Exploring the Innovations of Maya 2024 Unleashing Creative Possibilities
Welcome to Autodesk Maya 2024! Read on to learn about the new features and updated workflows you’ll find in this release.
Accelerate content creation and elevate visual excellence using the latest features in Autodesk Maya. This version introduces LookDevX, a versatile material editor that facilitates material sharing across the pipeline. Additionally, a contemporary, node-based environment supports material graph authoring in USD, MaterialX, and Arnold. Autodesk Maya empowers artists further with enhanced modeling tools such as Retopologize and the Boolean toolset, while animation and rigging updates enhance the creative process. These improvements are also accessible in Autodesk Maya Creative.
Capabilities in Autodesk Maya
Updates to the Retopologize, Make Live, Quad Draw, Boolean, and Unsmooth workflows include interface and usability improvements that let modelers produce better results.
Model provided by: Christoph Schädl
Feature Preservation during Retopologize
The improved Retopologize Options offer ways to keep specific details during the process. You can preserve edges based on angles or use edge tags from the input mesh to guide the Retopologize mesh’s edge flow.
Retopologize with symmetry
Ensure balanced edge flow with new symmetry options during Retopologize (Mesh > Retopologize > ). With symmetry enabled, your geometry is pre-cut along the chosen axis for even results. This is handy for characters or objects needing mirrored topology, like chairs or gears.
LookDevX functions as a versatile material editor, facilitating consistent and portable material workflows. This tool permits seamless and precise sharing of materials across a pipeline and introduces a contemporary, node-based workspace for creating various materials like USDShade, MaterialX, and Arnold.
New Graph Editor Curve Sculpting Tools
Additional features are now available in the Graph Editor, offering an efficient and user-friendly method for manipulating shape keys and curves.
An example of the Graph Editor Curve Sculpting tools being used to modify animation
The Graph Editor’s Grab, Smooth, and Smear Curve Sculpting tools enable effortless shaping of key groups, allowing on-the-fly adjustments. For instance, in the animation above, subtle Y-axis shifts enhance the character’s jump arc, while also smoothing motion capture animation. Brush radius and strength can be adjusted using standard Maya brush hotkeys: B for size and M for pressure.
USD for Maya 0.22 plug-in
In this version, there are significant enhancements and stability improvements for various workflows, including those involving relative pathing and utilization of display layers with the updated Universal Scene Description (USD) plug-in for Maya.
The latest release of USD for Maya v0.22.0 is now accessible and compatible with your Maya 2024 installation. This updated plug-in version brings essential bug fixes, stability enhancements, and new features. It enhances workflows, like associating relative pathing of USD files to your Maya scene and advancing display layer support. For more details on the highlights, refer to the USD Release Notes. USD integration in Maya empowers artists to seamlessly combine USD with Maya workflows. The pre-built Maya USD open-source plug-in supports Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.
What’s new in Character Animation
Several updates have been made to Character animation workflows, from a tool for changing rotation order, support for multiple skin clusters, and a new way to view skin weights numerically.
Numeric weight visualization
In the past, Maya lacked a method to display precise weight values numerically within the Viewport. However, with the introduction of Weight Visualization settings in the Paint Skin Weights Tool, you now have the capability to exhibit weight influence in numerical terms. This offers an accurate means to comprehend the impact of weighting on nearby joints.
Support for multiple Skin Clusters
Now, you have the capability to apply multiple Skin Clusters to a single geometry, providing animators and riggers with expanded creative options. This allows you to stack deformations, such as having a layer for squash and stretch, another for kinematic movements, and even one for intricate details. Utilizing multiple skin clusters also permits diverse weight distribution, catering to various technical and artistic requirements. This includes exploring different methods like traditional painting and volumetric weighting.
Graph Editor Improvements
In response to customer input, additional tools have been introduced to enhance frequently used Graph Editor workflows.
New Key Scaling Widget
Scale Keys Tool: Manipulator option
A new enhancement eliminates the need for guesswork when using the Graph Editor Scale Keys tool. It introduces a Manipulator that displays key values as you drag, or you can directly enter a percentage in the value fields provided on the Manipulator box.
New Offset and Clamp Curves Settings
Offset Curves: Offset All and Playback ranges
The Graph Editor Curves menu now includes two new options: Offset Curves and Clamp Curves. These additions allow you to easily modify curve animation.
With Offset Curves, you can move a chosen animation segment by a set number of frames or to a particular position. Meanwhile, Clamp Curves allows you to restrict curve values from exceeding a specified threshold.
Arnold for Maya 5.3.0
Maya 2024 includes MtoA 5.3.0, featuring Arnold 126.96.36.199. This significant update enhances volume shading, viewport rendering, and offers Apple Silicon compatibility. Additionally, the physical sky feature has been improved, enabling the use of distinct sky and sun lights.
In conclusion, Maya 2024 introduces a host of powerful features and enhancements that streamline workflows, enhance creative possibilities, and improve the overall user experience. With new tools for modeling, animation, rendering, and more, Maya continues to be a leading choice for professionals in various creative industries.