SIGGRAPH 07: Autodesk shows new iterations of 3D modelling software and MotionBuilder gets Extended

2008 editions of 3ds Max and Maya unveiled

Autodesk has unveiled new 2008 versions of its 3ds Max and Maya 3D rendering software at SIGGRAPH.

While the apps boast a new naming convention – showing the software into line with the rest of the company’s graphics products – the real focus, said the company, was how its various applications were targeting increased efficiencies and productivity for games companies.

Development of Maya 2008, said Autodesk’s media and entertainment SVP Marc Petit, “placed considerable emphasis on raising the reliability bar higher than ever before".

The new version has been designed for multi-core workstations, with a faster modelling system for rapid creation, manipulation and placement of polygon models. While the product is designed for anyone working in making 3D assets, a lot of the changes have been implemented with developers in mind, explained Rob Hoffman, senior marking manager.

As many of the assets made in Maya are regularly destined for 360 and PS3, said Hoffman, Autodesk has added a new hardware shader API for DirectX and OpenGL, and continues to add features to its nCloth element.

Maya is also rolling out onto multiple formats, including Max OS X and Vista.

For 3ds Max the focus is on rendering large complex scenes and handling big 3D datasets. New viewport technology and quicker ways to manipulate polygons and asset structures have been added, along with a new review toolset and mental ray improvements.

“Autodesk 3ds Max 2008 provides an ideal environment for creating the complex 3D content demanded by today’s game, design visualisation, film, and television industries,” said Petit. “3ds Max 2008 dramatically improves artists’ productivity, enabling them to quickly achieve higher levels of visual sophistication through innovative modeling and interactive rendering capabilities.”

Meanwhile MotionBuilder 7.5 has been updated with Extension 2. New features include new actor, rigging and animation toolsets, plus increased speed. A new Biped Template lets users quickly rig a biped character, and also adds a finger solver for mocap data. The software is also rolling out to new formats including 64-bit Windows systems.

The new MotionBuilder extension is due later this month to platinum Autodesk customers; the new Maya and Max software is available in September and October respectively.

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