Welcome to What's New in Autodesk Maya 2012!
BasicsA newly designed Project Window provides greater flexibility for accessing and editing the location of your project files. An improved default project structure makes it easier to manage project directories as well as to create custom directories for plug-in data.
Assets and File Referencing
A new Namespace Editor design gives you more control creating and managing the namespace organization of your scene objects. Feature improvements include object lists in a pop-up window, better namespace hierarchy display, and more.
Editable Motion Trails provide animators with a fast workflow for editing the position and timing of keys, directly in the Maya scene. Motion trails display with your animated models, eliminating the need to leave your scene for the Graph Editor.
Updates to the Camera Sequencer include a new playlist for more efficient shot management, improved multi-track audio, and the addition of the Ubercam, which lets you quickly output all shots to a single camera.
In addition, several improvements to the Graph Editor provide a more streamlined and familiar curve editing tool, particularly for animators using multiple Autodesk applications in a pipeline. New options and preferences include the Auto tangent type, adjacent key snapping, single-click curve editing, plus the
Dynamics and nDynamics
New Fluid Effects simulation methods let you create realistic liquid pouring, splashing, and boiling effects. Other additions to Fluids include new output mesh options, improved auto resizing, and a number of new attributes to enhance the look and behavior of your effects.
Further development of the Nucleus unified simulation framework includes multi-threaded nParticle collisions and nCloth self-collisions for faster performance, per-object local gravity and wind for greater control over Nucleus forces, and rigid nCloth shells for small-scale destruction effects.
The addition of Effects Assets provide a wide range of easy-to-use, customizable effects, including fire, smoke, explosion, dust trail, melt, and fireworks.
For the Autodesk Maya Entertainment Creation Suites, Dynamics and Effects provides single-step Softimage ICE interoperability which lets you take advantage of the ICE (Interactive Creative Environment) to create effects for your Maya scenes.
Rendering and Render Setup
You can now easily create render pass nodes through the Hypershade and view the output of these passes directly in the Render View. Furthermore, you can create basic compositing graphs using render passes, render targets, and standard Maya shading utility nodes, and visualize the result directly in the Render View or via a batch render.
New Viewport 2.0 features include improved support for most parts of Maya, for example, manipulators, tools, shapes, and nodes. New effects such as screen-space ambient occlusion, motion blur, depth of field and multisample anti-aliasing are also included.
Two new performance options are provided for Viewport 2.0: Use Vertex Animation Cache and Thread Dependency Graph Evaluation.
You can also preview Ptex textures assigned to any standard Maya shading network texture input in Viewport 2.0.
In addition, the new Maya Hardware 2.0 renderer allows you to perform command line rendering for Viewport 2.0, or to batch render to disk or to Render View.
Beginning Maya 2012, you can use the new extension attributes feature to add attributes to a given node class so that they appear as static Maya attributes.
The API Guide and API reference are now a separate part of the Maya help and includes new features such as: more links from the API Guide to API elements such as classes and functions, and color coded syntax in example code in the API Guide.
You can now send new scene data or updates to currently open scenes from Maya to Softimage, MotionBuilder or Mudbox. You can access the new one-click options from the File menu.
File > Send to Softimage
File > Send to MotionBuilder
File > Send to Mudbox
New options added to cmdScrollFieldExecutor command
New options have been added to the cmdScrollFieldExecutor command, including: a case sensitive replace all, a flag to query the total number of lines, and a flag to enable wrapping of the search function.
Improvement with MDGContext matrix evaluation: evaluating of multiple matrices within the same frame time is improved.
Two new options have been provided to improve performance with Viewport 2.0: Use Vertex Animation Cache and Thread Dependency Graph Evaluation. See Renderer > Viewport 2.0 for more information.
Performance optimizations reduce save times for Maya Ascii (.ma) files, particularly for scenes containing large meshes.
Updates to the Project Window
Primary and secondary project locations
When you create a new project from the Project Window, Maya now organizes project files into primary and secondary project locations. Primary project locations provide directories for essential project data such as scene files, texture files, and rendered image files. Secondary project locations are sub-directories created in the primary locations to provide additional project management.
