Autodesk Announces Maya, Max, Mudbox for 2015

Today Autodesk announced the 2015 line up for their 3D animation software including Maya 2015. The announcement includes Mudbox, MotionBuilder, 3ds Max, Maya LT, and included in the list is the redheaded stepchild of the bunch, Softimage – Which as you have heard is being phased out and set for end-of-life.

Our strongest releases in many years, the 2015 versions put more creative power back into the hands of the artistsChris Bradshaw – senior vice president, Media & Entertainment at Autodesk

Maya 2015

There are some fairly huge features that have been run through right across the board, especially with the integration of tools like Bifrost, OpenSubdiv and ShaderFX. Bifrost representing the fruits of the implementation and integration of the Naiad fluid simulation technology that Autodesk purchased from Exotic Matter back in 2012.


Autodesk 2015 3D Animation Software Features at a Glance

Autodesk Maya 2015

  • Fully integrated Bifrost procedural effects platform
  • XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator
  • Geodesic Voxel Binding
  • ShaderFX
  • OpenSubdiv libraries integration
  • Enhanced polygon modeling

Autodesk 3ds Max 2015

  • Point cloud support
  • Python scripting
  • ActiveShade rendering enhancements
  • Accelerated viewport performance
  • ShaderFX
  • Enhancements to the scene management tools

Autodesk Softimage 2015

  • Alembic caching
  • Improved ICE performance and usability
  • Access to previously unexposed mental ray functionality
  • Support for mental ray progressive rendering
  • Single click cross-product CrowdFX workflows

Autodesk Mudbox 2015

  • Symmetry options for retopology and for existing meshes
  • Sculpt Layer and Paint Layer groups
  • New Caliper

MotionBuilder 2015

  • Ability to support consumer motion-capture devices
  • Advanced camera options to recreate aspects of real-world cinematography
  • Moves content library
  • Flexible marker assignment

Maya LT 2015

  • Cloud integration
  • Integration of tools simplify modeling
  • New skin binding technology
  • Walk Tool


Better Interoperability for 2015

Many of the Suites’ features are built upon existing data exchange workflows that help improve product interoperability and foster greater team collaboration across projects

  • The ability to exchange Ptex and multi-tile UV textures between Maya and Mudbox helps facilitate an iterative round-trip workflow between Mudbox and Maya.
  • Enhanced image plane matching between Maya and Mudbox allows artists to use the same reference image without having to readjust the image to match.
  • Export Blend Shapes with multiple targets or Blend Shapes from Maya into Mudbox for sculpting, and then merge them back into the original Maya scene.
  • Import MotionBuilder character animations created in Softimage in a single step and export CrowdFX simulations from Softimage to Maya for inclusion with scene elements in one click.


Maya 2015 Highlights


New to Maya 2015 is the integration of the OpenSubdiv Libraries. OpenSubdiv is a huge addition to Maya allowing Maya to take advantage of parallel GPU and CPU processing on Subdivision surfaces. These are the same OpenSubdiv libraries that were open-sourced by Pixar studios.

Voxel Binding

The Geometric Voxel Binding is a new skinning method that can bind geometry to joint skeletons. What makes Geodesic Voxel Binding unique is that it can handle really complex meshes easily. Geometric Voxel Binding first voxelizes the input geometry, and uses that voxelization to calculate the binding weights. This is based on the distance between each voxel lying on a bone and all exterior voxels. This produces much smoother weights really quickly – at interactive rates. Because the weighting assignment calculations are separate from the distance calculations, its possible to modify weights interactively at pose time without the need for additional processing.

Bifrost Effects

Certainly the integration of Bifrost into Maya 2015 as a procedural effects platform is a huge deal. The Naiad technology will allow artists to create photorealistic simulation and rendering of liquids right within Maya. All of the results from Bifrost can be viewed interactively in viewport 2.0, or rendered with the mental ray renderer, or mesh the liquid simulations to render in other renderers. The Bifrost liquid sims can also interact with animating emissions, collisions or influencer objects, allowing for great flexibility with animations and simulations together.

Modeling Enhancements

Some new enhancements have been issued into the modeling toolset in Maya 2015. Much work has gone into creating better performance and streamlining workflows. You can now retopologize high resolution meshes much more effectively in Maya. New Relax, Tweak and soft selections with the Quad Draw Tool make retopology much easier, and there is also a new interactive edge extend tool.


ShaderFX has been incorporated in both Maya and Max 2015. ShaderFX will offer game artists the ability to build advanced HLSL, GLSL, and CgFX viewport shaders with the ShaderFX realtime visual shader editor. Shaders can be created by the familiar click and drag node-connection workflow.


3ds Max 2015 Highlights


Point Clouds

Max gets support for point cloud data, streamlining the reality capture workflow with certain other Autodesk tools such as Autodesk ReCap, AutoCAD, Inventor, and Revit. With the new point cloud support in Max, you can now create more precise models from real world references.


3ds finally gets python scripting, making it easier to integrate 3ds into a python based pipeline environment.

ActiveShade Rendering

Enhancements have been made to ActiveShade with new support for mental ray, in addition to the iRay support. ActiveShade will let artists see instant results from lighting changes and materials, helping them work faster.


The viewport in Max has been completely re-written from the ground up and now offers a substantially faster experience, living up to the name “nitrous”. The viewport in Max has a number of improvements that will accelerate navigation, selection, and viewport texture baking, resulting in greater interactivity, especially with dense meshes and scenes with many texture maps. In addition, anti-aliasing can now be enabled with minimal impact on performance.



Product release dates vary by country.

Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, Entertainment Creation Suites, and Maya LT are also available in two configurations: as a perpetual license or desktop subscription. Details and license purchasing options are available via

About Autodesk

Autodesk helps people imagine, design and create a better world. Everyone—from design professionals, engineers and architects to digital artists, students and hobbyists—uses Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges. For more information visit or follow @autodesk.