the modelers I know do their modeling in non-autodesk products (modo, silo, 3dcoat, zbrush) there's a problem.

On a nicer note, really looking forward to the node editor, although I don't understand why the Maya team didn't just redesign Hypershade. All the functionality is already there. (minus the know-what-the-hell-is-going-on simplicity of the Node Editor) Do we really need a new editor for something that is already there? Still, I like it. It's pretty.


Will Mental Ray materials show up in the node editor?
Will they actually look good? (They look terrible in Hypershade, requiring lots of extra "test" renders to actually get the material right.)
C4D's material system actually shows you what you're going to get when you render... just go cheat off their homework, I won't tell Teacher.

Other than that, good work with the animation/rigging improvements: Lots of great stuff here! This is where Maya really shines!
(Other than the mind-blowing awesomeness of marking menus! Seriously, marking menus with my wacom tablet are probably the one thing keeping me in Maya.)


Posted 10 April 2012 4:57 am

I must say I am impressed with the amount of work that has gone into this update. As a Maya artist I am grateful for all the long hours and hard work that has gone into this application. Thank you.


Posted 10 April 2012 5:49 am


Yeah I agree, this is a significant update. In my opinion, Autodesk has done a really good job on the QT interface, among other things. In Maya 2011 it was, for example, slow to load up the Hypershade, but in Maya 2012 SP2, the general interface speed in opening the Hypershade increased by about twice of that it was in 2011. I never measured it specifically but the speed of drawing the "heavier" (Visor, Hypershade, etc) windows in Maya 2012 SP2 is perhaps almost 70% (on a blank scene) as fast as it was in Maya 2009 (subjectively speaking), and fully drawing windows is a very rare process; you don't constantly open the "heavy" windows all the time after all, so the detriment to productivity is negligible.

I suspect that Autodesk will keep doing improvements and though there's still some UI quirks to iron out, I think Maya is looking very good and if the developers can perhaps improve modeling and rendering in future releases, Maya will once again be a really solid generalist tool; it still is, just has some older tools that need updating, and that funky Mental Ray could use a fresh integration. Maybe the developers could collaborate with some studios, such as "Oktober Animation"; what they've done with their "MentalCore" plugin (an implementation of Mental Ray for Maya) is nothing short of astounding, and to really get something like a solid rendering implementation, real-world testing is a good way to go. I'm just tossing out ideas, I know Autodesk can't officially comment on potential future improvements and things of that sort.

Paint Effects alone is one of the most powerful artistic tools I've ever used (though the learning curve is a bit high, which is understandable considering how much control you have). Adding to what someone else here said, if maybe 100 or so realistic plant and tree presets were incorporated into the Visor, with little to no changes to the core of Paint Effects, that would be quite significant, though updates to the core would of course be great too. I've created some plants and trees with Paint Effects from scratch, and it's very powerful, but unless you have a lot of free time to learn the majority of the nearly 300 settings for Paint Effects, you're not going to get really good results fast. So maybe some updates to Paint Effects (with modern presets in the Visor at least) would be in order eventually. Just an idea (not really mine actually) among many others in the comments section here.

I also want Viewport 2.0 to continue being updated in future releases, to the point where one day we can all just default to Viewport 2.0 and know that everything the old viewport supported is supported in Viewport 2.0 as well. The updates to Viewport 2.0 in Maya 2013 are very good considering all the other work that was done in other areas of the software.

There's nice things in 2011 and beyond like when you go to a menu item with an option you can just press "Shift" to open the options (rather than having to click the options box), and this works in the Hotbox and the menu bar (not marking menus though, which is fine since it would really mess with the way they behave), as opposed to just working in the menu bar and requiring I think "Shift+Alt" like it did in Maya 2010 and previous releases. That's just one improvement, but there are others, such as the floating color chooser allowing you to keep the window open (say on a "transparency" attribute) but then choose a different material and the related channel ("transparency") gets automatically loaded into the floating color chooser, I think that's neat.

These are little things really, but just wanted to say that overall I'm relatively satisfied with Maya's development and I hope the team continues to keep the interface and user experience consistent, regardless of how much Maya changes and improves in future releases. The foundation (interface) matters a lot, and I think they've done a really good job updating it.

Cory Mogk

Posted 10 April 2012 7:03 am

Re: Stability of Maya

We watch the stability of Maya closely. Through data like CER and CIP we know that Maya is doing a good job. If you're seeing issues, please let us know by contributing CER and CIP data, by logging bugs (through Maya's help men) and by getting in touch with the Support team (check out their Maya Station blog: Some problems are not easy to reproduce so the more info we get the better. If we get duplicate reports it helps us to prioritize them.

This past fall we received some detailed info from customers that helped us isolate some problems and we released SP2. It takes extra effort to do an SP and takes away time from developing other features but we felt it was the right thing to do for our customers.