You can specify different locations for each primary project directory and secondary project sub-directories, as well as provide custom directory names. A new browse feature lets you quickly navigate to the desired location for each project directory.
Translator and custom data locations
The Project Window also provides customizable directories for translator data. You can use the default locations or specify custom locations that better correspond to your production pipeline.
You can also add new custom directories to your Maya project using the Add new file rule command.
Track selection order
Selection type effects active
Namespace Editor improvements
Other improvements include:
List Contents now displays the list of objects in a pop-up window rather than just in the Script Editor window.
Select All Empty makes it easy to select and operate on all empty namespaces.
Collapse to Child removes empty ancestor namespaces.
Set Current provides a visual indicator and control for the current namespace.
Retry missing reference files
Send Objects to Mudbox
You can now send objects from Maya to Mudbox using the Send To options from the File menu. Once you have modified an object in Mudbox, you can then send it back to Maya.
The one-click functionality allows you to send various forms of data, including meshes and UVs on meshes, to Mudbox. This data can be sent as a new scene or as an update to an existing scene.
The Send to options for Maya is a feature of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites.
Edit Mesh updates
There are several new Edit Mesh menu updates, including:
Project Curve on Mesh
The Project Curve on Mesh option, which allows you to project curves onto a polygon surface.
The Split Mesh with Projected Curve option, which allows you to split and detach edges on a polygon surface.
The Interactive Split Tool, which allows you to split faces on a polygon mesh.
The new Curve options in the Extrude Face Options window, which allow you to generate and position a curve automatically.
There are new sliders associated with the Show Manipulator Tool, which allow you to modify thickness, offset and division values. See Extrude a polygon face edge or vertex.
Editable motion trails
New editable motion trails let you preview your animation and interactively adjust keyframes within the 3D scene. Motion trails provide a visual representation of keys right around your animated models, letting you adjust the timing, keys, tangents, and position of animation directly.
See Motion trails, Create an editable motion trail and updated Motion Trail Options.
Graph Editor improvements
Several new options and preferences have been added to the Graph Editor to enhance curve editing workflows. In particular, animators who work with multiple Autodesk applications can expect increased consistency across curve editing tools. Graph Editor improvements include:
Adjacent key snapping
A new preference lets you set neighboring keys to automatically align as you edit. Depending on your keyframe editing style, keep Snap Values to Adjacent Keys enabled to make similar, adjacent keys snap to identical values. See Snap Value to Adjacent Keys and Snap keys.
Auto tangent type
As you move keyframes in the graph view, Auto tangents can automatically self-adjust to ensure smooth transitions, without overshooting maximum and minimum values. Auto tangents can save animators valuable time when roughing out animation, as tangents are naturally adjusted to avoid creating spikes.
This tangent type is common to several other Autodesk applications, and is the new default tangent type for new keys (set as the Default in tangent and Default out tangent in your Animation preferences).
Isolate selected curves
Scale multiple keys
The new Region tool provides a simple, more visual mechanism for scaling multiple keys in time and value. Select the Region Tool from the Graph Editor toolbar, select the region of curves you want, then drag the region handles to scale. See Region Tool and Scale keys or Scale curves.
Simplified toolbar option
The View menu now includes a Classic Toolbar option which toggles the Graph Editor between the classic, full toolbar, and a more simplified toolbar that displays a smaller set of options. Switching off Classic Toolbar gives animators who primarily use Maya as part of a suite a more streamlined display of curve editing tools. See Classic Toolbar.
In addition, several Graph Editor icons have been refreshed for this release.
Single-click curve editing
A new Left Mouse Button Alters Selections preference, on by default, lets you adjust selected keyframes with a single click. With this preference enabled, you can simply click and drag to move a selected keyframe in the graph view area. This keyframe manipulation mode will be familiar to animators who already use curve editing tools in other Autodesk products such as MotionBuilder. See Left Mouse Button Alters Selections and Use single-click curve editing.
