Autodesk releases Maya 2024
Autodesk has launched Maya 2024, the latest edition of its 3D modelling and animation software.
This update comes with an extensive range of new features, such as expanded retopology toolset, a complete new USD-based material authoring system, and new brush-based workflows for sculpting animation curves. Additionally, the release offers native support for Apple Silicon, allowing the software, the Bifrost multiphysics plugin, and the MtoA plugin for the Arnold renderer to run natively on Macs with M1 and M2 processors.
Maya 2024 has several updates to its retopology toolset, including enhancements to Retopologize and Quad Draw.
Retopologize, Maya's automated retopology system, now features Retopologize with Symmetry, which ensures even edge flow on both sides of a mesh. The system also has new options for selectively preserving details on a mesh by preserving edges based on their angle or component tags. Additionally, Retopologize can scan the mesh for potential issues like non-manifold geometry before running the tool, and retain the original input mesh in the scene afterwards.
For manual retopology, Make Live now supports multiple objects, allowing the Quad Draw tool to create new topology across the surface of groups of meshes.
Maya 2024 has introduced a new Unsmooth command that allows modelers to unsubdivide any Catmull-Clark-subdivided mesh, which is useful for creating low-resolution versions of meshes that have been subdivided during digital sculpting.
The update also includes support for the MikkTSpace standard for tangent space when baking normal maps, improved performance in the UV Editor, and new tool shelves for UV Editing, Curves and Surfaces tools.
Although the release notes mention updates to Boolean modelling, such as the option to duplicate Boolean input objects by right-clicking, these changes were actually made in Maya 2023.1 last year.
Maya 2024 introduces a new toolset called LookdevX, which is designed to make look development easier for artists working with data in the Universal Scene Description (USD) format. The toolset allows artists to create custom materials using USD shading graphs in Maya, and auto-save them to the active USD layer. Unlike materials created using the Hypershade editor, materials created using LookdevX can be used throughout an entire USD-based pipeline without conversion. This workflow ensures consistent look development across products, platforms, and game engines.
Maya 2024 offers new tools for animators, including a set of brush-based tools for "sculpting" animation curves. These tools include the Grab tool, which allows animators to move curves up, down, left, or right; the Smooth tool, which smoothes out the curves; and the Smear tool, which can stretch out curves.
Other new features include the ability to remove keys from curves to keep them lightweight and new options for offsetting and clamping curves. A new Manipulator is available for scaling keys and Angle and Weight tangent controls have been added to the Graph Editor toolbar. The Time Slider has been redesigned for better playback, with bookmarks, keys, selection ranges, and audio waveforms more clearly displayed.
These are all the major changes and updates to Autodesk Maya 2024:
Expansion of the software's retopology toolset with new options in Retopologize and Quad Draw, including Retopologize with Symmetry, preserving edges according to their angle or component tags, scanning the mesh for potential issues, and retaining the original input mesh in the scene afterwards.
New Unsmooth command to unsubdivide any Catmull-Clark-subdivided mesh, support for the MikkTSpace standard for tangent space when baking normal maps, improved performance in the UV Editor, and new tool shelves for UV Editing, Curves and Surfaces tools.
LookdevX, a new toolset for creating USD shading graphs in Maya for consistent look development across products, platforms, and game engines.
Brush-based tools for sculpting animation curves in the Graph Editor, options for removing keys from curves, offsetting and clamping curves, and redesigned Time Slider to more clearly display bookmarks, keys, selection ranges, and audio waveforms.
Display skin weights created using the Paint Skin Weights Tool as numeric values in the viewport, multiple Skin Cluster on a single piece of geometry, new math nodes for creating more complex rigs, and the option to change the order in which co-ordinate axes are evaluated when rotating joints in a rig.
New features to the Evaluation Toolkit for troubleshooting performance bottlenecks, including new graphical output options and a new Outliner widget.
Bifrost, the multiphysics simulation plugin for Maya, has received an update with the release of Bifrost 2.7. The update brings support for gel simulation in the Material Point Method (MPM) solver. With the new source_mpm_gel node, users can simulate materials such as icing, toothpaste, ketchup, melted chocolate, and foam, as seen in the image above. Additionally, NanoVTT is now the default renderer for volumes in the viewport, providing users with a preview that more closely matches the final output generated using Autodesk's Arnold renderer.
Maya's various plugins have received updates as well. USD for Maya 0.22 has introduced support for relative pathing of USD files to a Maya scene file and enhanced display layer support. MtoA 5.3, which connects Maya with the Arnold renderer, has separated light contributions from the sun and the sky itself in the physical sky update. The Substance plugin, which enables editing of materials in Substance format within Maya, has also been updated, with Substance 2.3.2 adding native support for Apple Silicon.
Maya 2024 now natively runs on Apple Silicon processors, including M1 and M2 processors, as well as older Intel Macs. Previous versions ran on Apple Silicon through Rosetta emulation, which reduced performance. The new version supports Apple Silicon throughout the software, including plugins such as Bifrost and MtoA, and the Maya devkit. This change makes Maya one of the latest visual effects applications to support Apple Silicon processors. Other changes include Standard Surface replacing Lambert as the default material for most new objects, and the removal of open-source graph visualization tool Graphviz from Maya on macOS.
Maya 2024 is available for Windows 10+, RHEL and Rocky Linux 8.6, and macOS 11+. It is rental-only, with subscriptions costing $235/month or $1,875/year. Maya Indie subscriptions are available for artists earning under $100,000/year and working on projects valued at under $100,000/year, priced at $305/year in many countries.