Posted by Area Editor, 9 March 2010 12:00 am
It’s now public! Our 2011 line up of 3D products has been announced. Next month (April) will mark the first time we release the entire Autodesk Media & Entertainment portfolio of 3D products on the same date. Even though Maya, Softimage, Mudbox and MotionBuilder 2010 released just 6 months ago, we’ve been able bring you some very significant increases in performance and capabilities in the new 2011 versions.
I’m really proud that our product development teams pulled this off, especially considering the year that 2009 was. Last year, our teams went through some pretty radical transformations. We reorganized ourselves to maximize commonality and interoperability between applications. Whereas in the past we had individual product designers focused on product features, we now have design teams that focus on workflows that can involve multiple products. A good example is our “portable character” project for character animation. Another example is rendering – our new cross-product team is bringing you a single mental ray for all our 2011 products and Common Materials across select applications.
Commonality does not mean uniformity. We keep in mind the different requirements that we hear from users of different products. A couple of years ago, our CEO Carl Bass launched an initiative to raise the level of visual quality in the viewport of every Autodesk application. This led to the development of a very powerful graphics system known inside Autodesk as OGS (One Graphics System).
It was interesting to see how product teams reacted differently to this opportunity. The 3ds Max team chose to create the Quicksilver renderer on top of OGS and bring tenfold speed and quality improvement to offline rendering, while the Maya team chose to integrate it in the viewport and bring the 10x speed up and quality increase to the interactive display of complex scenes for film previs and games level editing.
Similarly, Carl launched an initiative on direct manipulation. Initial results are in the 3ds Max 2011 modeling tools, as well as in the cool new Inventor Fusion modeller (don’t miss it at http://labs.autodesk.com/fusion/). You can expect to see many of these innovative, intuitive tools and OGS in other Autodesk applications.
We introduced our Entertainment Creation Suites back at SIGGRAPH 2009 and so far we’ve received tremendously positive feedback and seen great adoption of the suites. Users are clamouring for more interoperability and integration, and that’s what our 2011 releases are delivering with much improved interop between Mudbox and MotionBuilder and Maya and 3ds Max.
We’re not in the bells and whistles business. One of our top priorities for our releases is to make sure you can get the most out of current hardware with multi core CPUs, multi-GPUs and 64bits. Whether it is our new GPU-accelerated graphics system for Maya and 3ds Max, new multi-threaded operators in Maya, GPU-accelerated blend shapes and graphics for MotionBuilder or 64bit OSX support for our Mac applications, the primary goal for each and every release is to make a step forward in performance. We know that it is all about speed and our 2011 releases bring a lot in this area. Try them out!
I don’t want to sound like an infomercial but there is a lot to say about these releases. Here are my favourite new features:
The feature that fascinates me the most is the camera sequencer. Our team designed this brand new Maya feature that introduces 3D editorial to Maya. Later, we collaborated with the Sony Pictures Imageworks team; they helped us refine our design. Finally, we tapped into the knowledge of the Smoke team to make sure that we had smooth workflows and data interchange between Maya 3D editorial components and first-cut editorial systems like Final Cut and Avid and finishing systems like Smoke on the Mac and Flame. The result is amazing. With Final Cut, Maya and Smoke all on the same Mac platform that can exchange EDLs and cut lists, we’re enabling new innovative previs and 3D editorial workflows. A 3D storyboard/prototype of the shot/film/commercial/game can be kept up-to-date with all the editorial changes!
We’ve also announced new versions of our games middleware in time for the Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco. Kynapse 7, our AI and pathfinding middleware, is now plug-and-play with a new easy API for simple integration in many games engines and super fast path-data generation. The new HumanIK 4.5 is now tightly integrated inside UnrealEd so that complex character-character interactions can be authored graphically and interactively – no programming required anymore. Many games engines such as Unity, Trinigy Vision Engine and Epic’s Unreal Engine now feature improved FBX import pipelines.
It’s not your daddy’s CG anymore! We’re seeing lots of new techniques to produce content for film, TV and games, and I sincerely hope that our 2011 products help you extract the maximum performance out of your hardware and get you into the brave new world of Digital Entertainment Creation with previs, 3D editorial, virtual cinematography, performance capture, sculpting, believable characters, realistic facial animation, and stereoscopic compositing and finishing.
I hope I’ve managed to share some of the pride and enthusiasm that we have here about our 2011 releases. The big prize for us is when we get to see the stunning pictures and stories that you create with our tools. I can’t wait to see where you’ll be able to go with our 2011 software.
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