Tangent type feedback
The Graph Editor now provides visual feedback on the tangent type of selected keys. If all selected keys have the same tangent type, the appropriate tangent icon is highlighted in the Graph Editor toolbar. If the selected keys have different tangent types, no feedback displays.
Camera Sequencer updates
Create an ubercam to playback all camera shots in a sequence using a single camera. See Create a single camera for all shots in a sequence.
When you create an ubercam, the Camera Sequencer bakes camera parameters from each shot to this single camera, letting you conserve camera switches. If you modify the source cameras in your shots, simply recreate the ubercam to update.
Shot Playlist window
The new Shot Playlist window lets you quickly edit camera shot parameters, such as shot length or the camera used. See Playlist and Change the length of a shot, and Change the camera in a camera shot.
Additional Playblast options
Resolution Width and Resolution Height added to Playblast Sequence options
Offscreen render option for playblasting (Playblast Shot, Playblast Sequence, and Re-playblast Shot Options)
(Windows and Linux only) You can now add multiple audio tracks to a sequence. See Add audio to a sequence.
Interoperability with Autodesk Smoke
Several enhancements to the Camera Sequencer let you produce XML files that can be imported in Autodesk Smoke.
Synchronized Channel Box, Graph Editor, and Time Slider
Two new items in the Channels menu of the Channel Box let you set whether to synchronize your selections in the Channel Box to the Graph Editor and Time Slider. When Sync Timeline Display is on, selecting channels in the Channel Box also filters the Time Slider to display only keys for those channels, and only those selected channels are keyed if you set a keyframe. When Sync Graph Editor Display is on, only curves for those selected channels display in the Graph Editor.
Craft Animations plug-in
Maya now includes pre-rigged models of two cars and two planes from Craft Animations, as well as the Craft SoftMotionCam, ObserverCam, MultiStateCam, and HumanizerCam camera rigs.
You can use the vehicle rigs to quickly set up your existing vehicle models for animation, control the vehicles using custom input devices, and record keyframe animation of the vehicle actions and your camera rigs.
Motion capture samples
The Visor window now includes additional motion capture example files that you can use with the character animation retargeting tools.
To find the mocap examples, open the Visor (Window > General Editors > Visor) and switch to the Mocap Examples tab. The additional files are organized under male and female character groupings in the navigation panel.
New HumanIK character setup tools
Two new character setup tools improve your HumanIK character workflow. These tools are designed to build on the existing HIK retargeting workflows, and add new features for keyframers, such as keying groups and rig synchronization.
Select Window > Animation Editors > HumanIK to access these new tools, along with the existing Skeleton Generator tool.
The new Characterization Tool provides character animators with an improved, more visual tool for mapping and defining the structure of HumanIK characters. See Characterization Tool.
Designed to allow a streamlined, consistent workflow with other Autodesk applications, the Characterization Tool helps to enhance your HumanIK character animation pipeline, with improved error reporting and an intuitive, visual interface.
Character Controls window
The new Character Controls window gives you a visual interface for interacting with the FK and IK effectors on your Control rigs. See Character Controls.
The Character Controls let you activate different manipulation and keying modes depending on whether you want to work on the entire body, specific body parts, or only the current selection. The Figure representation gives you constant visual feedback on which parts of the character are active for keying, reach and pull values.
Other controls let you quickly pin and unpin Control rig effectors, create auxiliary and pivot effectors, and adjust the reach and pull properties between a Control rig and its retargeting source.
MotionBuilder interoperability is a feature of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites.
Improved joint orientation behavior when moving joints
Export and import deformer weights
ICE Interoperability for Maya
Maya now includes a one-click interoperability workflow that lets you transfer data between Maya and Softimage. Using Send to commands, you can export a scene to Softimage, add a Softimage ICE particle or deformation effect, then send the scene back to Maya.
ICE interoperability for Maya lets you take advantage of the ICE (Interactive Creative Environment) to create effects for your Maya scenes.
ICE interoperability for Maya is a feature of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites.
