Introducing Maya 2020

By - - Maya
Last modification: 9 Dec, 2019


Maya 2020 adds new tools that empower artists throughout the production pipeline. Whether you’re focused on animation, rigging, modeling, or effects, we’ve packed a lot into this release to help you work faster and without creative limits, including over 60 animation updates, new simulation features in Bifrost, and the latest version of Arnold with the option to render on both the GPU and CPU.




First introduced with Maya 2019, Cached Playback is a background process which drastically increases the speed of animation playback, enabling you to evaluate iterations of animation right in the viewport, rather than producing multiple playblasts. Maya 2020 further refines Cached Playback with support for dynamics, image planes, smooth mesh previews, and custom plugins, as well as a new Ghosting preview.

Layered dynamics caching separates background processing of dynamics and the core animation within a scene. With dynamics caching on a secondary layer, you can continue working and see simulations like cloth and muscles running in real-time as you animate.

Image planes are now cached the same way as animation through Cached Playback. If a scene has a sequence of images applied onto an image plane, rather than loading the images during playback, Maya now stores the images directly in the evaluation cache, allowing for much faster playback.

Smooth Mesh Preview now uses less memory and runs previews on the GPU when possible. This is especially useful when working with dense, asset-heavy scenes where memory limits can be reached quickly.

Technical users can now set custom configurations for Cached Playback for the nodes they build. Different configurations and presets can be written to take full advantage of the flexibility of Cached Playback, allowing you to prioritize what gets cached and what doesn’t.

The new Ghosting preview allows you to see the appearance of past and future movements. This is useful when actively working on a scene that requires nuanced performance. Based directly on feedback from animators, we've also included the ability to tint your meshes and remove textures for clearer silhouettes.

Using new Animation bookmarks, you can now mark, navigate through, and organize specific events in time as well as easily zoom into playback ranges in the Time Slider. You can select start and end frames and assign different colors to bookmarks to identify them. Hovering over a bookmark clearly highlights the time it occupies in the Time Slider and displays any notes you've created.


There are many other features beyond the ones we've covered here. Check out the link above to read about new Audio features, tangent mode updates, color themes, Rivet command, new hotkeys, and more.




Arnold 6 is included with Maya 2020 and can now be used for production rendering on both the CPU and GPU. From look development to final frame rendering, Arnold 6 with Arnold GPU simplifies the process of creating and iterating on content, giving you the speed and flexibility to adapt to the ebbs and flows of production. Arnold’s intuitive interface makes it easy to toggle between CPU and GPU rendering, maintaining the same settings with a single click. Arnold GPU is based on NVIDIA’s OptiX framework and optimized to take advantage of NVIDIA RTX technology. You can even drag a box in the viewport and watch your render update as you work.




Hot on the heels of the first release of Bifrost for Maya at SIGGRAPH 2019, this latest update adds even more power to the new visual programming environment, including significant performance and stability improvements, support for Cached Playback, improved Arnold support, new MPM cloth constraints, more pre-built graphs to help artists get started, and over 100 bug fixes driven by user feedback.

UNC pack support, improved user experience, visual programming toolkit updates, Bifcmd improvements, and more.



It is now faster to interact with or select dense geometry or work with large numbers of smaller meshes in the viewport and UV editors. These changes result in a noticeable performance improvement that will help you see preselection faster and navigate more easily. Other common scenarios like relying on Isolate Select have also been sped up.



A new Remesh tool allows you to specify exactly where you need extra detail on a model by redefining the topology of any area on the mesh. With this update, you are also able to evenly re-triangulate the mesh at different densities, ensuring uniform distribution of faces.

The perfect companion to the Remesh tool, Retopologize makes it quick and easy to clean up meshes. Retopologize generates clean, new topology that preserves the original mesh shape while reconstructing the surface topology into evenly-distributed quads. The result is a deformable, production-friendly mesh that can continue moving down the pipeline.



New matrix-driven transform and operation nodes help reduce node and connection clutter in your scenes. Before this update, constraints in Maya did most computation as matrix math, then decomposed the result into scale, rotation, and translation channels to drive another transform. The driven transform then took those values and composed a matrix to compute its position. This new matrix-driven workflow allows you to skip the decomposition and composition steps, while also keeping the scale, rotation, and translation channels available for animation. As a result, riggers no longer have to create as many DAG nodes to give animators access to animate-able channels. As you can imagine, there’s a lot to this concept - make sure to check our documentation for more information.

Proximity and UV Pin nodes can be used to precisely track positions on deforming geometry. These nodes are especially useful for tasks like adding a prop to a character, such as sticking a button on a shirt, or setting up a simple constraint rig.

The new GPU-accelerated Proximity Wrap deformer brings better memory use and a significant performance boost to your workflows, making it easier to achieve smooth results.




Take a look back at how far we've come since Maya 2016

Once again, we want to give a huge shout out and thank you to our incredible beta community. Almost everything in this release is based on your feedback. Without your help, guidance, and feedback, it would be a very different release. If you want to be involved and have a say in our next release, join the Maya User Ideas forum. You can submit your ideas, upvote submissions by others, and chat with our team.



 Explore the latest updates to the Graph Editor in Maya 2020
  From matrix-driven workflows to the new wrap deformer, see how the latest rigging updates make the work of riggers and character TDs easier   Browse 50+ bite-sized tutorials covering the latest updates to the Graph Editor, Time Slider, hotkeys, and more


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Published In
  • Maya
  • Bifrost
  • Film & VFX
  • Games
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| 2 years ago
Hi Bernard, we just posted our first Python 3 preview to our Maya beta community & are actively having feedback right now. :)
| 2 years ago
Python 3?