Of interest is the added Multi-touch gesture support on tablets that are equipped with N-trig technology like the Surface Pro 3… though this really is nothing that will make people switch from existing tools and workflows. Maya Indepth The big push for was getting Maya running faster - the dependency graph, the core of Maya is now threaded, giving a boost in performance across the application.
For animation and rigging, this removes a big bottleneck in the deformation pipeline that was stuck on a single CPU and by multithreading it, speeds up skinning and overall animated rig playback.
Depending on your hardware, Maya now can push more data onto the GPU to speed up things significantly. What might have been a 5 fps playback will likely be in the 20 to 30 fps for a game rig. Mocap HIK editing doesn't yet work with Parallel evaluation. But I have seen improvements in speed with animation curve playback, making working with dense data and even with several characters skeletons possible at real-time playback.
Although, there are still limitations with tools like follicles though nDynamics are supported in parallel in the Extension 1 of Maya and using influence objects with verts that don't run in parallel, at least there are resources to help you learn how to speed up your Maya rigs even more.
Check out Blazing fast character rigs with Maya for tips and tricks on this. The new system is multithreaded to take advantage of the computing resources available cores and graphics processors. Previous versions of Maya included only a single evaluation system DG mode. Select from 3 new evaluation modes in the Evaluation section of the Animation Settings preferences: Parallel mode uses the Evaluation Manager to perform parallel evaluation across all available cores.
Serial mode uses the Evaluation Manager, but limits evaluation to a single core serial evaluation and is used to troubleshoot correctness issues. GPU Override is a mode that works with the Evaluation Manager to accelerate deformations if either Serial or Parallel modes are selected. GPU override works with Viewport 2. The UI got a big update with a new really nice hotkey editor, which allows easier saving, sharing and assigning of hotkeys in Maya.
Maya now has support for High resolution displays like Ultra HD or 4K monitors and better font handling, along with cleaned up menu sets to better organize tools and make it easier for newer users to start working in the software. Overall improvements to docking the UI windows makes it fast to layout the workspace, and the seemingly simple changes makes the software feel more intuitive and puts the user in control.
The negative of this is the overall grey blue coloring being used now is not contrasting enough, personally, and has made it harder to quickly look and find tools. The worst place for this is on the viewport icons to toggle xray, wireframe on shaded and xray bones, for example, but it is hard to tell how long this will take to get used to for existing vs.
Menu icons now show up next to the tools in many areas of the UI for a nice added detail. However, I don't like that the blue, light grey and purple all blend together - the low contrast slows down how fast I can find what I am looking for. Maya modeling has improved drastically over the past few versions and the team has finally fully integrated the modeling toolkit into the standard workflow of tools like Move, Rotate, Scale and pre-selection highlighting. They then tackled taking the brush and sculpting engine from Mudbox and pulled it in to allow for much better sculpting tools to go with an improved Blend Shape Editor.
Simply select a tool from the new Sculpting shelf , adjust the sculpting tool settings , and move your cursor across a model to make a stroke. Updates to the Blend Shape Editor make creating and editing blend shape targets easier. Click new buttons in the editor and on the Sculpting shelf to create, edit, and remove blend shape targets without adding new meshes to the scene. For doing quick shape work and fixes for blendShapes the additionally hotkeys and better surface controls for aligning pivots and constraining to the surface make it really smooth to work on volume fixes.
Speaking of pivots, Maya has a big update in control over the pivot. This was a few-step process and hacky. While the animation and rigging boost from parallel processing and deformers is a great bonus, there were some nice improvements in the deformation areas, including a new Delta Mush deformer to help smooth out deformation artifacts.
The Delta Mush deformer was made popular when a demo of it was shared from Rhythm and Hues and it is a nice addition to the deformation arsenal.
It does a great job of helping average out stretching and balancing the weighting on areas that are hard with only smooth skinning It can speed up the display a small amount but it also makes it nice to focus on just the character posing without all the visual clutter of the controls.
There were various ways to manage this in the past but it is nice to have it streamlined into an existing tool and default out of the box. Nothing new in solvers - HIK is still broken for doing any kind of advanced rigging with it, like reparenting the controls for better keyframe interpolation. This lets you tell your story through better animated visualizations.
No longer do you have to see your mesh lose volume as the deformers are manipulated as, for example, in the shoulders and the wrists. You can control the amount of influence skinning has on a surface. This means that when you update the object, it is reflected in your element. This gives faster in-viewport performance when working with high subdivision levels. Now you can create a wider range of procedural materials with new node patterns. These include wavelines, voronoi, simplex noise, and brick.
With the new bump utility node, you can create normal maps from 2D grayscale images. Using cloud computing you can create impressive high-resolution images without tying up your desktop or having to purchase special hardware. This can give you that photorealistic look when creating images and animations. Included in Mental Ray is Light Importance Sampling and a new Ambient Occlusion render element which means faster quality images in complex scenes.
Now you can animate simulation data in CFD,. You can apply render styles and apply CFD velocity fields as well as animate airflow splines. This will make your data come to life and you will see how data changes over time. This means that when you need to print a 3D model of your scene, you can do it directly. It enables geometry and camera connections between Stingray and 3ds Max, and the ability to make modifications in 3ds Max and see updates in Stingray with one-click workflow.
They use the same editor as the ShaderFX shaders, but they employ a different set of nodes, and there are some differences in workflow, but there is visual consistency in both tools. It gives you the ability to extend 3ds Max with objects and modifiers by creating graphs in a visual environment. Connect hundreds of node types to create new tools and visual effects. Now included are new MCG nodes that allow for the procedural creation, manipulation and use of shapes and splines as well as the importing of data from bitmaps and simulation data like CSV or Open VDB files.
Then you can animate them or edit materials on the XRef object in the source file without the need to merge the objects into the scene. This also provides better collaboration across teams throughout your pipeline. Improvements provide better performance and more stability within the Layer Manager and Scene Explorer when working with complex scenes. Importing design data that will let you create more dynamic visualizations is much easier.
You now have easier access to object placement lighting, modeling, texture tools, and object rendering. RTV file into 3ds Max.
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