New Nucleus node attributes
Maya 2012 includes the following new Nucleus node attributes:
The Nucleus node now includes Transform Attributes and other Maya transform node properties. You can now create parent-child relationships with other objects in your scene. When you parent the transform node to another object, the simulation takes place in the local space of the Nucleus node, rather than in worldspace. A Use Transform attribute enables the transform properties.
When Use Transform is on, you can set the Transform Attributes attributes to specify the scene location of the Nucleus gravity and wind. The bounding box at the location defined by the Translate X, Y, and Z values determine the area affected by the Nucleus forces.
When on, arrows appear in the scene to display the location and direction of Nucleus Gravity and Wind. Visibility also displays the location of the Nucleus plane when the Use Plane attribute is on.
PhysX for Maya plug-in
Maya now includes the NVIDIA® PhysX® for Maya plug-in which lets you take advantage of using GPU-accelerated physics simulations in your Maya scenes. The plug-in lets you create dynamic, kinematic, and static rigid bodies from meshes created in Maya. You can then join the rigid body objects with PhysX constraints.
The PhysX plug-in also includes kinematic ragdoll simulations and APEX Clothing.
PhysX for Maya is available for Windows systems only.
Digital Molecular Matter plug-in for Maya
The DMM (Digital Molecular Matter) plug-in for Maya from Pixelux Entertainment™ is now included with Maya 2012. The plug-in helps you create highly realistic shatter, destruction, and deformation simulations that can include multiple interacting materials. The DMM plug-in available with Maya is a full-feature version with some simulation limitations.
A number of new Liquids attributes let you generate fluid effects that look and behave like real liquids.
These new attributes include:
New liquid simulation methods let you select a solver that best suits your effect. When Enable Liquid Simulation is on, you can select either Liquid and Air or Density Based Mass as your Liquid Method.
Liquid Min Density
Specifies the density value at which the solver differentiates between liquid and air when the Liquid and Air simulation method is used. Liquid densities are calculated as incompressible fluids while air is fully compressible.
Liquid Min Density
Liquid Mist Fall
Applies a downward force to areas in the fluid that have density lower than the value specified by the Liquid Min Density attribute. When Liquid Mist Fall is set to 0, no force is applied. Increasing the attribute value increases the strength of the downward force.
Defines the relationship between mass and fluid density when the Density Based Mass simulation method is used. At high Mass Range values, dense regions in the fluid are much heavier than the empty regions, simulating a relationship similar to water and air.
Applies a force that simulates surface tension based on the density in the grid. Tension Force is similar to Density Tension, but rather than modifying density values, Tension Force modifies momentum by adding small amounts of velocity to the fluid.
You can use Tension Force with Density Tension to create realistic surface tension in your liquid effect.
Smooths ranges of density into round shapes, making the density boundaries more defined in the fluid. You can use Density Tension to create effects that are similar to surface tension in liquids.
Density Pressure and Density Pressure Threshold
Applies an outward force to counter the compression that Forward Advection can apply to fluid density, particularly along container boundaries. In this way, the attribute attempts to conserve the overall fluid volume with no density loss. For example, in a water tank simulation, fluid may appear to collapse or drain without sufficient Density Pressure.
Density Pressure Threshold specifies the density value at which Density Pressure is applied on a per voxel-basis. For voxels that have density lower than Density Pressure Threshold, no Density Pressure is applied.
Density Pressure and Density Pressure Threshold can also be used with the default fluid solver method when Enable Liquid Simulation is off.
Fluid Output Mesh performance improvements and additions
Maya 2012 includes meshing performance improvements and new output mesh attributes.
Using Mesh Method, you can now choose the type of polygon mesh used to generate your fluid output mesh.
Mesh Smoothing Iterations
You can apply smoothing iterations to your output mesh to increase quality and uniformity of its surface.
Fluids output mesh performance improvements
Maya 2012 includes performance improvements when converting an fluid object to a polygon mesh. These improvements are most noticeable when using Triangle Mesh or Quad Mesh as the Mesh Method.
