Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya
Autodesk Maya
Autodesk Maya.svg
Autodesk Maya 2011 x64 Modeling a Lada.png
Autodesk Maya 2011 running on Windows 7 using realtime CGFX shaders
Original author(s) Alias Systems Corporation
Developer(s) Autodesk, Inc.
Initial release February 1998; 13 years ago (February 1998)
Stable release 2012 Service Pack 1 (12.0)
Development status Active
Written in C++,[1] MEL, Python[2]
Operating system Linux
Mac OS
Microsoft Windows
Platform x86, x64
Available in English
Type 3D Computer Graphics
License Proprietary

Autodesk Maya (play /ˈmɑːjə/), commonly shortened to Maya, is 3D computer graphics software that runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Linux, originally developed by Alias Systems Corporation (formerly Alias|Wavefront) and currently owned and developed by Autodesk, Inc. It is used to create interactive 3D applications, including video games, animated film, TV series, or visual effects. The product is named after the Sanskrit word Maya (माया māyā), the Hindu concept of illusion.[3]




Autodesk Maya 2010 App Icon.png

Maya was originally a next-generation animation product under development at Alias Research, Inc. based on code from The Advanced Visualizer, PowerAnimator and Alias Sketch!. The code was ported to IRIX and animation features were added. The codename for this porting project was Maya.[4] Walt Disney Feature Animation collaborated closely with Maya's development during its production of Dinosaur.[5] Disney requested that the User interface of the application be customizable so that a personalized workflow could be created. This was a particular influence in the open architecture of Maya, and partly responsible for it becoming so popular in the industry.

After Silicon Graphics Inc. acquired both Alias and Wavefront Technologies, Inc., Wavefront's next-generation technology (then under development) was merged into Maya. SGI's acquisition was a response to Microsoft Corporation acquiring Softimage, Co.. The new wholly owned subsidiary was named "Alias|Wavefront".[6]

In the early days of development, Maya started with Tcl as the scripting language, in order to leverage its similarity to a Unix shell language. But after the merger with Wavefront Sophia, the scripting language in Wavefront's Dynamation, was chosen as the basis of MEL (Maya embedded language).[7]

Maya 1.0 was released in February 1998. Following a series of acquisitions, Maya was bought by Autodesk in 2005.[8][9] Under the name of the new parent company, Maya was renamed Autodesk Maya. However, the name "Maya" continues to be the dominant name used for the product.


On March 1, 2003, Alias was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an Academy Award for Technical Achievement for scientific and technical achievement for their development of Maya software.

In 2005, while working for Alias|Wavefront, Jos Stam shared an Academy Award for Technical Achievement with Edwin Catmull and Tony DeRose for their invention and application of subdivision surfaces.[10]

On February 8, 2008 Duncan Brinsmead, Jos Stam, Julia Pakalns and Martin Werner received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement for the design and implementation of the Maya Fluid Effects system.[11][12]


Maya is an application used to generate 3D assets for use in film, television, game development and architecture. The software was initially released for the IRIX operating system. However, this support was discontinued in August 2006 after the release of version 6.5. Maya was available in both "Complete" and "Unlimited" editions until August 2008, when it was turned into a single suite.[13]

Users define a virtual workspace (scene) to implement and edit media of a particular project. Scenes can be saved in a variety of formats, the default being .mb (Maya Binary). Maya exposes a node graph architecture. Scene elements are node-based, each node having its own attributes and customization. As a result, the visual representation of a scene is based entirely on a network of interconnecting nodes, depending on each others information. For the convenience of viewing these networks, there is a dependency and a directed acyclic graph.


Since its consolidation from two distinct packages, Maya and later contain all the features of the now defunct Unlimited suites.

