Autodesk has finally answered the prayers of animators around the world with their new “ultimate bromance” pack, also knows as the new Ultimate Suite, that brings together 3dsMax and Maya together for the first time into a nice package bundle.
Whether you want to call them the ultimate tag team, the ultimate bromance, or the ultimate dynamic duo, Maya and 3ds Max have come together in the Ultimate Suite to provide you with a complete set of tools that give you the flexibility to tackle any project, any time. With single-step workflows and the ability to create sophisticated effects in Softimage, real-time character animation in MotionBuilder, sculpting and texture painting in Mudbox, and 2D concept art in Sketchbook Designer, the Ultimate Suite offers a complete set of 3D creative tools that unleash your creativity.
Of course, such luxury isn’t cheap: Currently $8000 USD. But for that, you get Maya, 3dsMax, Softimage, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, Sketchbook, along with tools like Turtle, Face Robot, and more.
Most people know that Autodesk Maya will run on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux), but most people don’t know how to get a single Backburner install rendering across multiple platforms simultaneously. In a new video over at Maya Station he covers how to get Mac & Windows going together.
In this video I explain two key components to get this up and running. The first is setting the correct path to Maya’s render command so both Windows and Mac OS can use the same command when submitting the job. The second task here is to mount a samba drive on Mac OS. In the video I show a simple method of gettng this done but you will loose the mount at reboot. To keep the mount through reboot I suggest you lookingto launchctl command and how to use it.
It’s not a perfect tutorial, a bit fast in places and he trips over a few typos here and there. The steps he takes tho could probably work for getting a Linux machine in the loop as well.
At the recent “Autodesk University”, Infinite Z was there demonstrating their zScape product. They call it a “virtual holographic display”, but from watching their video I would say it’s somewhat like a Wacom Cintiq with a 3D Display: You use their laser-pen to interact with software but the visuals are displayed in stereoscopic 3d (requiring their glasses), enabling a new level of depth and interactivity to the experience.
Infinite Z says it is initially focused towards the digital/product design, scientific, medical, GIS/geospatial, and government markets. For now it ships only with drivers for Maya and Showcase, but Infinite Z says other software vendors are on board and the number of products zSpace supports will grow rapidly. A proof-of-concept zSpace demo for Autodesk Alias Design software also ships with the product.
Impressively, the system is available today for a mere $6,000 and works out-of-the-box with Autodesk Showcase and Maya. Check out their demo video below.
3dTotal has a nice “Making of” from brandon Martynowicz covering his impressive combination of Google, Maya, V-Ray, and more all into the image above.
I have put together a short “Making Of” of my latest personal piece, called Final Stand. This image was inspired by a quick pencil sketch I did a while back. A big part of creating this image was to keep practicing my skill-set, and to play with composition and lighting. I love doing personal projects because they give me the freedom to create what I envision, rather than being under constant art direction.
Professional animation tools like Mental Ray and various Autodesk products have been slowly making inroads into classic scientific visualization areas for the last several years, mostly due to their ability to add subtle realism details like refraction and diffuse light effects to renderings in ways not typically supported by scientific packages. Autodesk took a trip to the IGEM event, the International Genetically Engineered Machine event, and saw how Maya is being used in their work.
You may be asking yourselves why a scientific competition merits mention in a blog dedicated towards Maya, or even whether my coworkers stumbled into the wrong event. Our Research team has been driving a number of initiatives to study how Maya can benefit the synthetic biology and nanotechnology industries through collaboration with academic institutions and researchers. Maya is being used within the life and material sciences to create stunning visual simulations of molecular structures and behaviors.
Autodesk has a a nice case study online from Double Negative, discussing how they were able to use Autodesk Maya to create many of the effects in the Harry Potter franchise, focusing heavily on the latest and final chapter.
“We had a Dragon Team and a Hogwarts Team,” says Vickery. “They were almost like 2 separate production facilities in many ways. The complexity of the work on this film was so massive, with this incredible white dragon and a fully CG Hogwarts that had to be destroyed in epic fashion. It was such a big operation, in fact, that the filmmakers held a lot of the work back for the first installment of Deathly Hallows, mainly so we could build a well-oiled machine for the second part. Maya, of course, was a big part of that machine.”
Pixar’s got some nice news this week for SIGGRAPH, the release of RenderMan for Maya 5.0 coming up this fall. It’s got lots of the new features from RenderMan Pro Server 16 and a few new ones as well.
RenderMan for Maya 5.0 showcases fundamental advancements in RenderMan’s ray tracing technology, including a new ray tracing hider, a radiosity cache, and physically plausible shading. In combination these new features allow artists to take full advantage of today’s high performance multi-core architectures and create photorealistic images with minimal setup, all within the artist-friendly user interface of RenderMan for Maya. Additionally, the process of shading and lighting has been dramatically accelerated with new lighting tools, including the robust re-rendering technology used in Toy Story 3 and Cars 2, as well as progressive ray-traced re-rendering for real time look development.
RenderMan for Maya 5.0 will be available for only $995, but a new student package will be available for $199/year along with some nice free Courseware educational material.
V-Ray 2.0 brings some awesome features to the table, but hasnt’ made it out to the Maya crowd yet. In fact, they’ve just announced a new “Beta” program for Maya users, bringing all the V-Ray RT, Python callbacks, and fancy shaders to the users.
Hailed by many as the preeminent rendering engine for Maya, V-Ray for Maya is about to see a significant increase in power! On March 30th, the V-Ray for Maya 2.0 upgrade will begin its much anticipated Beta testing, with a tentative release at the end of April 2011.
Join the V-Ray 2.0 for Maya Beta Program and be among the first to test this advanced rendering technology for all Maya users. It’s your help and feedback that will make this product even better.
Not wanting to let NVidia get all the hype for their announcements at GDC this week, AMD also announced new features in the OpenCL space. One of interest to many is a new OpenCL-driven Bullet Physics plugin for Maya 2011.
“AMD is committed to collaborating with partners like Autodesk on industry standards and open-source software solutions that open up a world of vivid visual experiences,” said Janet Matsuda, general manager of AMD Professional Graphics. “This new plug-in will give CG content developers an open development path with OpenCL and a powerful solution for incorporating high-quality physics that offer realistic animation of how rendered objects move in a game or film.”
Unfortunately, it’s not standard with Maya2012 like the NVidia PhysX solution but it’s at least another option.
Autodesk has a big announcement today, the new Entertainment Creation Suite Premium 2012, including new versions of 3dsMax, Maya, Mudbox, and more! The new version a new multi-threaded graphics core, part of the “Project Excalibur” initiative . This gives you not only better performance, but better visuals during interactivity making the whole suite easier to use and faster to get to your desired objective.
“The first time I loaded a scene in 3ds Max 2012 I could see the soft lighting and shadows right in the viewport. This had the biggest impact on me. I suddenly felt more productive; like the barriers to my creativity were falling away,” said Stephen Lebed, 3ds Max beta tester and visual effects supervisor at MECHnology.
3dsMax will be available in April, with 3dsMax Design later this month. Get the full press releases for these products after the break.
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