We do have some dependencies when it comes to fixing bugs: operating systems, hardware (particularly graphics cards) and some components of Maya like Qt. This means some issues can take longer to fix than others.

If you're having an issue, it's always good to check the hardware certifications list (see System Requirements on There are a lot of system combos and we try to test the most common ones.


Posted 10 April 2012 10:14 am


As you said, only in 2012 the UI is beginning to load in decent time.
I'm also grateful for the effort put into fixing this.

Just not sure why our expectations of Maya have become so low.

We're excited with a physics engine you could get for free anyway with Blender,
two extra file formats to distract our workflow and a slider for the extrude tool.

It's a pity.


Posted 11 April 2012 5:38 pm

The release date is tomorrow or is it still unconfirmed?


Posted 12 April 2012 6:56 am

This morning i test maya 2013 on mental ray rendering .the test is done on bug scene on 2012(rendering bug on mental ray) , i was on 1 hours by frame
with error on reflexion and alpha map , on 2013 , yes all is good no error , and rendering time for the same scene 16 mn !!!!
good job for the develpers.
1 work on mac pro 12 core with radeon , and all seems good with maya 2013 , i hope now that i don't have to pay for correcting bugs ,but paying for innovation !!!! that the normal way no ????? for that i hope in few month we 'll have a sp1 or sp2 with iray (working on mac : and new modeling tool with a real symétrie tool and new retopologie
And again many thanks for the developpers


Posted 15 April 2012 3:39 am

In few days Blender 2.63 will be released with Bmesh support. It will allow to do Split everywhere (knife tool), Bevels, Bridge like Maya and allow dev to develop more powerful modeling tools. If Maya continue to do nothing on the modeling part, Blender 2.64/2.65 will be most powerful than Maya, the software growing more and more faster for Maya this is the opposite. Soon he will have autosubdiv area like Sculptris :
Currently Blender have a multi res sculpting (Maya haven't), and retopologie tools (Maya have nothing for that).

Blender 2.63 :
Blender package :

And for those who are waiting for iRay, GPU rendering in Blender with GPU compositing (based on OpenCL) :

And for FREE !

I have made a table with modeling shortcuts of 3D programs :

I hope to see iRay in the 2013.5 version of Maya like 3ds max 2011.5 (mid-build) and powerful modeling, sculpting, retopology tools, painting, advanced paint effects renderable with all engines, GPU based node editor/compositing, GPGPU simulation for Nucleus. Good previsualisation of shaders, huge shader base and preset compatible with iRay, interactive render in the viewport, post prod effect (adjust image, crop, filters). Powerful compositing tools inside Maya. More user friendly Maya hair like FiberMesh with preset (grass, etc) and hair style tools.

Cory have you seen UV Master ? It allow to do a perfect UV Mapping with controled seams of an entire character in less than 10 secs :


Posted 15 April 2012 12:15 pm

Agreed, I smell a massive exodus of modelers moving towards blender coming 2.63. Blendercookie has gotten me up to speed (I recommend checking out their composting series so you can setup your material networks correctly with cycles) and now i'm just waiting for ngon support coming this next release.

I'll still use maya for rigging and animations, but the modeling tools are just not going anywhere fast enough...


Posted 17 April 2012 4:48 am

Than you illincrux, i will watch the blender compositing series.
Mental Ray need many tweaks to have a good lighting and no artifacts and it's way too slow compared to cycle.


Blender and Modo growing much faster than Maya. We must not forget the incoming ZBrush 5 this year who probably integrate the most powerful and innovative modeling tools in the world (i am serious ), a veritable stand alone alternative. Pixologic is since ZBrush 1 the most innovative firm in 3D (beginning with the powerful Pixol 2.5 system and after multi millions polygones only managed with the CPU!). With ZBrush 4 and little released they have introduce a lot of hard surface modeling tools (clip, slice, creation curve, insert mesh, shadow box, extrusion, dynamesh, polish, trim and dam standard brush..), animation tools, lightcap lighting, render (with passes), filter, image adjustement and crop, hair, noise maker, micromeshes...

ZBrush hard surface :

For ZBrush 5 they will have maybe tools for architectural modeling, car modeling maybe (it is missing in zbrush). A procedural texture generator who create real reliefs, etc. The render engine become fast and realist. HDRI based lighting with lightcap is more efficient than others softwares because he generate quickly light source from an image (less ressources consumption but maybe a little bit less realistic) and can edit after individual light. UV Mapping in few seconds, decimation tool, PaintStop for drawing (efficient as photoshop). Maybe they will improved animation section. Integrate hair and cloth simulation. It is difficil to say what they will have on ZBrush 5, because the software is too awesome and innovate so much (create the buzz in each new release, even minors).

