New in Maya 2011

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From Maya 2010 to Maya 2011

This page describes the main changes for students between Maya 2010 and Maya 2011.

The most evident change is the color-scheme of the interface: the primary colors are now a mid and dark gray. Furthermore the icons have been reworked to a fresh new look, but haven't changed much really.

Interface changes

The most important changes in the interface are:

New Hypershade design

You can now use the new Hypershade design for an easier and faster way to create render nodes. The new design provides a search feature and allows for easy navigation.

You can also create a favorites list in order to easily access your most commonly used shaders.

The Create Render Node window and the Assign New Material window also feature this new design.

Furthermore, the Assign New Material window has additional features that simplify your workflow when you assign a shader to surfaces.

New way of adding a texture as Normal or projection node, this video explains how to assign a material as normal and as projection in Maya 2011.

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Tabbed browsing for Attribute Editor and Channel Box

You can now open the Channel Box/Layer Editor and Attribute Editor simultaneously as tabs which reside on the side of the panel.

Drag and Drop interactivity

You can dock and undock menus and UI elements around different parts of the UI by dragging and dropping their dotted edges.

You can also manually resize UI elements by dragging them along their dotted edges. Accidentally closing the UI elements is now no longer possible: when clicking the handle, the default action is to move it, instead of closing it.

New Color Chooser

Maya now has a new Color Chooser window. This window features enhanced color history tracking, multiple color selection methods, the ability to sample colors directly from images, and customizable 256 color palettes that can be saved and loaded. The Attribute Editor also features a condensed version fo the Color Chooser window to make color selection quicker and easier than before.

New Features

The information in this section has been directly sourced from the Maya 2011: What's New.

Maya 64-bit now supported on Mac OS X

Mac OS X users can access considerably more memory to handle larger and more complex scenes with the 64-bit version of Maya.

Script Editor auto-completion

The script editor now auto-completes recognized commands and object path names when you enable the Command Completion and Object Path Completion options.

Bezier curves

You can now create Bezier curves in Maya using the Bezier tool (the same way as you draw curves in Adobe Illustrator, for example). Bezier curves are a subset of NURBS curves that allow you to modify the curvature using a series of tangents attached to each anchor point on the curve.

Object level Soft Selection

You can now set the Falloff Mode in the Soft Selection settings to Object. This allows you to select multiple objects in a scene and transform them with falloff, without warping the objects themselves. This is useful for densely packed objects that you want to space out, such as trees in a forest.

Arbitrary Scale

The Scale Settings in the Scale Tool now allow you to scale along arbitrary axes (such as Object, Local, World, Normal, etc) similar to the Move Tool.

Camera Sequencer

The new Camera Sequencer gives you tools to layout and manage camera shots, then produce movie footage of the animation in your scene. Even for large scenes, you can produce movies in the Camera Sequencer to achieve real-time playback.

New Viewport 2.0

The new Viewport 2.0 provides large scene performance optimization and higher quality lighting and shaders. It allows for higher interactivity: you can tumble complex scenes with many objects as well as large objects with heavy geometry.

Color management support

You can now control the color profile associated with inputs to and outputs from the rendering process. Using this feature, you can specify a color space for input textures and specify to the renderer a color space for use with shaders and color calculation. You can associate color profiles with these elements:

  • file textures
  • render passes
  • mentalrayTexture nodes
  • mentalrayOutputPass nodes

Displaying HDR images in the Render View

You can now display HDR images in the Render View and use color management to control the color profile associated with the image file and the display output. You can also apply color grading and preview it in the Render View window, as well as specify a custom calibration file.

Furthermore, with this feature, you can adjust the image contrast and exposure, allowing you to view details in over-bright and over-dark regions of an HDR image.

New ambient occlusion pass attributes

You can now customize your ambient occlusion pass by tweaking these attributes: number of ambient occlusion rays, Spread, Output Mode, Maximum Distance and so forth. You can access all of these attributes through the ambient occlusion pass Attribute Editor.

New mental ray shaders added

Two new mental ray shaders are now included: mia_photometric_light and mia_ciesky.

The mia_photometric_light shader balances the photon energy and density with the light intensity and the mia_ciesky shader can be used for lighting analysis.

PyMEL installed with Maya

PyMEL, a Python-MEL interface library, is now installed with Maya. It allows you to access Maya object and attributes in a true Object Oriented way in Python scripts, without the awkward MEL calls you had to make before.

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