The latest version includes updates to MASH and core modeling tools, aiming to attract motion graphics artists and character animators to the package. A raft of virtual reality tools has also been included.
“Autodesk are continuing to develop and evolve Maya to adapt to the demands of the industry,” comments Graeme Pitt, head of software at Escape Technology. “These latest developments should enable artists to bring motion graphics and virtual reality into the mainstream in the coming months.”
Key new features
New sculpting toolset - sculpt directly onto rigged characters, and shape models more intuitively. The new set includes topological symmetry support, single top-level symmetry control, and vector displacement map stamps.
Timecode improvements - six new non-integer framerates are now supported in Maya, along with increased accuracy of 64-bit time precision.
Interactive grooming - building on the 2017 toolset, artists can sculpt and groom hair directly in the viewport and get immediate iterative feedback rather than waiting for a render.
MASH - rigid-body dynamics can be combined with procedural instancing, resulting in the ability to create complex arrangements of animated instances that can act dynamically. Further improvements also make it easier to create procedural animations and effects.
Rendering - Arnold 5 is included in Maya 2018, introducing better samplers, increased speed, and simplified workflows. It also comes with new physically accurate shaders.
Virtual Reality - Interop with Unreal and Unity using the Game Exporter. Maya artists can also use Alembic to send complex simulation data to game engines.