Hi Maya people!
It looks like I am –long- overdue for a blog post. It’s been a busy year and I just haven’t been able to keep up :( However that is going to change over the coming weeks and months now that Maya 2016 has officially been announced and released! There is a ton of new and cool stuff to talk about.
For a full list of “what’s new” you can check out the main page. This should give you a good idea of the breadth of new features for various disciplines including: modeling, animation, rendering, FX and so on.
However there are often many smaller, although incredibly valuable improvements that can get lost in the broader strokes of the marketing material. So I want to start the season off by sharing some of the more granular info around modeling and UV editing improvements in Maya 2016. As you’ve seen over the last few releases, we have really refocused our efforts towards extending and in some cases simply fixing many of the modeling tools and workflows in Maya. It has been a multi-year, multi-release effort that began around the Maya 2014 timeframe and was anchored around the acquisition of the NEX modeling toolkit. The goal was to take the functionality that was in NEX and over time, not only fully integrate it as native tools, but also enhance and extend it. So beyond continued integration of the Modeling Toolkit, you saw things like rewriting of the Bevel tool, Poly Reduce and Booleans, along with major enhancements to tools like Multi-cut, Quad Draw and Shrink Wrap, as well as general workflows like Symmetrical Modeling and Open-SubDiv.
Now in Maya 2016 the Modeling Tool-kit (aka NEX) integration has been completed. This includes some general consolidation of the Hotkeys, Tool Options and Marking Menus, as well as true integration of things like transform and selection constraints.
In addition we’ve also added new features such as In View Editors for modeling operations, as well as enhancements to lower level functionality for things like symmetry, pivots, transforms and component display.
Not only that but we have added a brand spanking new sculpting toolset based directly on the Mudbox brush engine, with 18 new brushes as well as support for workflows like freezing, stamps, steady stroke, surface constraint and more.
Having a modern scuplting toolset integrated directly into Maya not only has many inherent benefits, but also includes some cool new workflows around BlendShape creation.
Open Subdiv modeling has also seen a number of improvements primarily focused on performance.
Last but not least we have made some great improvements to the UV editing workflow in Maya. This includes updates to the UV Editor itself, which has been overhauled to behave much like the 3D modeling views when it comes to seletion. There are also new tools for UV creation and editing such as Contour Stretch and the 3D UV Grab tool.
And finally we've also added of a new suite of artist friendly tools for interactively refining your UVs with an intuitive brush-based workflow.
Now... if that's not enough granularity for you I've posted a video that gos into even more! The following movie was provided by Trevor Adams, the Maya Modeling Product Designer who is largely responsible for all of the great new features and improvements you've all seen over the last several years. Hat's off to Trevor on a job well done! We should also tip our hat to Michael Todd who was the designer for many of the UV Editing improvements in Maya 2016.
But wait there's more!! If you just can't get enough modeling minutia then check out this doc (also provided by Trevor) that covers literally everything you would ever want to know about modeling improvements to Maya 2016. It's 15 pages of finely culled atomic detail :) Enjoy!