Sets the amount of air required to completely burn a set volume of fuel. For example, to burn a volume of gasoline requires 15 times more air than fuel. To simulate a gasoline fire, set Air/Fuel Ratio to 15.
You can access Air/Fuel Ratio from the Fuel section of the Contents Details attributes.
Pressure and Pressure Threshold
A new Pressure attribute has been added to the Temperature grid to simulate the effect of temperature on gases. The Pressure attribute simulates the increase in pressure that results when a gas gets hotter and quickly expands.
Pressure Threshold specifies the temperature value at which Pressure is applied on a per voxel-basis. For voxels that have temperature lower than Pressure Threshold, no Pressure in applied.
You can access Pressure and Pressure Threshold from the Temperature section of the Contents Details attributes.
Auto Resize Margin
Auto Resize Margin specifies the number of empty voxels added between the fluid container boundary and regions of positive density in the fluid. Auto Resize Margin lets fluids flow more naturally near auto-resized boundaries and is useful for fast-moving and low density fluids.
Auto Resize Margin
Auto Resize In Substeps
A new Resize In Substeps attribute lets you resize a fluid container each substep. In previous versions of Maya or when Resize in Substeps is off, fluids only resize one voxel per simulation step. With Emit In Substeps on, fast moving fluids resize more accurately especially when a higher number of substeps are used.
Emit In Substeps
A new Emit In Substeps allows fluid emission to be computed each substep rather than once per step. Emit In Substeps is useful for effects that have fast emission speeds such as explosions.
Fluid playback improvements
With improvements to the fluid interactive draw, fluid effects now play back faster. Better performance is most noticeable when playing back textured fluids or cached fluid effects. The interactive draw improvements also provide faster real-time manipulation (tumble, dolly, rotate) of fluid containers, particularly when using internal lighting (Real Lights turned off) for the effect.
Rigid nCloth shells
You can now apply Rigidity and Deform Resistance to the individual polygon shells that make up your nCloth mesh. When meshes made from individual polygon shells are converted to nCloth, a new Use Polygon Shell attribute enables Rigidity and Deform Resistance on each shell. The shells then behave as individual rigid objects in simulations.
Use Polygon Shells is useful for creating simple destruction and other rigid self-colliding effects.
Local Force and Local Wind
You can use Local Force to reduce or increase the effects of gravity on specific nCloth objects, making the garments appear lighter or heavier than other articles of a character's clothing. By adding Local Wind, you can create gusts of wind that act on specific areas of a character's clothing such as a flowing cape.
Collide Last Threshold
Input Motion Drag
Using Input Motion Drag, you can now apply a force to an nCloth which is based on the motion of an animated input mesh. This force is derived from the difference between the current velocity of the nCloth object and the velocity of its animated input mesh. An Input Motion Drag value of 1 means that the force will cause nCloth object to follow the same path as its input mesh. An Input Motion Drag value of 0 has no effect on the nCloth object. You do not need to have Inpu
nCloth performance improvements
Additional Nucleus solver threading improves the performance of nCloth simulations. Better performance is most noticeable when playing back simulations with multiple nCloth objects connected to the same Nucleus solver. In this case, computations for self-colliding surfaces and stretch resistance are threaded.
A number of attributes have been added to the list of paintable nCloth properties. You can now can use the Paint nCloth Attributes Tool to create vertex maps and texture maps for the following attributes:
Bend Angle Dropoff
nMesh Paint Vertex Properties
nMesh Paint Texture Properties
nMesh Convert Texture to Vertex Map
nMesh Convert Vertex to Texture Map
Dynamic Properties Maps
nParticle performance improvements
Additional Nucleus solver threading improves the performance of nParticle collision detection, making large nParticle simulations faster particularly when Enable Liquid Simulation is on, and when nParticles are colliding with other Nucleus objects..
Local Force and Local Wind
New Local Force and Local Wind attributes let you apply gravity and wind to individual nParticle objects. These forces are applied locally and do not affect other Nucleus objects that are assigned to the same solver.
