Autodesk Announces a Fresh Maya 2018 Ahead of Siggraph

Siggraph comes around every year and every year we look forward to some new software releases. This year, just ahead of show, Autodesk has announced the release for Maya 2018.

Like most Maya releases, there is a lot that is packed into a lot of areas, modeling, animation, motion graphics. The focus of this release has been to making Maya faster in the areas where it lags, and more stable in the areas where it is needed. “We’ve continued to focus on helping artists work faster and more efficiently. If you remember nothing else, think fast and stable.” The Maya team writes.

Of course any application will still crash at times, but as pointed out by Burkhard Rammner from “Crashing Maya gives now the stack trace of the last function calls in the output window, wooooo…”

“We’ve heard you and I asked the team to shift gears to really emphasize a stable, anchor release. We understand how important stability is to our Maya community, so we’ve put a focus directly on crushing bugs based heavily on your feedback. Maya 2018 includes hundreds of bug fixes to deliver a better overall experience.”

Maya 2018 UV’s

The latest version for Maya sees some effort put into making the art of UV’s feel faster and more automated. There are some new tools for working with UV’s for stacking similar shells and automatically redistributing UV’s for more even spacing, and the ability to constrain UV translation along edges.

Modeling Improvements

Maya’s product manager, TJ Galda says: “We traveled the world listening to modelers at studios big and small. Then we got to work and built a bunch of new features”. There is now topological support for symmetry, including top-level symmetry control. Tools in the modeling toolkit, like Bridge can now make use of symmetry and bridge tow sides of a character at the same time, for instance. There has also been some work put towards refining the shape authoring workflow in Maya 2018.

Hard-surface molders will be pleased to know a new Circularize tool can easily drop rounded topology into selected faces.

Retopology Annoyances Squashed

There are some really nice improvements to Quad Draw for retopology in Maya. Likely the most annoying thing about retopology was the visibility of new polygons on live surfaces. Now quad draw overlays are far more visible when working, in the majority of situations that you will encounter. There are also some nice added controls for the color and transparency of the quad draw mesh, as you draw.

Now, activating the quad draw tool when you have an object selected, instantly lets you use that object for retopology, saving a few steps. You can also jump into quad draw faster by using the new hotkeys. Ctrl + Shift + Q to activate the Quad Draw Tool or Ctrl + Shift + X to activate the Multi-Cut Tool while doing retopo.

Motion Graphics Toolkit Now Includes Dynamics

MASH, for the first time, combines rigid-body dynamics with procedural instancing. You can now use simple and easily managed dynamic properties with constraints on a large number of instances. It only takes a few clicks to get thousands of objects acting dynamically with forces and collisions.

Arnold 5

Maya 2018 comes with Solid Angle’s Arnold 5 as the built in renderer. Arnold 5 has some amazing features such as better samplers, shaders, and faster overall speeds.

Visit the Maya documentation for a complete list of what is new for Maya 2018