The Maya team is happy to introduce our latest release, Maya 2019. This release has a lot of great updates in it, and almost everything is based directly on user feedback.
We want to give a huge shout out and thank you to our beta community. Without your help this would have been a very different release.
If you want to be involved and have a say in the next release, join our User Ideas forum for Maya. You can submit your ideas, upvote other submissions, and discuss with our product team.
Here are the highlights:
· Fast animation – Cached Playback gives animators serious speed improvements in the playback of animation in the viewport. You’re going to have more fun animating and waste a lot less time waiting for Playblasts.
· A beautiful working environment – With Arnold updates in Viewport 2.0, artists get to work on content that looks beautiful and, if you’re rendering with Arnold, is much closer, visually, to the final render. Less guess work and preview renders!
· Faster Maya – Maya 2019 incorporates a lot of updates to performance from a huge variety of areas and based on lots of user feedback. We think almost every artist working in Maya is going to notice a big different in their day-to-day work.
If you’re an animator, we think you’re really going to like Cached Playback - a new background process that drastically increases the speed of animation playback directly in the viewport.
You’re used to the regular way of animating – animate a bit, then go get a coffee while you wait for a playblast so you can see what your change looks like at your target framerate. Cached Playback speeds up animation playback so much that you can use playback directly in the viewport to evaluate your animations. We think you’re going to be playblasting a lot less.
This isn’t just a regular geometry cache. Maya is continuously evaluating your scene, rigs, and skin bindings in the background and caching each frame into memory. When you hit play, it simply plays back the cached frames from memory, so you get a better frame rate than if Maya needed to calculate it when you hit play. And, it’s doing this intelligently, so it won’t re-cache frames if no changes have affected them, only the ones where you’ve made changes that need to be updated.
The upside of this compared to a normal geometry cache is that you can keep working while the cache is happening in the background, so it’s much more interactive and there is less waiting time. And it’s better than a Playblast since you can evaluate your animation from any angle or zoom level as it plays back, giving you a much more comprehensive review.
What you need to know
· Cached Playback is turned on by default and put into “Evaluation Mode”, which we’ve made to optimize settings for most animators.
· If you have a lot of system memory, or maybe a really nice GPU, it’s easy to adjust the settings that specify how Cached Playback evaluates your scene, so it’s optimized for your hardware. If you want, you can also change the directionality of the evaluation, how much memory is allocated to Cached Playback, and a few other things.
· You can watch as Cached Playback evaluates your scene in real-time – it shows up by default as a blue status indicator bar in the timeline. As you make edits to your scene, you can see the indicator bar change colors as it re-evaluates the frames where there were changes made. You change colors/size of the UI in the settings.
We’re still working on Cached Playback so stay tuned for refinements. For now, there are a few things you should know about where it excels and where it still needs some work.
We don’t currently support:
· Smooth mesh preview
· The Time Editor
…and a few other things. Full list here.
Here are a few other tips and considerations for Cached Playback:
• Cached Playback can take advantage of large amounts of system memory or a really nice GPU. If you aren’t sure what’s in your system, it’s worth asking your IT guy. That one setting change can make a big difference.
• Do you hide large parts of your scene to make your playback smoother? Try un-hiding things so you can work more in-context with your scene.
• Cached Playback can handle a lot, but you’ll still eventually hit hardware limits. Try reducing the number of frames in your timeline first, instead of hiding parts of your scene to optimize.
• Read about the details of Cached Playback in the documentation.
• Watch some tutorial videos on the Maya Learning Channel.
• Blue Sky Studios works to adopt new technology to improve the quality of their films. See their impressions of Cached Playback here.
A beautiful working environment
Waiting for final renders can be time consuming and creatively frustrating. The Arnold standard surface shader has been improved in Maya 2019 so that what you see in the viewport is a lot closer to the final result you’re going to get from an Arnold render. Illumination and reflections are also real-time in Viewport 2.0.
Naturally, this makes your working environment a lot better since you can get a good idea of how the content will look straight in the viewport instead of waiting on a preview render.
A Faster Maya
We’ve taken a lot of feedback about the performance of Maya over the last few releases and in Maya 2019 we’ve made performance improvements in a lot of areas. Maya 2019 is faster in several different areas, in ways that more artists will notice in their everyday work:
· Faster loading of scenes that have MetaData
· Faster loading and interaction for scenes with hidden objects
· Faster material and texture load time
· Faster selection performance improvement in Viewport 2.0
· Faster pre-select highlighting on dense meshes
· Faster snapping performance in Viewport 2.0
Refining Animation Data
The Graph Editor gets two new filters to help refine animation curves, particularly helpful in motion capture situations.
The Butterworth filter smooths out curves for a more predictable result.
The Key Reducer creates a simpler, easier to use animation curve by assessing the keys and removing ones that are not needed to extrapolate movement.
Help for novice animators
Maya 2019 includes rigged and animated characters from RenderPeople.com. If you’re new to animation or just getting started, you can use these characters to start practicing your animation skills right away, instead of having to build a character from scratch yourself.
Maya 2019 has some important updates that will make it easier to for tools developers and pipeline directors to build it into a studio pipeline.
· Improved Selection API & new devkit examples for Viewport 2.0.
· The Maya devkit build has been migrated to CMake, enabling developers to use the IDE of their choice.
· WPF devkit example supports Workspaces.
Maya 2019 has a few key updates that are going to improve the lives of rigging and character TDs.