Particle color emission enhancements
You can now use the Texture Emission Attributes, such as Inherit Color or Inherit Opacity to color particles emitted from all emitter types. In previous versions of Maya, these attributes can only be used with Surface emitters. To use Inherit Color, Inherit Opacity, or Inherit Incandescence, you must disconnect the corresponding internal shading ramp from the nParticleShape node. To do this, in the Per-Particle (Array) Attributes, right-click on the per-particle attribute, and select Break Connection.
These enhancements are also supported by Maya classic particles.
New Viewport 2.0 features
New Viewport 2.0 features include improved support for most parts of Maya, for example, manipulators, tools, shapes, and nodes.
Two new performance options are provided: The Use Vertex Animation Cache option provides more interactive scrubbing of your animation, and the Thread Dependency Graph Evaluation option provides better performance by evaluating separate characters in separate threads.
New API support for plug-in shapes, hardware shaders, and locators is provided. Approximated support in the viewport is provided for mia_material_* shaders and other mental ray shaders. New effects include screen-space ambient occlusion, motion blur, depth of field and multisample anti-aliasing.
In addition, the new Maya Hardware 2.0 renderer allows you to perform command line rendering for Viewport 2.0, or to batch render to disk or to Render View. You can access the Hardware 2.0 renderer from the Render View window, the Render Settings window, the Script Editor, via the command line renderer, or by selecting Render > Batch Render.
Previewing your composite in the Render View
You can now easily create render pass nodes through the Hypershade and view the output of these passes directly in the Render View. Furthermore, you can create basic compositing graphs using render passes and standard Maya shading utility nodes, and visualize the result directly in the Render View or a batch render using the new render target node.
Vector displacement maps
Connect a vector displacement map to your shading group in Maya to create complex sculpted surfaces with displacement in arbitrary directions; for example, to create undercuts or overhanging features. You can create vector displacement maps in Mudbox or any comparable software.
You can use this feature with any Maya or mental ray shader; however, you cannot visualize vector displacement maps in the scene view, and you must render using mental ray for Maya.
Support for Ptex textures
Maya 2012 provides you with the ability to preview Ptex textures assigned to any standard Maya shading network texture input in Viewport 2.0.
new mental ray Rendering book
All mental ray shading and rendering documentation has now been moved to the new mental ray Rendering book. mental ray specific nodes and attributes descriptions have been moved to the mental ray node attributes chapter.
mental ray Rendering
mental ray support for compressed .tif files
mental ray for Maya now supports input of LZW compressed .tif texture files.
EXR version 1.7 support
The EXR version 1.7 support of channel names of length 252 characters is available in Maya 2012. To utilize this option, create and set the MAYA_EXR_LONGNAME environment variable to 1. You must ensure, however, that any other applications you are using also support this standard.
Beginning with Maya 2012, you can use the new extension attributes feature to add attributes to a given node class so that they appear as static Maya attributes.
You can add or remove extension attributes via the API MDGModifier class. Alternatively, you can do so using the MEL/Python addExtension and deleteExtension commands.
New API Help features
The API Guide and API reference are now a separate part of the Maya help and can be found at http://www.autodesk.com/maya-sdkdoc-2012-enu. In addition, the API Help includes the following new features:
More links from the API Guide to API elements, for example, classes and functions.
Color coded syntax in example code in the API Guide.
API Reference included in table of contents.
Maya Help on Autodesk.com
Starting this release the Maya Help is being published to the Autodesk.com website. By default, Maya 2012 calls the help from a web location to provide you with the latest documentation available. This shift to publishing directly to the web means we can provide regular updates and additions to content in an ongoing manner. This change also significantly reduces the footprint of locally installed data to your machine and makes the install and uninstall of Maya quicker.
A download version of the 2012 Maya Help will be available for those who prefer a local copy.
Maya Learning Channel on YouTube
A dedicated Autodesk Maya Learning Channel is now available on YouTube, providing trusted content authored by Autodesk. The channel streams videos on various workflows, features, and interoperability topics. New videos are posted regularly; subscribe to the channel to receive notification.