For maya I'm never hurried to try a new version because of small updates who look like Service Pack. The software make the buzz too... but for the poor new features and amount of bad reactions we can found on the web!


Posted 17 April 2012 7:17 am

Got our copy of Maya 2013 at the office, was excited... The updates that are there are really good, but I feel as many do, that for a generalist app, it could be a lot more in some areas. Just found some new Mental Ray Materials! They don't display properly in any of the viewports though unless that's my old GFX card...

Hmmm, Blender indeed. For the little while I've been using Blender, I haven't really missed Maya's marking menu (as much as I do love it).

After looking at all the positives, Maya is still lacking in modelling and UV tools. For instance if I want to add more than 10 edge loops in a given situation, it's not quick and easy. And selecting every Nth edge is still just a bonus tool? Can these tools not be updated and integrated as out of the box?


Posted 18 April 2012 12:07 pm


Totally agree - Effectively Bonus Tools and LT are available for about 3 months a year. Winter when they get updated until spring with the new release of Maya. Problem is that some tools like the uv tools are quite indispensable to make working in Maya bearable. However the engineer working on Maya apparently has nothing to do with these and they are released as kind of a favor by third parties. SO - you have the option of not integrating them into your workflow, or only update nine months after major version releases.


Posted 3 July 2012 2:21 am

I'd love to see hidden line wire removal (not just back face culling) in the Maya viewport, for Playblast. Currently this can only be done with mental Ray Contours or v-Ray Edge shader


Posted 23 September 2012 8:14 am

It would be very cool if Maya 2014 has animated mesh Corrective Sculpting like LBrush plugin for Maya (see It would be nice to add other LBrush features as well. This will make user able to easily correct simulated mesh like cloth and muscle deformation during animation. I think it should not be difficult to add this feature.


Posted 2 July 2013 12:09 am

As an old "Maya 1.0 Beta" user (year 1998), I can safely say Maya has made very little progress since then.
I don't believe the "original Maya core" is bugged, I do suppose Autodesk tried to integrate new stuff deeply into the Maya core and broke something here and there... that is actually possible.
Remember Maya was the first ever commercial product that's entirely "node based", 15 years ago!
It is true that not exposing features that *others* (users) are exposing (Iray interface) is a scandal. Call it "experimental" feature, but do it for the sake of it!
Guys, the "choice" node is still buggy... it's been there since ages! The "multiple" connection bug on the "plus-minus-average" is STILL THERE... oh PLEASE! Do you have another excuse for these ?
Viewport 2.0 !? You don't integrate "Iray" because you don't want to do a shallow job on it, and then you release ever-crashing, deeply-bugged Viewport 2.0 !?
You would have been better off integrating Iray first, instead of releasing the first, sad version of VP2.0.
Hell, make a real-time material editor for it! Give it an integrated shaders development environment Like Nvidia had something like 8 years ago! WAKE UP for F.SAKE!! It's 2014 already!
People telling you to leverage your big partners ARE RIGHT!
Ask Nvidia... come to terms, have THEM develop VP2.0... it's THEIR JOB!
I'd have more to say... but let's call it a day.


Posted 2 July 2013 12:19 am

Oh wait... Camera Sequencer.
"You may not batch render from Camera Sequencer". WHAT !?
Ok, let's say you'd need to "time remap" the scene...which would be feasable for a "normal dev team", but let's move on.
(Oh wait, you might create a Timewarp curve and do it automatically!... naa, too much of a quick implementation... let's try something a tad more absurd...)
Create a Ubercam! Uh, good idea... BUT, you cannot "stretch" clips... or it won't be created. WHAT !? WTF should I use it for then !?
"Camera Sequencer is good to PREVIEW your cameras and direction"... yeah right...and then ?! How DO I MAKE FRAMES FOR IT !?
"Well you can export it to..." ...uh, say it, please! Let me export the editing in at least 3 or 4 compositing software...
export in..."FINAL CUT"!! WHAT !?
And AfterEffects !? And Nuke !? And Fusion !? Premiere, at least PREMIERE!!!
Oh cmon... you're short-circuiting yourselves on the new features guys. Admit it and restart anew.
I cannot think of a better "core idea" behind a 3D software than Maya.
But you're treating it like sh*t...and it doesn't deserve this.


Posted 2 July 2013 12:28 am

LBrush Anyone ?! You could have LBrush in HOURS from a software house that cares about its products.
LBrush it's simply a Set Driven Keyed Blend Shape well (differently) implemented.
Although I'm not in the Maya team, I'm 99% sure it would take less than a week to 4 or less programmers who already know the animation code of Maya.
And it's a great shame it's not there already... like two Maya versions ago!

Add Your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Please only report comments that are spam or abusive.