Fluid Effects
A realistic fluid simulator (effective for smoke, fire, clouds and explosions, added in Maya 4.5)
Classic Cloth
Cloth simulation to automatically simulate clothing and fabrics moving realistically over an animated character. The Maya Cloth toolset has been upgraded in every version of Maya released after Spider-Man 2. Alias worked with Sony Pictures Imageworks to get Maya Cloth up to scratch for that production, and all those changes have been implemented, although the big studios opted to use third party plugins such as Syflex instead of the (relatively) cumbersome Maya Cloth.
Animal fur simulation similar to Maya Hair. It can be used to simulate other fur-like objects, such as grass.
A simulator for realistic-looking human hair implemented using curves and Paint Effects. These are also known as dynamic curves.
Maya Live
A set of motion tracking tools for CG matching to clean plate footage.
Added in version 8.5, nCloth is the first implementation of Maya Nucleus, Autodesk's simulation framework. nCloth gives the artist further control of cloth and material simulations.
Added in version 2009, nParticle is addendum to Maya Nucleus toolset. nParticle is for simulating a wide range of complex 3D effects, including liquids, clouds, smoke, spray, and dust.
Added to Maya 2010, this enables compositing of CGI elements with motion data from video and film sequences.
Added to Maya 2010, this was earlier sold as Autodesk Toxik.
Camera Sequencer
Added in Autodesk Maya 2011, Camera Sequencer is used to layout multiple camera shots and manage them in one animation sequence.

Maya Embedded Language

Alongside its more recognized visual workflow, Maya is equipped with its very own cross-platform scripting language, fittingly called Maya Embedded Language. MEL, as it is often shortened to, is provided not only for scripting, but also as a means to customize the core functionality of the software, since many of the tools and commands used are written in it. Code can be used to engineer modifications, plug-ins or be injected into runtime. Outside these superficial uses of the language, user interaction is recorded in MEL, allowing even inexperienced users to implement subroutines. Scene information can thus be dumped, extension .ma, editable outside Maya in any text editor.

System requirements

Operating systems

Autodesk supports the Windows, Mac and Linux platforms; XP SP3 or later, respectively. As of Maya 2011, the software is 64-bit under Mac OS X.[14] On Linux, the supported distributions are Red Hat and Fedora, 64-bit. [15] While Autodesk acknowledges that the application is not limited to the aforementioned releases, such as the specific Linux distributions,[16] it does not support them.

Hardware requirements

Autodesk has published system requirements to run Maya at adequate performance. Both specifications are identical for both x32 and x64 platforms.[16]

Hardware Spec
Processor Intel® Pentium® 4 or higher, AMD Athlon™ 64, AMD Opteron™ processor, AMD Phenom™ processor
Video card Qualified hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics cards
Memory 2 GB, 4 GB for 64-bit OS
Hard drive 10 GB
Optical drive DVD-ROM
Internet browser Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, Apple Safari, or Mozilla Firefox

See also


  1. ^ List of C++ applications, maintained by C++ creator Bjarne Stroustrup
  2. ^ Matthias Baas (05-08-2006). "Python/Maya: Introductory tutorial". Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  3. ^ Sangeetha Johari. "Hindu Goddesses : Maya - Hindu Goddess". Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  4. ^ "History". Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  5. ^ Michael J. Muwanguzi (07-01-2010). "Microfilmmaker Magazine - Reviews - Software Review: Maya 2011". Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  6. ^ Sam Weisbard (12-13-02). "Alias". Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  7. ^ Sharpe, Jason Sharpe; Charles J. Lumsden, Nicholas Woolridge (2008). In silico: 3D animation and simulation of cell biology with Maya and MEL. Morgan Kaufmann. p. 263. ISBN 0-1237-3655-2. 
  8. ^ "Autodesk buys Alias". 10-09-2005. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  9. ^ "Autodesk to buy Alias". 10-07-2005. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  10. ^ "PIXAR Awards". Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  11. ^ "Scientific & Technical Awards Winners". 2003-01-06. Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  12. ^ "Technical Achievement Award". 2003-01-06. Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  13. ^ "Autodesk Maya Features - Compare". 
  14. ^ "Autodesk Maya 2011". 
  15. ^ "Certified Hardware". Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  16. ^ a b "System Requirements". Retrieved 2010-12-10. 


  • Maya 7 for Windows and Macintosh" by Danny Riddel, Morgan Robinson and Nathaniel Stein. Peachpit Press, 2006.
  • Mel Scripting for Maya Animators" by Mark R. Wilkins and Chris Kazmier, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2005.
  • Understanding Maya" by Sergey Tsiptsin, ArtHouse Media, 2007.
  • YSYT - Maya MEL Basics for Designers" By Nicholas Pisca, 0001d Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-0-578-00988-9
  • Maya Version History:

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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